Plans to re-submit controversial proposals for 550 homes in Soham have stepped up a gear as developers began consulting residents on Saturday.
The Soham Eastern Gateway will be developed by Cambridgeshire County Council’s This Land Ltd, with hundreds of houses built between East Fen and Qua Fen Common along with a shop, a new doctors’ surgery and open public spaces.
Soundings, a consultancy firm, has started ‘informally interviewing people on the street’ and are to set up a ‘community liaison group’ to discuss the project.
A spokesman from Soundings said: “The developer is committed to working closely with the community on developing a masterplan that has local value.
“By the end of April we will be in a position to publish early plans and designs, which will be shared with the community at a public exhibition which is expected to take place in April, prior to the submission of a planning application by Summer.”
The original application was withdrawn late last year because of mounting issues surrounding the project’s road infrastructure.
Re-submission of the plans have been on the cards since late last year, but the housing project was given a new lease of life after the government awarded it £6.3 million to help build the infrastructure needed to support the new development, which is set to be complete by 2030.
But Cllr Charles Warner, deputy chairman of Soham Town Council, said he had concerns about how the town will be connected to the new development.
“My biggest concern is the town cannot have a village within it. It has got to be connected with the town properly,” he said.
“It is probably the best place to build houses in Soham but the problem is how to connect it to the town,” he added.
Under current plans Eastern Gateway residents would use Brewhouse Lane and Pratt Street to access the town centre, with the main entrance being the A142.
“You couldn’t think of a worse design,” said Cllr Warner.