Plans for 460 houses at Whittlesey now likely to include fewer affordable units

FALLING house prices has prompted a developer to slash the number of affordable homes proposed for the 460 home estate.

Larkfleet Homes won consent last April to build the homes – plus a 70 bed nursing home- at Bassenhally Farm, Eastrea Road, Whittlesey.

But next week the company will be back before Fenland District Council Planning Committee to tell them the figures no longer stack up for the 50 acre site owned by Cambridgeshire County Council.

The committee will hear that “because of the current state of the housing market” they can no longer contribute 35 per cent of the development towards affordable homes.

Behind the scenes negotiations, with the council bringing in experts, has resulted in a fresh application. Larkfleet had proposed a tenth of the site for affordable homes but the independent consultant has recommended 17 per cent should be affordable housing although Larkfleet has accepted 16 per cent.

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“The applicant has agreed with the council that a review mechanism will be put in place to capture any uplift in market conditions,” says a report.

This means the council could still get a maximum of 35 per cent of affordable housing should ongoing assessments provide that the site “has sufficient viability”.

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Whittlesey Town Council originally opposed the application on the grounds of congestion and insufficient schools locally as well as the need for better infrastructure.

However Fenland Council revealed they had taken counsel’s advice on the site – originally planned for a school and for housing- and had been told the scheme was “supported by existing policy and therefore the planning balance should fall in favour the proposed scheme”.

Larkfleet will still sign up to a section 106 (planning gain) agreement to give �197,000 towards pre school education, �126,000 waste contribution, and �70,000 for local transport initiatives as well as providing a cycle route.

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