Witchford Village

BREAKING NEWS: Field End Planning App

Posted on: Oct 14, 2014
Posted in: parish-council news

Witchford Parish Council has again objected to the outline application by Gladman Developments for up to 128 residential dwellings on the land north of Field End, Witchford and has submitted a detailed, well thought out response.

The objection submitted by Witchford Parish Council reiterates its previously stated position with regard to development outside the village development envelope, that is that the Parish Council remains supportive of the provision of housing within the village development envelope or of the provision of affordable housing on a rural exception basis, that is 100% affordable housing or predominantly affordable housing subsidised by a small proportion of market housing, outside the village development.

Witchford Parish Council Objection Letter

Witchford Parish Council rejects the supposition put forward in the Affordable Housing Statement appended to the application that an affordable housing element of only 30% is acceptable for this site.

Witchford Parish Council questions why East Cambridgeshire District Council is seemingly keen to accept this development on the grounds that it substantially contributes to meeting the housing shortfall of 320 dwellings identified by the East Cambridgeshire Local Plan Examination Inspector in his Interim Conclusions of 14th July 2014 (Planning Officer report to ECDC Planning Committee dated 6th August 2014, Agenda Item 6, paragraph 1.5). In paragraph 37 of his Interim Conclusions, the Inspector specifically states that the shortfall should be’ apportioned during the first 5 years of the Plan period’. It appears to the Parish Council to be disproportionate for one settlement to contribute so significantly to reducing this shortfall, when clearly the Planning Inspector does not expect this to be the case.

Witchford Parish Council has a number of additional grounds for objection to this application, as set out below.

Air quality and noise

Witchford Parish Council considers that an air quality buffer zone of similar dimensions to that provided at the housing developments adjacent to the A10 on the west side of Ely must be incorporated into this development in addition to the public open space to be provided. Witchford Parish Council considers that noise monitoring should be carried out over a sustained period of some weeks, during normal working hours.

For both these issues, Witchford Parish Council asks whether East Cambridgeshire District Council is fully satisfied that the evidence submitted by the applicant adequately takes into account predictable future increases in traffic along the A142 Witchford bypass, particularly as this is the identified principal route for access to the Block Fen site in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Minerals and Waste Plan with an anticipated significant increase in daily lorry movements along the A142, and including the extra traffic that will be generated by the Ely North development and the Ely Southern Bypass.


There is inadequate social infrastructure to cope with the increased population from this development. Both schools in Witchford are full with insufficient capacity to meet increased demand. Doctors’ surgeries in Ely are already over-stretched.


Notwithstanding the fact that the County Council Highways Officer did not obect to this development, Witchord Parish Council and local residents are of the certain opinion that the development has significant implications for traffic and road safety within the village. The experience of residents is that at most times of the day it is difficult and unsafe to try to turn right onto the A142 from Common Road. Most of the traffic leaving this site will as a result travel out of the village via Main Street. Many residents of the proposed development will work in Cambridge and so will preferentially drive through Witchford village to the Grunty Fen Road turning to use this short cut to Wilburton or Stretham. This will inevitably increase the existing traffic bottleneck at the Common Road/Main Street junction, which is particularly acute at the twice-daily ‘school run’ periods. Witchford Parish Council considers this to be a significant road safety issue.


Adequate access must be retained for the District Council to undertake maintenance as necessary on public drain No1 which runs along the boundary of this site.

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