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Concern residents would ‘risk their lives’ crossing A10 delays decision on 83 affordable homes in East Cambridgeshire

A decision on whether 83 new affordable homes can be built on the edge of a village has been delayed over concerns people might have to “risk their lives” crossing the A10.

Councillors at East Cambridgeshire District Council shared fears that residents at the proposed development off Cambridge Road in Stretham would have to walk across the busy road to reach the village school and shops.

Where 83 homes in Stretham would be built. Picture: Metropolis/Long Term
Where 83 homes in Stretham would be built. Picture: Metropolis/Long Term

One councillor said people crossing that road would be ‘taking their life in their hands’.

The plans to build 83 homes on the edge of Stretham were put forward by

Long Term Land proposes a mixture of houses and flats, all of which would be made available as affordable housing.

Permission was previously granted for two other planning applications seeking to develop the land. The first application to build 19 homes was approved after a successful appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

The second, for 38 homes, was approved by the district council in November.

At a planning committee meeting last Wednesday (April 3), Laura O’Brian, a representative of the developer, said the latest proposals would help to meet the “clear and significant” affordable housing need in the area, with 42 rented homes, 16 shared ownership homes and 25 rent-to-buy homes.

Ms O’Brian said this mix was determined in consultation with the council’s housing officers to meet needs and confirmed the homes would be “highly efficient” to keep energy bills down.

The plans prompted 70 comments in support, with many respondents welcoming the affordable housing.

But Stretham Parish Council objected, arguing there was “inadequate provision of highway and pedestrian safety issues”.

Councillors on the district council planning committee shared the concerns.

The application proposed to create an island in the middle of the A10 for people to use when crossing, but councillors said this was not enough to make it safe for people to cross.

Cllr Julia Huffer (Con, Fordham and Isleham) said people would “have to take their life in their hands to get to school” by crossing the road.

Cllr Christine Whelan (Lib Dem, Ely West) warned drivers often drove over the speed limit along that stretch of the road, adding that it was “dangerous” and that there would be a “major traffic collision”.

Cllr Bill Hunt (Con, Stretham) said he could not “expose” the people who could end up living in the new development to the “danger of crossing that road”.

Planning officers highlighted that the highways team at Cambridgeshire County Council had not raised any road safety concerns about the development.

They said it would not be recommended to refuse the application on highways safety grounds without evidence to back up those concerns.

The committee unanimously agreed to defer making a decision on the plans in order to commission their own independent traffic safety assessment.

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