Sanctuary win appeal to build 22 homes on site of former March care home that community had once fought to save
- Credit: Archant
Twenty two homes to ease Fenland’s housing crisis can be built on the site of a former March care home after a housing association won an appeal to the Secretary of State.
Fenland District Council refused planning permission – despite the project being scaled back by a third- but Sanctuary Housing Association lodged an appeal.
The former Kingswood care home in Kingwood Road closed four years ago after a bitter campaign by residents and relatives to keep it open: a petition attracted 1,700 signatures in a fortnight. All 40 residents were re housed.
Sanctuary has fought since to use the land for housing after demolishing the care home.
Residents objected to the new housing estate – of 10 flats, 11 houses and a bungalow- on 27 grounds including too much extra traffic on a small road, noise pollution, inadequate parking and overlooking.
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Middle Level Commissioners objected because of known surface water flooding problems and said Sanctuary Housing had not met flood risk assessment requirements.
But planning inspector Louise Phillips concluded: “I am mindful of the disadvantages of piecemeal development but this site relates well to the existing built up area of the town.
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“The provision of flats would differ from the prevailing form of residential development in Kingswood Road and the other nearby roads.
“However, the block of flats would be of a modest size and by virtue of the simple design proposed they would not look dissimilar to a small terrace of houses.” She said it would not be out of keeping with the wider area.
She said flooding would be dealt with by “a piped system draining to an underground tank in the North West corner of the site.
“Water would then be pumped across third party land to a watercourse to the south east.”
She added that there would be shared outdoor space to give the estate a communal appearance.
“The development would have a considerably more leafy appearance than the majority of the surrounding streets,” she said. “It would not give rise to an unduly harsh urban environment.”