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Developers want to build more than 100 houses near Soham's new railway station

Developers are wanting to build more than 100 houses near Soham’s new railway station, more than three times the number of homes planners gave the green light to last year.

In June East Cambridgeshire District Council approved plans to build 31 houses in land just off Station Road in the town, but last week developer Neil Pistol told town councillors about his plans to expand the site.

His company, Pistol Holdings, is wanting to build 108 homes on the site, consisting of 66 houses and 42 flats, along with 163 car parking spaces and a commercial unit.

The site, off Station Road, which could become home to more than 100 new houses.
The site, off Station Road, which could become home to more than 100 new houses.

Town councillor Peter Leonard criticised the plans. “What makes you think it’s acceptable to go from 31 dwellings to 108? They look like slums,” he told Mr Pistol.

The developer said there was now more land at the site, which enabled them to build more houses.

Council chairman Charles Warner said he was “very, very concerned” about Mere Side, which shrinks to just 5.5 metres wide in some places, and also raised issues about newts living on the site.

If built, the new estate would be accessed via Station Road and Mere Side. Mr Pistol said his company had consulted with Cambridgeshire County Council’s highways department about the scheme.

“The problem is Mere Side is not a big road and you’re putting in a station, housing, mixed development, a theatre and a ecology park. There is also dog walking routes, people want access to the fens and the countryside, and that all has to be accommodated for,” Mr Pistol told councillors.

There is also set to be a new walkway between Spencer Drove and Station Road.

He also told planners there was currently a “massive flood risk” on the site, but developers had plans to capture the overload from Soham Lode.

Under the current proposals there will also be a memorial walkway at the site, to remember those who died and were injured in the Soham Railway Disaster in 1944. Cllr Philip Lane urged Mr Pistol to make sure all four men who lost their lives were remembered on any plaque at the walkway, to which the company director assured him it would.

Plans are expected to be submitted to the district council within the next few months.