Final 210 homes for Darwin Green in Cambridge approved - but developer warned conditions are not a ‘Woolworths pick and mix’
Approval has been given for the final 210 homes at Darwin Green - but the developer has been told the conditions it has yet to fulfil from previous rounds are not a “Woolworths pick and mix”.
Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council granted planning permission for the homes - ranging from one-bedroom flats to four-bedroom houses - on Wednesday (April 5).
Of the 210 properties, 126 are proposed to be made available for market sale, with 63 designated for social rent and 21 for shared ownership.
Outline approval was given for the wider Darwin Green site in 2015 for up to 1,593 homes, as well as a new primary school, community facilities and shops.
The latest detailed application, submitted by Barratt David Wilson Homes Cambridgeshire for land between Huntingdon Road and Histon Road in Cambridge, represents the final phase of the residential part of the development.
Chris Fry, a representative of the applicant, told councillors at a joint development control committee on Wednesday, April 5 that the plans had drawn on lessons learned from the previous phases of the development.
He highlighted that all of the homes would have the ability for air source heat pumps to be installed.
Mr Fry said the plans had also been amended to “break up the massing” of the buildings on the south east and north east boundary to reduce the impact on existing neighbours.
Concerns had been raised about the proposals by the Windsor Road Residents Association. The group welcomed changes to the design of some of the new homes near to existing houses, but asked for additional conditions to prevent any proposals “reintroducing the possibility of overlooking”.
Neighbours told the council some of the new homes backing on to his garden would look into their home, which they said was a “clear intrusion”.
Planning officers said they believed the amended plans were acceptable, and highlighted that permitted development rights to build two-storey extensions on some of the proposed properties had been removed.
The developer’s representative did not believe there would be a “detrimental impact” on existing neighbours.
District councillor Dr Martin Cahn (Lib Dem, Histon and Impington) had concerns about flooding on the site. He said he understood drainage design had been accepted, but noted that a development in his ward built to an accepted drainage design had not worked and there was flooding on adjacent land.
City councillor Katie Thornburrow (Lab, Petersfield) said data and legislation that drainage needs were based on was not keeping up with the effects of climate change.
Planning officers said they would take the councillors’ points away and discuss it with officers at flood authority for future applications.
It was also highlighted that the developer was “falling behind” with compliance of some conditions from previous phases.
An officer said some conditions relating to open space, community facilities and medical facilities were delayed, but told the committee they needed to consider the current application separately to this issue.
They added that there were already mechanisms in place which allowed the authority to enforce the conditions where it was in the public interest.
City councillor Simon Smith (Lab, Castle) highlighted a particular condition he was aware of relating to the creation of a temporary access that had not been put in place before the first homes were occupied as required.
An officer explained the developer had asked to remove that condition due to delivery concerns. More information had been sought and a site visit was planned to examine the issues, the officer said.
Cllr Smith said compliance with planning conditions was not a “Woolworths pick and mix”. He said the developer had entered into the conditions and needed to fulfil the conditions.
He said: “This is about trust and confidence in the developer to enter into conditions and mean to fulfil them, not kick the can down the road and try to come back and change the proposition.”
Cllr Karie Porrer was also concerned about the phasing but recognised it was not a material planning reason for refusal. She added that the committee would be “keeping a close eye” on the issue.