Fears for future of 5,000 homes project
A landmark scheme to create 5,000 homes, 9,000 jobs, four schools, three shopping centres and sports facilities is set for years of delays after a dispute between developers.
The first of 5,350 houses at the Great Haddon development, close to the A1M and A15, were meant to have been built in 2011, but the scheme now faces an uncertain future.
Peterborough City Council’s planning committee on Tuesday is recommended to remove planning permission for the project unless the developers agree a Section 106 Agreement - the money they would pay towards the site’s infrastructure - by September 30.
The council has acknowledged that “relations between the parties now seem to have broken down.”
Council leader Cllr John Holdich said: “Great Haddon has had permission for 10 years and they’ve not built there. It’s absolutely ridiculous. If they can’t build they need to get out.
“We can’t just sit here and let them squabble. It’s crucial for the long term ambitions for the city. That’s why we need to get it going.”
Cllr Holdich said the decades of delays to develop North Westgate, near Queensgate Shopping Centre, would not be repeated at Great Haddon.
He added: “The action the city council is taking is to stop it becoming another North Westgate. If the current people involved can’t get it going there will be people queuing up to do it.”
The developers are O & H Properties, Marlborough Oasis and Barratt Homes, none of whom were available for comment.
Their dispute follows an agreement by the council’s planning committee in 2015 to agree a loop road entering the development from the A15 at Yaxley due to concerns about the potential levels of traffic.
If the application is now refused, both Marlborough and O & H have advised the council in writing they would look to submit their own standalone planning applications for the part of the site they own.
Simon Machen, council corporate director for growth and regeneration, said without a Section 106 Agreement, “the council would have to step in if there was a lack of funding to develop infrastructure, which we believe is an unacceptable financial risk for city taxpayers.”
North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara said Great Haddon had “caused much concern in the local community over a number of years.”
He added: “The decision by the council now to seek applications from separate developers for different parcels of land only compounds the uncertainty. Parish councils and local residents deserve a big say on this development and need to be consulted and I very much hope that the council will do so urgently.”