Buttercup Day Nursery in March buys time in legal wrangle

THE county council has stepped in to help a children’s nursery in its legal fight with Fenland District Council.

THE county council has stepped in to help a children’s nursery in its legal fight with Fenland District Council.

The district council had threatened enforcement action against Buttercup Day Nursery in Knights End Road, March, if it did not replace its uPVC windows with something “in sympathy with the character of a Grade II Listed Building”.

Now, following claims at a meeting of Fenland District Council’s Planning Committee that the pursuit of owner Hope Othieno was too “heavy handed”, the county council has stepped in to help.

A county spokesman said: “We have spoken to Fenland Council and they have agreed a six month stay of execution whilst the nursery puts together an action plan.

“The owner, with our help, will put together a grant application to replace the windows. The county council has agreed to act like a catalyst so that all sides can see the wood from the trees.”

The planning committee agreed to defer enforcement action for six months.

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Councillor Jan French said she was surprised to see the enforcement action on the agenda.

“I thought it was agreed we were not going to be heavy handed,” she said, winning acceptance from the committee to defer action.

The enforcement threat began two years ago when Fenland’s conservation officer Martyn Kendall drove past and noticed the windows were unauthorised.

Negotiations resulted in a Listed Building application being approved on a year ago but the windows were still not replaced.

He told the owner that “unfortunately lack of funds is not a justification in this case and I’m afraid we need a timescale more specific than ‘as soon as possible.’”

A letter threatening enforcement action said: “Failure to replace the windows under this notice may lead to the council prosecuting you in a magistrates’ court for non-compliance, along with any request for costs.”

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