'Highly controversial' application for 97 homes in Potton receives almost 750 objections

'This application has had a record number of objections lodged by residents from the whole of Potton'

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 3:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 4:22 pm

A "highly controversial" housing development proposed for the southern edge of Potton is still on the table, as councillors argue that recent amendments mean a greater proportion of traffic will go via the Paddocks and Sutton Mill Road.

And the plans have received almost 750 objections so far.

In November 2019, Kier sent plans to Central Bedfordshire Council for a housing estate that it withdrew in the spring of 2020, but now changes to its resubmitted application are causing concern among local politicians.

The proposed housing estate.

However, Kier - which has been rebranded to Tilia Homes following its sale to private investment firm Terra Firma last week - says that the 97-home development on 'Land to the South of The Ridgeway' would bring "significant community benefits".

Independent Central Beds Cllr Adam Zerny, of Potton ward, told the Chronicle: "Last time around, serious concerns were raised by residents, councillors and Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) officers about the 100-house proposal. The housebuilder was informed of these concerns by CBC and encouraged to withdraw the application which it then did.

"There are many things wrong with this development, not least being overdevelopment, access, visual impact and the environment. I will continue to oppose it."

Fellow Central Bedfordshire Independent Councillor, Tracey Wye, of Potton ward, claimed: “This application has had a record number of objections lodged by residents from the whole of Potton, not just those who will be directly affected.

“I hope the council takes into account the overwhelming distaste for this project and recommends refusal."

With the first application there were 384 objections and a petition with 800 signatures opposing the development. This time around, there have so far been 746 objections.

Cllr Zerny, who describes the application as "highly controversial", claimed: "These numbers are more than I have seen for any planning application anywhere in Central Beds.

"The latest incarnation still sees construction traffic accessing the site via Sutton Mill Road and, if approved, once constructed will see 350 plus vehicle journeys per day going in and out through the Ridgeway or via the Paddocks and Sutton Mill Road. The development would clearly have a huge impact on a large part of Potton both in construction and once completed.

"The changes also include alterations to some of the plots and parking and a tiny playground tucked in the corner with a view of one of those ugly drainage ditches which are increasingly a feature of developments where there is some risk of flooding."

All comments already submitted will still be logged, although the councillors are encouraging residents to comment again if you have made any comments which relate to aspects of the development which have changed.

The deadline for comments is June 10, 2021.

.A spokeswoman for Tilia Homes (formerly Kier Living) said: “Tilia Homes is proposing a collection of high-quality properties in keeping with the town and on a site that

has already been allocated for development in Central Bedfordshire Council’s Local Plan.

"Our proposal would help meet local housing need with a range of 97 one to four-bedroom homes, including bungalows and affordable housing.

"Our latest planning application incorporates views from the local community and includes provision for green open space, allotments and car parking on site. We have also introduced a secondary vehicular access point following local concerns.

“The proposed development would also bring with it significant community benefits including improvements to local footpaths and contributions to community sport, recreation facilities and local education.

“We also have in place a clear ecological strategy to support the wildlife currently on site, including the installation of swift and bat boxes, as well as extensive landscaping which includes the planting of native tree species.

"The earlier full planning application was withdrawn in order for us to review and resolve some key issues that had been raised by the council and local residents and have now been addressed in so far as is practicable in our new application.

"This is a site that is allocated for housing by the local authority and we want to work in partnership with local people to gain a local consent for a sustainable development that will meet local housing need."

To comment on the application, email: [email protected] and quote planning reference CB/20/04672