07:18 Wednesday 20th March 2013
Bigger Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
[P]AUL STAINTON: Plans to build 5,000 homes as part of the Great Haddon development just south of Peterborough have been given the go-ahead. Lucia Serluca is the Chair of the Planning Committee at Peterborough City Council. Great debate apparently yesterday, because not everybody wants these houses built, do they?
LUCIA SERLUCA: Yes it was a great debate. We debated it for over four hours, because it is a very important part of the growth agenda within Peterborough. And it was almost unanimous, the vote yesterday. There was one abstention. But the debate was very good.
PAUL STAINTON: The houses themselves, to just explain to people who are not too au fait with where Great Haddon is. It’s round the back of Yaxley and the back of Hampton.
LUCIA SERLUCA: Yes. That’s right.
PAUL STAINTON: So what are we going to get? We’re going to get 5,000 houses, and some new roads?
LUCIA SERLUCA: We’re going to get 5,000 houses, three new primary schools, a secondary school, there’s going to be a retail area. There may potentially be a cemetery built there as well. There’ll be new infrastructure with reference to the roads around there. So there’s going to be a lot happening over there. It is a major major development for Peterborough.
PAUL STAINTON: What were the concerns about? What did the residents bring up at the meeting? What are the big concerns?
LUCIA SERLUCA: The residents actually surrounding the Great Haddon site, one of the major concerns was the highways and the roads, and how that would actually impact where they live.
PAUL STAINTON: Because the road round the back of Hampton through Yaxley and down to the A1 and Norman Cross is quite a ..well it’s just a single carriageway. It’s a narrow road, isn’t it?
LUCIA SERLUCA: It is. Are you talking about the A15?
PAUL STAINTON: Hm.
LUCIA SERLUCA: Yes. It is. They are looking to put in a loop road slash bypass between Yaxley and Great Haddon. That’s something that they’re looking into. But looking at the actual plans yesterday, there are seven entrances in and out of this particular development. They’re looking at improving the Fletton Parkway, making that dual carriageway off Junction 3 I think it is. So a lot of thought. It’s not .. it wasn’t just Peterborough Highways that looked at this particular development. It was our neighbouring councils as well, Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire. So we have .. our Planning Department has spoken to a wider range of people, to ensure that the right thing happens in this particular area.
PAUL STAINTON: Was part of the concern as well that perhaps these houses will be built, a bit like Hampton, none of the infrastructure put in there. Hampton was built, there was not enough schools, there was not even a community centre, not a church, no broadband. The houses were whacked up and not a lot of thought was put into that.
LUCIA SERLUCA: I mean Hampton is a great development. It’s a lovely place to live now.
PAUL STAINTON: Now.
LUCIA SERLUCA: However I mean let’s not detract ..
PAUL STAINTON: If you bought off-plan you’d have been disapponted.
LUCIA SERLUCA: Let’s not detract how positive Great Haddon is for the city. We’re not going to take that away from it. But one of our concerns as councillors and for future councillors and future residents was we’ve got 5,000 houses being built. Let’s just not build the houses and forget about evrything else. We need to build the houses in conjunction with the educational centre, the retail centre, to make sure that the amenities that those residents have, they have as soon as they live on that development, and not live in the houses and not have anywhere to go for the next two, three or five years, depending on how long it takes.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. And how long do you think it will take? That’s the key here, isn’t it? Because these houses are needed in Peterborough, well, now really, yesterday, aren’t they?
LUCIA SERLUCA: I mean obviously yesterday we agreed on the outline for the application. That was the first application that came. Obviously what we’ll have now is reference to the design of what .. the design of the actual housing etcetera. So I would hope they would start building on there within the next six .. six months to a year. It’s obviously down to the developers now to bring further plans to the Planning Committee.
PAUL STAINTON: And what sort of houses are we talking about here? A range?
LUCIA SERLUCA: I would imagine two bedroom, three bedroom. I mean, with reference ..
PAUL STAINTON: Affordable housing?
LUCIA SERLUCA: Yes. Affordable housing as well. With reference to design, we don’t know yet until the developers actually come back to us at Planning Committee with that information.
PAUL STAINTON: Lucia, thank you for that. We’ve also got Barry Hyland on the phone this morning, part of the Norman Cross Action Group. Morning Barry.
BARRY HYLAND: Morning Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: What do you make of all this? There were 100 points of concern raised at this meeting last night. It was a four hour meeting. You normally get about 20, 25 points of concern. What is the concern?
BARRY HYLAND: Well the concern is mostly about the access to the sites. With more than one access going out onto the old Great North Road, which is going to cause concern because it could cause a rat-run through the village of Haddon if it’s not planned correctly. Also the fact that they’re going to restrict access on part of the A15 by means of slowing the traffic down, whether it be gateways .. not physical gateways but by building the kerns up etcetera so it reduces it down to a single lane to slow the traffic, or by putting in more traffic lights, or altering the flow of traffic lights. Because there’s a terrific lot of people work in the Woodston area of Peterborough. They do come in at Norman Cross and then go straight down the A15. If they do too much to slow the traffic down on the A15, traffic will turn down Broadway Yaxley and then onto Farcet and then they’ll be queueing up and making it even worse at Stanground.
PAUL STAINTON: So your worry is the infrastructure, the roads, need to be right.
BARRY HYLAND: They’ve got to be right. And the talk will be ongoing with the developers, and Cambridgeshire County Council and Huntingdon District Council. Also the school that they’re proposing on there, the secondary school, I don’t think will be adequate to take the children from Yaxley that at the moment go to Stanground School and Sawtry School. We’re building the Cardea development up at Stangound and it’s soon going to fill up, and it won’t leave room for Yaxley children to go there. They’re proposing a bigger school at the Hampton Leys, which is the next development they’re going to be talking about, which will be a long trip for people from Yaxley, for children from Yaxley to get there. It needs a bigger school on the Great Haddon development. There’s quite a few issues. We did have a long long meeting with the developers and Cambridgeshire and Huntingdon Councils, and the MP Shailesh Vara came. That was last week. We did get some verbal promises.
PAUL STAINTON: There’s no denying though that we need some new houses in the North of the County, don’t we. You’re just concerned that we get it right to start with.
BARRY HYLAND: It’s got to be right. Once you start building, then you can’t change your mind. Everything’s got to be right from day one when they start building.
PAUL STAINTON: Well Lucia’s still here. Barry’s main concerns, and I think a lot of concerns is that infrastructure problem, the roads problem, the rat runs perhaps it might create. You looked at that.
LUCIA SERLUCA: I couldn’t agree with Barry more. I mean we’re looking at a major development within Peterborough, over 5,000 houses. And it needs to be right for the future people within that area and for Peterborough. I mean everybody is talking to everybody which is you know absolutely right. We need reassurances that the road structure or the infrastructure of highways there is the correct for the residents that live around there.
PAUL STAINTON: And we’re confident we’ve learnt lessons from the previous development.
LUCIA SERLUCA: Absolutely.
PAUL STAINTON: OK. Lucia, thank you for coming in this morning. Appreciate that.
LUCIA SERLUCA: Thank you very much. Thank you.