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Proposed Development

Proposed Development of 140 houses off Shepreth Road

Planning Application S/2822/14/OL - Outline application for development of up to 95 houses on land off Shepreth Road, Foxton

Latest news: The developer submitted an application to SCDC for 'up to 95' houses. This application was discussed at the South Cambs District Council planning committee on 13th May, and the committee voted unanimously to refuse planning permission. The minutes of this meeting can be found here.

An appeal has been made by Gladman Developments against the decision of South Cambridgeshire District Council to Refuse the planning application. This appeal was heard between 9th and 15th February this year, and the results of this have just been published - the appeal has been dismissed. Foxton Parish Council used the services of planning lawyer, Philip Kratz of Birketts to provide strategic advice and to manage the appeal process, with successful results.

The plannijng inspector's document explaining the reasons for dismissal of the appeal can be found here.

 

BACKGROUND TO THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT

Why has the proposed development by Gladman Developments been put forward now?  The reason is the failure of South Cambridgeshire District Council to have sufficient land for new house identified in their local plan.  If I can quote them directly - ‘In his decisions on two planning appeals in Waterbeach in June, a planning inspector has concluded that the district cannot currently demonstrate a five year supply of land for building new houses. This is a requirement set by national planning policy to help boost housing supply. These decisions will affect how we make decisions on planning applications for new homes until we do have such a supply, although all housing proposals will still have to show they are sustainable development against the tests in the National Planning Policy Framework.’

Normally, as Foxton is what is called a group village, only small developments of say up to 15 homes would be allowed to be built within what is called the village envelope.  Any building outside the village envelope or framework, as this proposed development would be, has to be agreed by both the Parish and District Councils and can only be low cost social housing.  The successful appeals at Waterbeach have thrown this planning constraint into disarray.

Foxton has grown organically over the post war years and there are currently 500 houses and just over 1200 residents in the village.  As stated earlier small scale developments are allowed within the village envelope and these are still occurring.  Gladman Developments plans to build 140 houses on land owned by Mr Tony Shelford between Shepreth Road and the A10.  This represents a 28% increase in housing stock. As described by Gladman it would be a mixed development of 1,2,3,4 and 5 bedroom houses with 40% i.e. 56 being ‘affordable’ housing.  I must point out that affordable doesn’t necessarily mean low cost social housing, but can mean smaller houses that would be sold close to market prices. 

What about affordable housing?  How much do we need?  In an extensive housing needs survey carried out in 2009, Circle Anglia for South Cambs District Council came to the conclusion that the number of new affordable houses that Foxton could realistically expect to support would be in the range of 20-25.  Ideally 12 of those would be for rent.  Since then, including those built and currently being built or planned, I can say that 24 affordable houses including 15 new Council Houses for rent being built at the end of Fowlmere Road, should be available by the end of 2015.

It is very difficult to predict exactly the make up of the households who would occupy the new development.  So to produce population figures some assumptions have to be made. Assuming that the average size house in the development is a 3 bedroom house occupied by on average 2 adults and 1 child this equates to an increase in population of Foxton by 420 - approximately one third!  If we use government figures used to predict children of school age we come up with a figure of 68 children needing primary education and 49 needing secondary education.  Foxton school has a capacity of 119 children therefore an extra 68 children would mean the school would have to grow by more than 50%.  With the housing being built and planned for next year would produce 18 children with needs for primary education.  This would exactly get the school up to its capacity of 119 children.  Incidentally, at the other end of the age range we could also expect 44 people to be over 65.

Based on the average number of cars per household in this region of the UK we can assume, at a minimum, there would be an increase in the number of cars in the village of at least 200.

 

PARISH COUNCIL INITIAL PLAN OF ACTION

The Parish Council needs the mandate of residents before it can react to this proposed development with authority.  Therefore, we have done the following:

Your views and comments are vital to how the Parish Council responds to the proposal so many thanks to those who attended the meeting and have returned questionnaires.

 

RESPONSE TO THE QUESTIONNAIRE

 

The Parish Council circulated the questionnaire to every Foxton household (487 households). 246 responses have been received (50.5%) and the result is as follows:-

For the development  20  (8%)

Against the development 226 (92%)

Foxton Parish Council accept the above result as a clear mandate to oppose the proposed development off Shepreth Road 

Note:- FPC have discounted the questionnaires returned from outside Foxton and where two or more questionnaires were returned from the same address.

 

NOTES FROM PUBLIC MEETING HELD ON MONDAY 17 NOVEMBER 2014

The purpose of the meeting was to appraise residents of the Gladman proposal to build 140 houses on land owned by Tony Shelford between Shepreth Road and the A10 in Foxton.

Present from the Parish Council:

·        Dr Nigel Oakley (Chairman)

·        Dr Colin Grindley (Vice Chairman and Chair of the Planning Committee)

·        Councillors Mr G Barnes, Mr M Bore, Mr R McCreery and Mr P Sutton

·        Mrs J Burns (Clerk to the Council)

·        District Councillor Mrs D Roberts

·        County Councillor Dr Susan van de Ven

·        At least 150 members of the public

Dr Oakley opened the proceedings by giving a brief introduction on the background of the timing of the proposal, what it could mean in terms of population increase and community educational needs and the present status of the current and pipeline housing stock and provision of affordable housing.  He ended with an outline of the Parish Council’s plan of action and stressed that the Parish Council could only respond with a mandate from residents, so encouraged them to return their questionnaires and invited comments and questions from the floor.

The questions and comments were wide ranging and included:

MEETING WITH PLANNERS AT SOUTH CAMBS. DISTRICT COUNCIL HELD ON 18TH NOVEMBER 2014

Nigel Oakley, Malcolm Bore, Colin Grindley and the Parish Council’s consultant Philip Kratz met with John Koch on the 18th of November.  As the status of Gladman's proposal is still at the pre-application stage there was very little he could say about it at this meeting.  But we did talk about principles and timings.  

It is South Cambs (SCDC) and Cambridge City's desire to have a linked local plan in terms of housing supply.  This would be beneficial to both parties as the combination of the two Council's housing supply should cover any shortfall that is deemed to exist in South Cambs Local Plan.  This proposal is being looked at the Inspector at the moment but she is not likely to report until next March/April.  If she agrees with the proposal from the 2 Councils and also that the housing supply is sufficient then Gladman's proposal should be rejected.  If this doesn't happen then we would have to fight an appeal that would likely to come from Gladman assuming the planning application is turned down by SCDC.

The suggested time scales for the planning application are likely to be the following - 6 to 7 weeks to get a pre application response from SCDC to Gladman; 13 weeks from the planning application going in before SCDC's response and up to 7 months for any appeal to be heard. This takes us up to about next October.  As I understood it if at anytime in this period the District Council’s housing supply is deemed to be sufficient then there will be no basis for approving the development by a planning inspector.