A landmark Peterborough development appears to be back on track thanks to the city council ‘bashing heads together’.
The council’s threat to remove planning permission for the Great Haddon project appears to have been vindicated after a major breakthrough was made between the developers.
The long-delayed project for 5,350 homes, 9,000 jobs, four schools, three shopping centres and sports facilities now looks likely to go ahead after a deal in principle was reached between the developers regarding a £75 million Section 106 agreement - the funding of the infrastructure.
The agreement was only reached after the council threatened to remove consent for O & H Properties, Marlborough Oasis and Barratt Homes to build on the site near the A1M and A15.
However, at Tuesday’s planning meeting, committee member and cabinet member for planning, Cllr Peter Hiller, said he lacked confidence that the agreement would ever be signed despite the optimism of the developers.
He remarked: “I’m encouraged to hear you are all good friends now. You presented to the committee four years ago and again in January 2015. Now, because of the threat from our planning officers you have all of a sudden reached this point.”
David Shaw, agent for Marlborough, said he was very confident the S106 Agreement would now be signed, adding: “I do not believe there any other sticking points.”
Under the deal, O&H will build a loop road through the development from Yaxley either when Marlborough has built 500 homes or by the second quarter of 2022 - whichever is later.
Pippa Cheetham, from O&H, said she understood the council’s frustrations but that the firm was “absolutely committed” to the development.
Matthew King from Barrett Strategic said it was “very positive news” that an agreement had been reached. Agent Alistair Brodie from Bletsoes said: “I think you need to stand your ground as a city council and bang heads together.”
The council’s planning and development manager, Lee Collins, said: “I think as a council we have banged heads together, which is why this has resulted with the land owners talking and bottoming out their differences.”
The committee unanimously agreed that planning permission be removed if the S106 agreement is not reached by September 30. Cllr Stuart Martin said: “The threat is almost magical in its effect - it has brought people together talking to each other.
“If it works perhaps we should consider doing it a lot more.”
Cllr June Bull said: “It’s clear to me this application is at its critical stage and we can’t wait any longer.”