MPs call for strategy on housing developments in city to be ‘ripped up’
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.
CAKES: Guests at the opening of the Cathedral’s Deanery Gardens. (METP-29-05-10DL065)