Members of Kennett Community Land Trust (CLT) have voted to support proposals for a garden village style-development in Kennett.
But villagers opposed to the 500-home proposal said more residents had signed a petition objecting to the plan and claimed that some had told they could not join the CLT.
Just over 80 per cent of the CLT membership voted, with 68 per cent of members backing the plans and 32 per cent against.
The proposed development is for 41 hectares of land off Station Road, north of Kennett railway station, and is being brought forward in partnership with local landowners by Palace Green Homes, East Cambridgeshire District Council’s wholly owned development company.
The site has been allocated for residential development in the draft East Cambridgeshire Local Plan and those behind it said it would bring substantial investment in local roads and community infrastructure and that 150 of the new homes would be genuinely affordable for people living and/or working in the parish, and would be owned by the CLT in perpetuity.
But the proposal has caused a rift in the village and the Kennett Action Group was set up to oppose the plans.
“The CLT does not represent Kennett residents, 156 of whom have signed a petition against the 500-house development and any involvement of CLT in that matter,” said group member Fahmy Fayez Fahmy. And the group has called for an independent review of both the setting up of the CLT and a vote by members which was later suspended.
Phil Rose, head of property and development at Palace Green Homes said, “We are delighted that so many of Kennett Community Land Trust’s members have shown their support for Kennett Garden Village, particularly as the plans have been drawn up based on the feedback we’ve had from the local community over the past 12 months.
“This ‘community-led’ approach to development has given residents the chance to shape their neighbourhood, and will bring real social and economic benefits.
“We look forward to continuing to work with Kennett CLT and the wider community over the coming months and years as we prepare our planning application for submission in 2018.”
As well as new homes, a new enterprise park is planned, along with new buildings for Kennett Primary School, a village centre containing small-scale retail and community buildings, and a children’s day nursery. Over 12 hectares of the site will be given over to new green spaces, to include play areas for all ages, meadows, woodlands and community orchards together with a three acre village green helping to create a wildlife friendly village environment.
Updates to the plans in response to community feedback include the introduction of a perimeter road to divert through traffic away from Station Road and the existing village of Kennett, and a new roundabout proposal to alleviate highway problems at the Bell Inn crossroads on the B1506.