MP at odds with Fenland Council over new homes - and the need for affordable housing- that planners claim will cause “an incremental erosion of the countryside”

2013: Fields End Water Doddington, new deluxe self catering lodges. official opening by Steve Barcla

2013: Fields End Water Doddington, new deluxe self catering lodges. official opening by Steve Barclay MP. The site's owners say they will use profits from a housing development to fund the park's expansion. - Credit: Archant

NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay has thrown his weight behind a businessman’s proposal to build 10 homes that planners say will result in “an incremental erosion of the countryside”.

An aerial plan of the 10 home proposed development near Askham House in Doddington.

An aerial plan of the 10 home proposed development near Askham House in Doddington. - Credit: Archant

The MP has also told Fenland District Council they should take note of the “clear recommendation” of the Government that would remove any obligation for affordable homes on 10 homes.

Mr Barclay’s intervention came in a letter to Councillor Alex Miscandlon, chairman of Fenland District Council Planning Committee, and will be considered next Wednesday.

The Boughton family – who own the land in Benwick Road, Doddington where the homes are planned – say cash from the development will be ploughed into Fields End Water holiday caravan park.

Their agent, Peter Humphrey, told Fenland Council that “the success of this application will assist the expansion of the family run business.

Award winning Field End Water, Doddington

Award winning Field End Water, Doddington - Credit: Archant

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“This is a major factor in the desire to make the application successful. Fields End Water is a local employer and caravan site with fishing lakes, attracting many visitors.” He has sent planners a confidential financial appraisal to support the application.

Mr Humphrey says two of the 10 homes will provide “much needed affordable” houses for villagers although Mr Barclay believes this is not necessary.

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“The housing minister has given a clear recommendation that developments of 10 or fewer homes should not be subject to affordable housing requirements or related costs,” he told Cllr Miscandlon.

“This is relevant both to the specific application and more generally across Fenland.”

He said affordable housing costs “have often compromised the quality of build given the relatively modest sale price the local market attracts when compared to the rest of the country”.

And Mr Barclay added that he felt Mr Charlie Boughton, who submitted the application “makes a significant contribution to the local economy running an award winning tourist business. I hope the council will look constructively on his proposal given the recent government guidance relating to small developments”.

Michael Dale, of Copalder Farm, Doddington, has written in supporting the application.

“Being a farmer myself, I appreciate that this is taking grade 3 land out of production which is not the best land for agricultural purposes so be better utilised for development,” he wrote.

Agricultural engineer Brian Elmore wrote that “coming from a farming background and having lived in the village for over 50 years, I have never known the site field to produce great crops. So why not use this for building and keep the good land for farming.”

One letter of objection said the proposal would increase traffic alongside a children’s play area.

Officers say the development “does not respect the character of development in Doddington by reason of its layout”.

They also claim it will “result in ribbon development along Benwick Road that is out of keeping with the core shape and form of the settlement and will have an adverse impact on its character and appearance. The development does not respect the character of development in Doddington”.

The report said: “The impact that the development will have on the existing natural features along the site frontage will be detrimental to the appearance of the area.”

Middle Level Commissioners have told the council that “both flooding and effective disposal of surface water are material planning considerations”.

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