MAJOR initiatives affecting housing and growth have been announced by council leader Alan Melton at the 5th annual Fenland District Council/Cambs Times/Wisbech Standard Building Design Awards.

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The awards, presented last night and due to be featured in a special eight-page supplement in next week’s paper, provided Cllr Melton with a platform to focus on key issues facing Fenland.

“Recent publicity highlighted the slow progress in delivering affordable homes in Fenland during the previous years,” he said.

“As leader I have a duty towards the overall performance of the council so when I see a performance report showing a target miss of 87 per cent, I am bound to react.”

But he said this is “not about blame, it is an appeal for solutions” and he called for agents, landowners, builders, developers, housing providers and the public sector to come forward with ideas and schemes.

“I can assure you of a sympathetic hearing,” he told an audience of nearly 100 councillors, developers, house builders, sponsors and guests at Wisbech Boathouse.

“We will look at schemes, even if they are not in the ‘zoned’ areas and providing your proposals are realistic and sustainable we will work with you,” he said.

Cllr Melton added: “Of course landowners have to be realistic; the days of mega money for development land are well and truly over. If landowners think that they can hang on to land indefinitely whilst awaiting a possible spike in values – that may or may not materialise- we reserve the right to remove the zone and reallocate other land.

“One way or another, we will reach our aspirations.”

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