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‘Swamp’ fears dismissed as 170 homes approved for Soham

More than 170 new homes are due to be built on the edge of Soham, despite concerns from neighbours that the development will leave them with a “stagnant smelly swamp”.

The new homes are due to be built on land off Broad Piece, where some say they already suffer from flooding and believe the new development will not help the situation.

Plans for the 175 homes in Soham. Picture: Persimmon Homes East Midlands.
Plans for the 175 homes in Soham. Picture: Persimmon Homes East Midlands.

Developer Persimmon Homes East Midlands argued the plans will cut the flood risk by 50 per cent.

Outline planning permission was granted on appeal in February 2022. The latest application to East Cambridgeshire District Council sets out more detail, proposing to build 166 new homes, with nine self-build plots made available.

The new homes are due to be a mix of one to five bedrooms in size, with 53 homes planned to be made available as affordable housing, with 41 rented and 12 as shared ownership.

Resident Mike Rose told a planning committee last Wednesday (November 1) the measures proposed by the developer to reduce the flood risk were inadequate, and would leave them with a “stagnant smelly swamp”.

Soham Town Council also objected to the plans due to drainage and flooding concerns.

But the developer’s drainage consultant explained that, while water was currently draining southwards, it would drain northwards away from the new homes.

A bund will be created and trees planted on the southern boundary to “further protect” the existing homes.

Cllr Martin Goodearl (Con, Littleport) said he was happy to approve the plans as the development would help reduce the existing risk of flooding.

Cllr Bill Hunt (Con, Stretham) highlighted that the lead local flood authority had not raised an objection.

Cllr James Lay (Con, Woodditton) was “delighted” most of the affordable housing planned would be rented homes, although he wished there was a higher amount of affordable rent homes planned across all developments in the district.

A majority of councillors voted in favour of the plans.

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