Community who fought to get out of town superstore at Soham that no supermarket wanted expected to become site for 88 homes.

PUBLISHED: 14:01 03 April 2017 | UPDATED: 14:01 03 April 2017

Businessman Colin Murfitt failed to find a buyer for the superstore for the site at The Shade and has turned to housing to get the land developed.

Businessman Colin Murfitt failed to find a buyer for the superstore for the site at The Shade and has turned to housing to get the land developed.

Archant

A nine acre site at Soham - once approved for an out of town superstore and pub - is likely to be given permission for 88 homes.

Businessman Colin Murfitt failed to find a buyer for the superstore for the site at The Shade and has turned to housing to get the land developed.

His application has met with approval from East Cambridgeshire District Council officers but it has still to win approval from the planning committee.

Officers are recommending the committee approve the plans on Wednesday and delegate back to them conditions that will cover noise, tree protection, public rights of way, archaeology, social housing and 20 other conditions.

The site comprises of four fields next to the Northfield Road business park and is opposed by Soham Town Council who argues the land was never intended for housing.

The town council says the site is of ancient importance, floods regularly, fears a footpath a bridleway will be lost, and that if homes are acceptable there should be fewer than planned.

But officers feel the site has overcome many of the early objections and highways objections were withdrawn following suggested improvements.

Neighbours who have objected fear the extra traffic, loss of green space, drainage issues, air pollution, poor lay out of social and market housing, safety of children from traffic increase, loss of privacy, and overcrowded and cramped development.

However planning officers say that East Cambs Council is not currently able to demonstrate that it has an adequate five year supply of land for housing. It means all planning policies must be temporarily considered out of date and each application assessed in terms of the “presumption in favour of sustainable development”.

Mr Murfitt’s agents say the application rests on two principles – that of allowing housing on part of an employment site and the details of the scheme. They say there is no demand for such a large employment area in this location. Places such as Soham and Littleport, they told planners, do not attract commercial development of this scale.

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