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Decision over plans for 48-home development in Wimblington deferred

A decision over plans for a new 48-home development in a Fenland village has been deferred after councillors raised concerns over flooding, road safety and overcrowding.

Fenland District Council’s (FDC) planning committee refused to approve the homes, proposed on fields north of the Eaton Estate in Wimblington, at a meeting this week, instead voting to delay their decision.

Councillors said they believed the extra homes could worsen local sewage overflows and flooding issues and that they were dissatisfied with uncertainty over whether it would be possible to implement a 20mph limit on a new road running through the site.

Eaton plans
Eaton plans

Chair Cllr David Connor (Conservatives, Doddington and Wimblington) said he would ask Middle Level, which acts as an internal drainage board, and a representative from Cambridgeshire County Council’s (CCC) highways department to come to the plans’ second hearing to answer questions.

The meeting had been paused while councillors and the applicant, Lee Russell of Seagate Homes, read a report from Middle Level criticising the proposal, which Cllr Jan French (Conservatives, March South) produced partway through.

Officers then suggested deferring the decision so the applicant had longer to respond to it, despite the authority not being one the council legally has to consult before making planning decisions.

Entrance to Eaton Estate
Entrance to Eaton Estate

Councillors had also heard that it wasn’t possible for them to insist a new road through the development be adopted into the local highways network by CCC, meaning there’s no guarantee they would have a say in imposing a speed limit.

Planning officers said none of the statutory consultees had objected to the proposal, including CCC as both local highways and flood authority, and recommended they approve it.

But councillors also heard from a resident of the Eaton Estate, Michael Hoy, that locals are concerned about sewage, flooding and extra traffic as well as being crowded by the new development.

“The minimal garden sizes, lack of green space, lack of visitor parking and the number of properties suggests maximum profit and not the welfare of the prospective and local residents,” he said.

The applicant, Mr Russell, responded that: “Our proposal of primarily semi-detached properties, a few detached and only two small terraces is very in keeping with regards to the dwelling types and exceeds that of neighbouring developments.”

Eaton Estate
Eaton Estate

He added that no additional water or drainage would go towards the Eaton Estate as it’ll be directed to a drain in the opposite direction, while permeable paving and attenuation basin will also limit the risk of flooding. There would be at least 30m between the new houses and existing homes, he said.

Mr Russell continued that there is open space provision in the plans and an existing playing area on the estate, while the proposed development is less dense than a 30-home development previously approved on a similar spot but never built.

The new scheme also includes seven affordable rented homes and three affordable homes to be bought as well as a £55,000 contribution to the local NHS, which the prior scheme didn’t have.

Mr Russell has so far waited more than a year for a decision on his application.

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