Calls for special planning meeting to discuss controversial housing application for Whittlesey

Flooded Showfields.

Flooded Showfields. - Credit: Archant

Pressure is mounting for a Fenland planning meeting set to discuss controversial housing plans for a Whittlesey flood plain to be held in the town.

Showfields site plan for new proposal of 220 homes

Showfields site plan for new proposal of 220 homes - Credit: Archant

Councillor Chris Boden, who represents the Bassenhally ward on the district council, has written a lengthy letter to planning chief Graham Nourse calling for the meeting to be held in Whittlesey when the Showfields application to build 220 homes east of East Delph is discussed.

Cllr Boden wrote: “The Showfields application is highly contentious, as is evidenced by the number of letters of objection which you said have so far been received. The local plan does recognise the sensitivity required in potential development to the north of Whittlesey, and several hundred residents are very concerned that this application may, if approved, lead to increased flood risk and serious traffic issues.”

And he points out a special planning committee meeting is set for July 29 to discuss a major housing application for Chatteris and adds: “The size and highly controversial nature of the proposed Showfields development (in an area recognised by the Local Plan as requiring sensitivity) surely also justifies a separate meeting of the planning committee or, at least, a meeting at which the two associated applications are considered in a single meeting.”

He argued it is appropriate in the “interests of transparency and good governance” to locate the relevant planning meeting nearer to the site involved.

Whittlesey Town Councillor Alan Bristow echoed Cllr Boden’s view and pointed out that a previous application for the Showfields site, which was eventually refused, was discussed at meetings in Whittlesey where the Manor Leisure Centre was packed with concerned residents.

He said: “When that application went to appeal it was held in the council chamber at Fenland Hall but the planning inspector also organised a meeting at the Manor Leisure Centre so the people of Whittlesey could express their concerns and it was packed.”

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The current Showfields application was due to be considered at a planning meeting at Fenland Hall last Wednesday, but was cancelled to allow on-going consultation.

A spokesman for Fenland council said: “We have received Cllr Boden’s request and it is under consideration.”