Azara Blog: New planning application for Simoco site

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Date published: 2006/01/09

The Cambridge Evening News says:

Developers have reignited residents' fury over plans to build hundreds of homes on flood-prone land.

After buying the former Simoco site in Chesterton, Cambridge, from Countryside Properties - which fought a long battle in 2003 with residents to gain permission for a £20 million development - Redeham Homes has resubmitted a planning application.

Stunned locals say they are shocked at the plans to build 329 homes instead of the original 224.

After finally accepting Countryside's plans in 2003, they fear the extra 100 properties will cause traffic chaos around the site, which is close to St Andrew's Road and Church Street, Chesterton.

Redeham says it is following Government guidelines and satisfying demand.

Michael Bond, of High Street, Chesterton, secretary of Old Chesterton Residents' Association, said: "Countryside had two goes at it before they came up with something we could accept.

"This increase comes on top of what was already considered by many to be an excessively high density of development in a location poorly served by public transport and at a significant distance from most local facilities.

"We just want to see high- quality developments future generations will thank us for."

Redeham want to replace 72 planned homes, mainly four-bedroom ones, with 177 replacements, made up of mainly one and two-bedroom flats and houses.

Gerry Mangan, for Redeham, said: "The submission is in line with Government policy and is supported by our planning and traffic consultants' assessments.

"The original units were too large and there was no real demand for them."

Mr Mangan said the design would encourage cycling and walking using the new £1.8 million pedestrian and cycle bridge at Riverside.

Redeham will exhibit the proposals at St Andrews Hall, St Andrew's Road, from 7-9pm on Wednesday.

The former factory site hit the headlines in 2001 when the area was completely covered in water after some of the worst flooding ever seen in Cambridge. Building work began on the site last month.

Well, it does not sound like they are crowding too many more people on the site, just moving the housing downmarket. The main problem with this site is the potential for flooding. It flooded twice in 2001 (February and October) and once in 2003 (January). (See here for photos.) Of course you can build on raised beds or on stilts, but that is just likely to move the flooding problem somewhere else. It is totally irresponsible of the city to allow such a massive building programme on this site.

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