£1m roundabout 'grenade' that could threaten new supermarket

Concrete Barrier at Guildenburgh Lakes housing development,Guildenburgh Lakes,

Aerial view of the site of the proposed 203 homes and Aldi store, Whittlesey - Credit: Terry Harris

The county council appears to be on track to do a rapid about turn on an 11th hour, potential £1m complication that threatens a new supermarket for Whittlesey.  

On February 2 developers reeled at the prospect of having to stump up vast sums for additional improvements to the Syers Lane roundabout.  

They were told by Hannah Seymour-Shove of county highways that better proposals would need to be approved before they could recommend approval.  

Concrete Barrier at Guildenburgh Lakes housing development,Guildenburgh Lakes, Whittlese

Aerial view of the site of the proposed 203 homes and Aldi store, Whittlesey - Credit: Terry Harris

The cost – and delay- threatens not only 203 homes planned for a site off Eastrea Road but the associated delivery of an Aldi supermarket.  

Fenland Council is considering an application by David Wilson Homes and an affiliated application by Aldi on a site previously earmarked – and approved – for Sainsbury’s.  

The application was lodged last year and has won almost universal approval from the community.  

However, Ms Seymour-Shove threw a ‘grenade’ into the mix this week by calling for extra infrastructure improvements that were not budgeted for.  

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She told developers that the housing estate and supermarket would increase vehicle –considerably - lengthy queues on the A605 Eastrea Road arm of the Syers roundabout.  

Syers Lane roundabout, Whittlesey

Syers Lane roundabout, Whittlesey - Credit: Google

"Given Whittlesey’s rural location and that it has limited facilities, it is considered that the mitigation proposed would not be enough to change the potential queues at the affected junction,” she said.  

Ms Seymour-Shove said highways would expect the developer to “mitigate the impact of development traffic at the junction”. 

That could mean “through either the provision of capacity improvement works within the highway boundary or through additional sustainable transport infrastructure works”. 

And she asked that “any mitigation scheme proposed should be submitted to the highway authority to review”. 

Some of the other additional proposals put forward by highways have been accepted.  

Concrete Barrier at Guildenburgh Lakes housing development,Guildenburgh Lakes, Whittlesey

Aerial view of the site of the proposed 203 homes and Aldi store, Whittlesey - Credit: Terry Harris

These include a new pedestrian crossing – at an estimated cost of £80,000.  

“That makes sense,” said one of those close to the development.  

“You don’t want people crossing the road with shopping trolleys without a proper crossing.” 

But with other costs, already incurred, such as up to £400,000 for archaeological works and an extra £7,000 per house for piling to ensure stable footings, it is already a marginal proposition.  

Artists impression of the proposed Aldi store for Eastrea Road, in Whittlesey.

Artist's impression of the proposed Aldi store for Eastrea Road, in Whittlesey. - Credit: Supplied by Aldi

“The authorities have had this application since last April; we get one lot of problems, they come out with another,” said my source.