Gateway Peterborough – industry cancelled – more houses suggested

“The Roxhill development of warehouses obviously failed, with their admission that they’ve had trouble .. well they can’t sell them. And I’m afraid they’re just trying to recoup their losses.”

gateway_peterborough08:17 Tuesday 8th March 2016
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: Picture this. Imagine yourself driving up the A1M from Stilton to Peterborough. You’re flanked at the moment aren’t you by fields on both sides. Well it had been hoped that some of this land, around 160 acres or 100 football pitches, at Roxhill would be a business park, meaning more jobs for Peterborough, and the people moving into the 5,000 odd homes on the proposed Great Haddon urban extension would have somewhere to work. Well this afternoon the Peterborough City Council Planning Committee will decide whether 610 homes should be built there instead, Local groups say 1,500 people are effectively just going to be dumped in a field with nothing to do, no jobs and nowhere to send their children to school. Our reporter Dave Webster went to the site.
DAVE WEBSTER: New trees have been planted at the entrance to the site. There’s daffodils and crocuses growing on the roundabout. And at the entrance is the Roxhill Gateway Peterborough, a beautiful new sign saying Plot 110 units of up to 1.2 million sq. ft. And there have been some objections to the development. The villages of Stilton and Folksworth are located to the south west of the site, and Yaxley lies just to the south east. And this abuts the residential area of the Hamptons, and some local people are not happy. They formed the Norman Cross Action Group, which comprises many of the parish councils around here, and also interested individuals. And one of those concerned locals is Olive Main who’s Chairman of Stilton Parish Council. Olive, just explain to me what is the Norman Cross Action Geoup.
OLIVE MAIN: Well it’s a group of representatives of the local parish councils and interested residents. We set up some years ago when the Great Haddon project was first developing.
DAVE WEBSTER: What is your objection to the new development?
OLIVE MAIN: Well originally it was given planning permission to be an industrial and distribution site, and it was going to provide we were told many thousands of jobs. That’s our big objection, that we’re going to lose considerable amounts of employment by the site being half developed as housing. Our other objection, over 600 houses, what, 1,500 people, are going to be dumped in a field on the edge of Peterborough with no facilities except a one-form entry primary school. No medical services, shops, secondary school places, no entertainment, no public transport. That’s our other major objection.
DAVE WEBSTER: There were comments about Hampton when that was first developed, but something similar happened then. It’s taken a good number of years to sort out the problems that were caused because there were no community facilities.
OLIVE MAIN: Well inevitably. And this development rather hinges on the eventual development of Great Haddon, and that looks very much into the future. We don’t know whether it will ever happen. There’s no thought given to the transport in and out of the site. It’s just going to be a mess for everybody that buys a house there or the surrounding villages.
DAVE WEBSTER: So what you’re saying in effect is this has happened before, we haven’t learned our lessons, it’s going to happen again.
OLIVE MAIN: I’m afraid so. The whole business of roads and transport in and out has just not been thought through, and we are particularly concerned about that. The site is edged by the old Great North Road. That is now a rather pleasant country lane. It’s part of the Green Wheel, the national cycle route. It’s going to be turned into an access route to this development, become a rat-run through the hamlet of Haddon. And the big problem is the junction with the A15 near the junction 16 of the A1M. It’s just an accident waiting to happen.
DAVE WEBSTER: What would you say to the City councillors that are at the Planning Committee debating this proposal?
OLIVE MAIN: We would say go back to the drawing board. We would like to see the road system developed first, as in the good old days of the Peterborough development Corporation. They put in the infrastructure, and then they built the houses. In fact we’d like to ask them to wait and to make it part of Great Haddon, where there will then be schools, secondary schools and shops, and all the things that a community needs. The Roxhill development of warehouses obviously failed, with their admission that they’ve had trouble .. well they can’t sell them. And I’m afraid they’re just trying to recoup their losses.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Our reporter David Webster there. Sheila Scott joins me now, the local councillor for the Orton and Hampton area. Morning Sheila.
SHEILA SCOTT: Good morning.
DOTTY MCLEOD: So back to the drawing board is the recommendation from that local group. Are these plans really that bad?
SHEILA SCOTT: No I don’t think they’re that bad. I think it’s the lack of detail in the application that’s obviously concerning local people. And I think they are right to be some concerns, but we have as an authority, learned from what happened with .,. when Hampton was developed I think. So there are some areas and conditions that need to be attached to this in my opinion. I’m not on the Planning Committee. But the issues that I’m concerned about which probably reflect your previous speaker are schooling, health, I’m concerned about health, that there’ll be enough capacity in this area and to provide the appropriate community health services. And also transport and traffic. I and my colleagues here in Hampton we fought really hard with planning approval for Great Haddon as a whole to protect the people who currently live on the Great North .. the old Great North Road. As the previous speaker said it’s a nice country lane. We don’t want them to be overwhelmed by traffic, so that’s one of my key concerns.
DOTTY MCLEOD: But you really do feel do you that Peterborough City Council have learned from what happened with Hampton where the facilities just weren’t put in place before people moved in?
SHEILA SCOTT: You’re absolutely right Dotty. I’ve lived .. I’ve been the councillor here for twelve years, and one of the councillors here now for twelve years.m I do believe they’ve learned. But I certainly intend to go to the Committee this afternoon to make sure that people understand my concerns about it. We cannot .. people shouldn’t have to wait a long time for community facilities. But having said that, what a wonderful place Hampton has tuned out to be. And I hope that this new development will be part of the Greater Hampton ..
DOTTY MCLEOD: Yes. It would be nice though if you could miss out the ten to fifteen years in between in waiting for the infrastructure.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Sheila great to talk to you.
SHEILA SCOTT: I agree absolutely.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Thank you for your time. Councillor Sheila Scott there who represents the Orton and Hampton area, and therefore the Roxhill Estate would be in her brief.