ANGRY residents in Exning have signed a petition against large housing developments in the village after two proposals to potentially build hundreds of houses.
Members of the Exning Action Group launched the petition, entitled “Keep Exning Small”, after learning that land south of Laceys Lane, and land off Burwell Road, had been identified for possible future development.
The Jockey Club Estates proposes to build a housing estate on its arable land south of Laceys Lane, and developer Charles Church has identified land off Burwell Road for housing purposes – although no planning applications have currently been submitted.
But the 900 residents that have signed the petition believe any developments larger than 10 to 30 houses would threaten the village infrastructure and cause major traffic congestion.
Simon Cole, spokesman for the Exning Action Group, said: “A couple of houses is fine, but a couple of hundred is not right for Exning.
“Exning is narrow and was built for horses and carts. There aren’t enough school places as it is with the ending of the middle school system.
“There is nowhere to park in the centre of the village, and the roads will become death traps,” he said.
“We live under constant threat of development because people can keep coming back with ideas. Our village deserves to remain a village with a good, strong community.”
He said residents were concerned about allotments currently situated off Laceys Lane, which would be lost or moved to another site if the land was developed.
About 130 residents attended a packed meeting of Exning Parish Council on Wednesday, June 27, where representatives from the Jockey Club Estates and Bidwells property consultants were invited for a consultation with the council.
Speaking at the meeting, Roger Stubbs, chairman of Exning Parish Council, said he believed in “slow development, which suits everybody” and added that residents “don’t want to feel that the village is being swarmed”.
Cllr Ben Williams, who represents Exning on Forest Heath District Council, told residents he had already received more than 50 emails relating to the proposals, and advised anyone who wanted to voice their opinion to contact him.
Speaking after the meeting, William Gittus, managing director of the Jockey Club Estates, said: “Like any landowner, our duty is to maintain our assets in a way that works for the racing industry.
“If we have got some land with development potential, it would be irresponsible for us not to see whether it is suitable for development.”
Martin Davidson, land director at Charles Church, said: “Charles Church have, in conjunction with option holders Exning Homes, been undertaking a series of consultation events within Exning, to obtain local views with regard the potential development of land at Burwell Road for housing purposes.
“At present, all aspects remain under review and no decision has as yet been made in terms of the progression of a planning application, either in terms of content or timing.”
A spokeswoman for Forest Heath District Council said: “Forest Heath will be consulting with people throughout the district during the summer about how many homes we need to build for our current and future population. Meanwhile, if planning applications are submitted for specific areas, people can submit their views as part of the usual planning process and, again, we would encourage them to do so.”
Visit the Keep Exning Small Facebook page, or email exningac firstname.lastname@example.org.