Developer wins appeal to build ‘much-needed social housing’ in …

A developer has won an appeal to build “much-needed social housing” in Stretham, despite concerns about traffic noise. East Cambridgeshire[1] District Council had refused the plans to build 19 affordable homes off Cambridge Road, over concerns it could cause “unacceptable living conditions” if residents needed to keep their windows shut.

However, this decision has been overturned by a planning inspector who disagreed with the district council’s conclusion. The proposals for the new development were put forward by Long Term Land Limited.

The developer proposed to build six three-bedroom houses, two two-bedroom houses, three two-bedroom bungalows, and eight one and two-bedroom flats. The plans also included a total of 43 car parking spaces, five of which would be for visitors.

The developer said the plans would create “much-needed social housing” in the area. In the planning documents they said: “The site offers the opportunity to naturally extend the existing settlement along Cambridge Road infilling a gap between properties. Our vision is for a distinctive residential neighbourhood that reflects the local character and village setting. High-quality design together with landscaping will ensure that the development is well-integrated within its surroundings, while providing a mix of much-needed housing.”

The application also received 44 comments of support from members of the public with only two objections. However, the plans were refused by the district council due to concerns over noise levels in the homes from nearby roads. The planning officer said the homes would wholly rely on mechanical ventilation to mitigate the internal noise levels, and said this meant people living in the homes “could not realistically expect to be able to open windows to connect to the outside world”.

They said this would “create an isolating existence and unacceptable living conditions”. However, the planning inspector said they disagreed with this conclusion. In their report, they said the noise impact assessment showed acceptable noise levels could be achieved through mechanical ventilation with the windows closed.

They also said there was evidence that some windows could be opened. The inspector said: “Concern has been raised that future occupants would be unable to open windows within the properties, without being subjected to unacceptable levels of noise. However, evidence provided as part of the appeal demonstrates that windows would be able to be opened at both ground and first-floor levels on at least one quieter facade, during both daytime and night-time periods.

“Albeit, it has been put to me that with the windows opened, there would be a significant reliance on marginal compliance with the internal British Standards for noise.” The planning inspector allowed the plans, but did not award the developer costs against the district council. As an outline application, further more detailed plans will need to be submitted for approval before work can go ahead.


  1. ^ Cambridgeshire (
  2. ^ Residents fear pet cats could kill locally if new ‘catastrophic’ housing development with 80 homes goes ahead in Cambs (