Council fury over decision by planning inspector to stop its Kennett development
A council looks set to dump its local plan for development after an inspector said one of its major proposals was not sound.
East Cambridgeshire District Council will decide today whether to revert to using its 2015 Local Plan in response to the inspector’s comments which, it claimed, ‘disempowered local communities’ and left the authority with a blueprint for development which was no longer its own.
But the inspector’s comments have been welcomed by members of the Kennett Action Group fighting proposals for 500 new homes in the village and who gave evidence at the inquiry into the local plan last year.
Action group member and consultant surgeon Fahmy Fayez Fahmy claimed reverting to the 2015 plan would mean the homes proposal would be rendered unlawful, but he said he feared the council, which is not only the planning authority but also owns Palace Green Homes, which is behind the development, would still try to push it through.
“In effect it has gambled with hundreds of thousands of pounds of our money in the expectation this development will go ahead,” said Mr Fahmy, who insisted homes plan was not ‘community led’ as suggested by the council, which had accepted evidence that the majority of villagers did not want the development.
In a statement, the council claimed that if it had accepted the inspector’s latest recommendation, green spaces, including some in Reach, would be at risk, extra housing could be built in Soham and the council’s flagship community land trust policies would be deleted.