Taxpayers may lose out after a large backlash against plans for 20 new homes persuaded city councillors to oppose the development.
There were tears of joy and hugging as the council’s planning committee surprisingly voted against the plans for Thistle Drive, Stanground, due to a loss of open space.
But, developers Medesham Homes said it “intends to use every avenue open” to challenge the decision, with the land having previously been allocated for affordable housing. However, as Medesham is jointly run by the council and housing association Cross Keys Homes, this could mean the council appealing against its own decision - with taxpayers having to pay out.
During the meeting, committee member Cllr Graham Casey, who voted for the application, admitted that by turning down the plans the council would lose the appeal and “spend a lot of public money in the process”.
Ward councillors Christian Hogg and John Whitby led the objections. Cllr Hogg said: “This is a much loved piece of recreational land used every day by locals.”
Cllr Whitby said parking problems would only get worse, while Pete Lumley, leader of the local Scout group for the past 35 years, added: “The loss of this open space would be disastrous.”
A petition against the plans had been signed by more than 2,000 residents.
Cabinet member for housing, and Medesham board member, Cllr Peter Hiller told the committee: “We are not ‘Bob the Builder’. There will be a minimum of six affordable houses, if not the entire site.”
After the meeting Cllr Hogg said: “We’re going to write to every councillor and ask them to support us in this. If Medesham Homes decide to appeal then the cost to the taxpayers of Peterborough could run to £100,000 in legal fees, and nobody wants that.”
Medesham also recently saw an application for 43 homes at Bretton Court rejected by the same committee.
A Medesham spokesperson said the latest rejection was a “missed opportunity” to help the large number of families in Peterborough in temporary accommodation, but that it is “determined to improve the lives of those people affected by homelessness. in the city”.