City of Peterborough grows ever closer

Plans for 1,130 new homes on land within the ‘Norwood Extension’ are to be put forward by the owners, Church Commissioners, Central England Co-op and Milton Estate. Taylor Wimpey, who reported an operating profit of £850.5 million in 2019 has already applied for planning permission for 870 homes with a two-form primary school and local centre on the Norwood extension. The eastern point of the site is just 0.3 miles from the top end of Hodney Road.

The Norwood extension (site reference LP35.6) was put forward for development in the local plan which was adopted in 2019. It’s a statutory document which sets out the overall approach to development in Peterborough up to 2036 and beyond. The 70-hectare site (for comparison the main village of Eye, south of the A47 is around 80 hectares) will have new access points from the A16 and Newborough Road.

70 hectares of farmland produces a lot of food so it’s quite a sizable loss. There are a lot of variables but depending on yield one hectare of wheat can produce upwards of 10,000 loaves of bread. Average bread purchases are around 60 loaves per person per year. Between 2000 and 2010 over 447,700 hectares of farmland was lost to housing, commercial parks and other urban developments.

The average price of agricultural land in England is around £20,000 a hectare but once land has planning permission it can be worth 50 times that. In 2015 Farmers Weekly was reporting that agricultural land with planning permission had sold for as much as £2.5m/hectare in the south of England and £1.5m/hectare further north.

In October 2020 Highways England recommended that planning permission wasn’t granted for the Taylor Wimpey development until issues around the Newborough Road/A47 were finalised. The existing junction of Newborough Road and the A47 wasn’t designed for the high levels of traffic the new development will generate and needs improvement works. Because of this, the plans include a new roundabout on the A16 as in the plan below and dualling of the A16 from the A47. This has been costed at £10.8 million with £9.7million coming for the combined authority and £1.1 contributed by third parties. Due to the capacity of the Newborough Road/A47 junction, it is vitally important that construction of the new roundabout with the A16 begins as soon as it is feasible to do so.

Revised Taylor Wimpey plan
Revised Taylor Wimpey plan

Opinion: Like a sandcastle about to get enveloped by the rising tide, the city of Peterborough gets ever closer to the village. With most space to the south of the city already earmarked for development, the only remaining areas for growth are to the north, east and west. Eye has already seen a lot of growth over the past 15 years, more than any village in the Peterborough area. What happens when the current plan ends in 2035 is anyone’s guess but there will surely be pressures on land around the parish.

The site is currently farmland.

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