‘We are totally in the hands of the inspectors over Local Plan’ says planning councillor at South Cambridgeshire District Council

Councillor Robert Turner

Councillor Robert Turner - Credit: Archant

The councillor who takes the lead for planning matters at South Cambridgeshire District Council has spoken out after fears were raised that the suspension of the Local Plan will cause ‘chaos’.

An hour-long emergency meeting was held after inspectors said more work needs to be done to explore alternative options to the plan, which focused on building new settlements such as Bourne Airfield.

The inspectors want to see evidence that more options have been explored, such as more housing on the edge of Cambridge.

The meeting was slammed by Melbourn district councillor Jose Hales, who said one hour was not long enough to discuss the next steps.

But Councillor Robert Turner, cabinet member for planning, has hit back at the claim.

He said: “It was a single item at an extraordinary meeting and to have an hour on it was enough time.

“It focuses people’s minds rather than talking about other issues that aren’t relevant. In my view that was adequate time.”

Most Read

Councillor Hales and Barrington district councillor Aidan Van De Weyer also expressed concerns that delays to the plan may also result in a stream of planning applications being accepted in the meantime.

Councillor Van De Weyer was left disappointed when plans for 220 homes were accepted by the planning committee earlier this month.

Councillor Turner said: “We have to judge each application on its own merits.

“Yes, Barrington was accepted but it was a brownfield site. 199 homes were also rejected for Melbourn as it is a Green Belt site. We as local representatives refused it.”

Councillor Turner admitted the suspension of the Local Plan has left him ‘disappointed’ as it will cause ‘anxiety’ for people living in South Cambridgeshire.

He said: “We are completely in the hands of the inspectors. If I could amend the plan here and now I would.

“We have taken a very positive attitude and we are working quickly to get back on track.

“Bourne Airfield won’t be taken out. It’s only down to the inspectors. We are working very closely with our city counterparts.”

A timetable will be presented at the end of the month, with a view to resubmit the plan by the end of 2015.