Rural campaign group critical of East Cambridgeshire Council proposals for 500 homes at Kennett

Kennett Action Group: Their banner

Kennett Action Group: Their banner - Credit: Archant

A rural campaign group has objected to the 500 homes proposed by East Cambridgeshire District Council at Kennett claiming they will “completely change the character of the community”.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Campaign to Protect Rural England say that adding 500 homes to a rural settlement of 152 houses with a population of around 340 people is a mistake.

Their views have been lodged as part of a consultation into the application and they further argue that it is the wrong location to include 150 homes as affordable.

“There is no evidence of need for this number of affordable homes in this location,” says the CPRE. “We haven’t seen a village housing survey however it is not credible that a population of around 340 could generate a need for 150 affordable homes.

“It is credible that there could be a need for 10 affordable homes. Therefore the provision of 150 houses suggests that the affordable housing will be taken by residents of other villages.”

CPRE added: “We have examined the subject of ‘viability assessments’ nationally and discovered that they are being widely used and frequently misused by developers to reduce much needed affordable housing provision and to increase developer profits.

“CPRE therefore finds it very concerning indeed that the current application, which is after all a wholly-owned company of the council, should be making similar arguments.”

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The CPRE says the site is not sustainable, the increase in utility services will add significantly to the carbon footprint of the application, and the lack of public transport is an issue.

“The existing bus service is infrequent with very limited destinations,” says the CPRE. “We consider an hourly bus service for the proposed population would be completely insufficient.

“Therefore this new community will be highly reliant on road transport for work and leisure and highly dependent on local and long distance commuting.”

They also challenge the capacity of the A11 and A14 to cope with extra traffic – particularly for HGV vehicles that use the area.

The campaign group also questions whether schools can cope with the extra numbers and they note that “Suffolk County Council appears to have considerable concerns about some aspects of the proposed education facility plans for this site”.

In conclusion, says the CPRE, the site does not represent sustainable development, local parish councils oppose it, there is no evidence of need for 150 affordable homes, the application conflicts with the council’s own affordable housing police, and the application at this time is inappropriate.