MPs call for strat­egy on hous­ing de­vel­op­ments in city to be ‘ripped up’

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By ADAM UREN adam.uren@pe­ter­bor­oughto­

THE city’s MPs have called for plans for some ma­jor hous­ing de­vel­op­ments in Peter­bor­ough to be ripped up.

MP Ste­wart Jack­son said the new Govern­ment plans to scrap the Re­gional Spa­tial Strat­egy, which has dic­tated hous­ing tar­get, and in the light of this the city coun­cil should re­view pro­pos­als for hun­dreds of new homes and ex­tra trav­ellers sites in the city – in­clud­ing those planned at Eye, Farcet and Nor­wood.

CITY MP Ste­wart Jack­son has called on Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil to scrap plans for key hous­ing de­vel­op­ments in Peter­bor­ough.

Mr Jack­son claims the new coali­tion Govern­ment plans to abol­ish the Re­gional Spa­tial Strat­egy (RSS), which sets out hous­ing tar­gets for coun­cils.

Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil has been told it must build 25,000 homes by 2021 and has pro­duced Site Al­lo­ca­tion Doc­u­ments ( SAD) out­lin­ing ar­eas which could see hun­dreds of new homes and ex­tra trav­ellers sites – in­clud­ing Eye, Farcet and Nor­wood.

The plans have pro­voked anger from res­i­dents and Mr Jack­son said the coun­cil should rip up the doc­u­ments in light of Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Govern­ment Sec­re­tary Eric Pick­les’ plans to scrap re­gional strate­gies.

He said: “Due to the mas­sive op­po­si­tion, I think it’s time to rip up the Site Al­lo­ca­tion Doc­u­ments and go back to square one, as the coun­cil will no longer have a ba­sis for propos­ing these sites.

“I think what they need to do is fo­cus on ar­eas which are strug­gling for sus­tain­abil­ity and need more lo­cal ameni­ties.”

North West Cam­bridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara said: “I have al­ways said that we should first look to cre­ate jobs and then think about the houses.

“In view of the eco­nomic cir­cum­stances, fu­ture devel­op­ment sites in the city need to be looked at again and, most im­por­tantly, I hope that the lo­cal com­mu­nity will have a big say in what hap­pens.”

How­ever, Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil has said it will not change its plans. A spokesman said: “We will press ahead. “The fact that there may no longer be a tar­get does not change our pol­icy to bring sus­tain­able growth to the city.”

This has been met with dis­ap­point- ment by pro­test­ers, in­clud­ing Cllr David San­ders, who rep­re­sents Eye where 700 res­i­dents at­tended a pub­lic meet­ing to ob­jec­tion to devel­op­ment plans.

He said: “I think the coun­cil should take all of its site al­lo­ca­tion plans back to the draw­ing board now that they don’t have to fol­low a ridicu­lous pol­icy.”

Leader of the city coun­cil, Cllr Marco Cer­este, said some of the sites in SAD are now un­der re­view, fol­low­ing re­cent con­sul­ta­tions.

Mr Jack­son’s calls come af­ter city coun­cil fig­ures re­vealed Peter­bor­ough bucked the re­ces­sion by build­ing 1,125 homes be­tween April 2009 and March this year - the sec­ond high­est num­ber for 15 years, af­ter the 1,265 built in pre­re­ces­sion 2006/07.

Cllr Cer­este said: “These fig­ures show that, even in a re­ces­sion, Peter­bor­ough has the ca­pac­ity to sup­port eco­nomic devel­op­ment. In ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing much needed homes, these de­vel­op­ments have pro­tected jobs and sup­ported the lo­cal econ­omy. It demon­strates that Peter­bor­ough can de­liver growth in a way that ben­e­fits the whole com­mu­nity.”

A to­tal of 8,131 new city homes have been built since 2001, when the Re­gional Spa­tial Strat­egy (RSS) came into force.

Of the 1,125 houses built in 2009/10, 433 were built by pri­vate com­pa­nies and 708 were af­ford­able homes built by hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions, with 504 al­lo­cated as “low rent” prop­er­ties and the rest shared own­er­ship hous­ing.

Or­ton with Hampton has been the city’s ma­jor site for ex­pan­sion, with 700 homes built there in 2009/10.

Pic­ture: DaviD Lown­Des

CAKES: Guests at the open­ing of the Cathe­dral’s Dean­ery Gar­dens. (METP-29-05-10DL065)

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