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328 homes for new East Cambridgeshire garden village approved despite concern over cycling infrastructure

Approval for the first 328 homes in a new East Cambridgeshire garden village has been granted.

Kennett Garden Village will be an extension to the existing village of Kennett to the north of Newmarket.

An illustrative CGI of what Kennett Garden Village could look like. Image: Bellway Homes Ltd (Eastern Counties)
An illustrative CGI of what Kennett Garden Village could look like. Image: Bellway Homes Ltd (Eastern Counties)

Some councillors described the latest plans as “wonderful”, but others said they felt the development was a “missed opportunity” to encourage more active travel, such as cycling.

Outline approval was granted by East Cambridgeshire District Council back in 2019 for up to 500 homes to be built, as well as a new primary school, nursery and care home.

The plans for a bypass around the edge of the new development was also approved by the district council in December last year.

A planning committee this month approved detailed plans for the 328 homes, which will include a mixture of homes and flats, from one to four bedrooms.

Some 93 will be affordable homes available through affordable rent or shared ownership and there will be 15 self-build plots planned.

Michael Smith, representing developer Bellway Homes Ltd (Eastern Counties), said it was an “infrastructure first, community-led development”, adding: “This is a high quality aspirational place where tomorrow’s families can thrive happily and safely.”

Cllr David Ambrose Smith (Con, Littleport) called it a “wonderful scheme”.

But Cllr John Trapp (Lib Dem, Bottisham) wanted more infrastructure to encourage cycling.

Planning officers noted that the council did not have a policy to require specific active travel infrastructure, such as cycle underpasses, and said councillors would have to create this first.

Cllr Charlotte Cane (Lib Dem, Bottisham) called it a “huge missed opportunity”, but said that was an “error” on councillors’ part.

She said: “We are building a new garden village, there are lots of good things in it to encourage active travel, but it is cut off at the knees.

“Giving priority to vehicles may mean parents discourage children from cycling too far, especially if it involves going across a road.”

Cllr Cane was impressed by the green spaces and planned facilities.

Seven councillors voted in favour, with one against and one councillor abstained.

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