Piles of objections and even planning officers fought to stop it but Fenland Council agrees 40 ‘affordable’ homes can be built on March site

Artist's impression of what some of the 40 homes proposed for March by Clarion Housing will look lik

Artist's impression of what some of the 40 homes proposed for March by Clarion Housing will look like. The applicaiton was approved by FDC planning committee in the face of considerable opposition. Picture; CLARION - Credit: Archant

Planning officers sided with residents in a bid to stop a development of 40 homes in March – but the planning committee of Fenland District Council agreed the houses could be built.

The battle to prevent Clarion Housing building 40 homes off Springfield Avenue had been bitter- with 64 of the 67 letters sent in by residents firmly against it.

The residents complained about access, density, visual impact, design, wildlife concerns and parking but mainly that it was a form of piecemeal development outside the plan for the area.

Officers agreed that the former commercial nursery, though able to take the housing, was in conflict with the wider housing development proposals for the area.

."On balance, the benefits of the scheme are considered to be outweighed by the identified harm and resultant policy conflict," they concluded in their recommendation to refuse it.

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In their report they pointed out that the wider area was due to take 2,000 homes including shops and a school but planning and implementing these proposals needed to be done in a co-ordinated manner.

Clarion, however, are delighted, and said in a statement that Fenland would "benefit from a new 100 per affordable housing development, which will help to tackle the housing need for the local area".

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Clarion Housing Group, the UK's largest social landlord, said their proposals would include eight homes for affordable rent and 32 homes for shared ownership. The scheme comprises four one-bedroom flats, four two bedroom flats, 20 two-bedroom and 12 three-bedroom houses on the site.

Fiona Coulson, head of new business for Clarion (East) said: "We recognise that there is an acute shortage of new affordable housing being built in the area and at Clarion we are fully committed to playing our part to address the problem.

"We are excited to bring 40 quality and well-designed new homes to March, which will help local people who are currently not able to buy a home on the open market."

The scheme has been boosted by £440,000 of grant funding from the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority Board.

Clarion owns and manages more than 4,000 homes in North East Cambridgeshire and last year completed a new 12-home affordable development in Tydd St Giles.

Through a series of acquisitions and mergers they own the former council housing stock of Fenland Council that initially passed to Roddons and then to Circle Housing.

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