Protecting 1000 years of village life


In 2010 Peterborough City Council released its Site Allocations Development Plan Document, which outlined how the city and its surrounding area could be developed up until 2021. The plans for Eye included plans to build 305 homes, 10 travellers’ pitches and a plot for travelling show people to be built in the village. Added to this will be the Norwood development (2,300 homes plus industry – (UE002 on consultation now SA1.5)) just outside the parish boundary but within easy walking distance of the village.

peopleAs part of the plan a consultation was held and in April the council held a meeting in Manor Farm Community Centre in the village. Almost 300 turned up at the meeting to object to the proposals.

Dale McKean who was chairing the meeting handed over 563 letters of objection to the councils planning representatives

Mr McKean said: “It’s fabulous to have seen so many people here, it shows that democracy is working. “The villagers have had their say and let’s hope the city council are listening.”

In response to a question about the reason Eye was so important, Richard Kay, Council’s Policy and Strategy Manager, said: “The whole of the unitary area is essentially up for getting more development but the villages have got to take a bit of the contribution. “Out of 25,000 homes, the villages of Eye and Thorney are only taking 600 new homes but I do accept that it’s a large amount for Eye.”

Original proposal (inc green wedge and Norwood)
Original proposal (inc green wedge and Norwood)

“We are a village not a ‘Key Service Centre'”

Taking into account villagers responses the city council reduced the housing in the Thorney road development (H150 on the map above) to the north side of Thorney Road and removed the need to implement travellers pitches.

In December 2011, despite large scale opposition the independent inspector from the Planning Inspectorate proposed five changes to the authority’s plan for future housing, workplaces, leisure and other facilities. Two of the changes included adding a development at Thorney Road, Eye, for 50 homes and another at Crowland Road, Eye Green for 25 homes. That makes a total of 160 additional houses and an Industrial estate in Eye on top of the 380 that have already been built in the last 3 years.

The Evening Telegraph reported that MP for Peterborough Stewart Jackson described it as a “slap in the face for the residents and would consider approaching the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, about the apparent disregard for public opinion. ”

The evidence is there that growth is detrimental to the village. On Friday 9 September 2011 Eye had its first drugs raid in the villages history on the new Bath Road housing estate. In an early morning raid armed police arrested a suspected drugs dealer on the new estate. Story here and here.

“Eye is proud to be a village, we don’t want to become just another township

For a full list of documents visit the Peterborough City Council site here. Core Strategy Preferred options is here.

This plan is only until 2021, after that the process will start all over again. I suspect Eye will be under the same pressures all over again.

Marco Cereste, leader of Peterborough City Council is chairman of LarkPoint and Nottingham based Charterpoint Developments. Larkfleet homes which is part of the group, is one of the companies who have been building a large quantity of the new housing in the village.

The Conservatives introduced the New Homes Bonus in April 2011. The scheme will match the additional council tax raised for new homes and empty properties brought back into use, with an additional amount for affordable homes, for the following six years. The idea is that the extra money raised is spent in the community where the growth is taking place.

There are two good points in all this – The plans include the old railway track bed between Thorney and Eye being turned into a footpath/cycleway, at the current time there is no easy way to cycle to Thorney safely. Also a green wedge to the south of Eye, between the village and Peterborough in the area that used to be part of the green belt is to be created.

Appendix 1 – Maps and summary of developments


Code Description (As of 2011) Size (Ha) Dwellings Official Code
1 Land to north of High Street
Bath Road estate (completed)
2.6 112 SA5.1
2 Odams Mill/land to north of Thorney Road
The Spinney/Millport/Whitby Avenue (nearing completion)
4.6 120 SA 5.1
3 Land to north of Thorney Road
On the submission plan
1.8 SA 5.5
4 The old brickyards site.
Land South of Nature Reserve, Eye Green
2.4 35 SA 5.4
5 Baxters Warehouse
Verde Close
1.1 64 SA 5.3
6 Land off Crowland Road, Eye Green
Added by the independent government inspector
1.13 25 H070a
7 Land to south of Thorney Road, Eye
In the original proposal but taken out on the submission version. Re-added by the independent government inspector.
2.62 50 H150d
8 Land backing onto Eye School
In the original proposal but taken out on the submission version.
3.9 80
9 Land for industry 1 N/A SA 14.2
A Norwood 2300 UE02

Appendix 2 – Media

Peterborough Evening Telegraph articles:

Appendix 3 – photos of effected areas


SA 5.5 – Looking towards Whitby Avenue

h150d sa51 h070a


Norwood – Over the next 10 years this will all be turned into housing.

eye-landscape-bathroad2 thorney-road verde

Appendix 4 – Key Service centres and the Regional Spatial Strategy

Policy SS4 of the Regional Spatial Strategy states that development in rural areas will be focused in market towns and thereafter in key service centers. Peterborough has no market towns but Eye is the largest village in the Peterborough Area. Key Service Centres are defined as large villages with a good level of services, including the following: – a primary school within the settlement and a secondary school within the settlement or easily accessible by public transport; primary health care facilities; a range of retail and service provision capable of meeting day-to-day needs, in particular for convenience shopping; local employment opportunities; and frequent public transport to higher order settlement.

Regional Spatial Strategies were introduced in 2004 but in May 2010 the new Government announced the abolition of the Regional Strategies. They were formally revoked, under s79(6) of the Local Democracy Economic Development and Construction Act 2009, on 6 July 2010

Supporting guidance to local authorities upon the revocation of RSS stated: “In the longer term the legal basis for Regional Strategies will be abolished through the “Localism Bill” that we are introducing in the current Parliamentary session. New ways for local authorities to address strategic planning and infrastructure issues based on cooperation will be introduced.