Roddons homes described as ‘the Barracks’ resembling ‘creosoted sheds’ and ‘slums of the future’ back before Fenland planners

Roddons won approval for this original design for Begdale Road, Elm. There have been changes

Roddons won approval for this original design for Begdale Road, Elm. There have been changes - Credit: Archant

A housing association – that changed brickwork to black cladding on 21 homes at Elm- has been forced to apply for retrospective permission after making so many changes to the original plans.

Social housing being built in Begdale Road, Elm. Picture: Steve Williams.

Social housing being built in Begdale Road, Elm. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Fenland District Council invited a fresh application after Roddons Housing Association began a series of changes.

Parish councillor Phil Webb described the 21 homes at The Dale, Begdale Road, as resembling “creosoted sheds. They are horrible”.

Changes to the materials include using cement slates instead of brown concrete pan tiles, black foil-faced UPVC windows instead of white UPVC windows, black instead of white UPVC patio doors and tarmac instead of concrete set paving. There are also changes to the public spaces using wire fence and brick walls instead of wood fencing.

Cllr Webb said: “There is definitely a desire by the looks of it to save money. The original proposal did not have black cladding that has been used instead of bricks. It is not in keeping with the rest of the development.

Begdale Road, Elm: John Elworthy (left) discussing the Roddons development with parish councillor Ph

Begdale Road, Elm: John Elworthy (left) discussing the Roddons development with parish councillor Phil Webb and district councillor/neighbour Dave Patrick - Credit: Archant


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“There is a conservation area just up the road and this is not in keeping with that – or indeed with the rest of the village or the Fens.”

He said the parish council had resisted the application throughout but he emphasised neither he nor any councillor was against the principle of social housing.

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Councillor Dave Patrick’s home overlooks The Dale and he said: “When I look out of my house I see this barracks which doesn’t look at all in keeping with the area. “Anyone else submitting an application such as this would have had it thrown out.

“What we are allowing here are the slums of the future”.

Social housing being built in Begdale Road, Elm. Picture: Steve Williams.

Social housing being built in Begdale Road, Elm. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Parish council clerk Terry Jordan has reminded Fenland District Council that the original application was rejected locally because of the fear of overdevelopment.

He also reminded the council that there was not enough room at the village school for more pupils, the village had insufficient medical facilities and the roads were inadequate to support this number of new homes.

“The recent variations propose a development which would be out of keeping with the character of the surrounding area,” he said.

“The parish council is strongly of the opinion that the hanging tiles should be of a traditional material. The developer should be required to plant trees to replace those which have been removed.

Social housing being built in Begdale Road, Elm. Picture: Steve Williams.

Social housing being built in Begdale Road, Elm. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

“The use of black UPVC for windows is inappropriate given the proximity of the site to the conservation area.”

He added: “The provision of a close-boarded fence with trellis instead of brick boundary walls would have a further detrimental impact upon the surrounding area.”

Mr Jordan said the parish council had always opposed the scheme “and its fears at how this development would look are becoming a reality”.

One neighbour has written to Fenland Council to complain that her view “used to be a bungalow with roses growing up the side walls, lovely blue sky and trees from Begdale Road. All I can see now is dirty black cladding”.

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A resident of All Saints Close said he had lived in the village for 44 years and the new homes are “so morbid. If they had been built solely of bricks without the awful black cladding on them they wouldn’t have been quite so bad.”

Anne Brighton, managing director of Circle Housing Roddons, said: “These new homes have been built as part of our mission to support local people by providing much needed affordable places to live.

“They have been designed to meet certain sustainability standards in order to provide residents with lower energy costs and help reduce their overall environmental impact.”

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