Close public scrutiny is essential and expected over application

OUR story about former Fenland councillor Pop Jolley should not be seen to prejudge the application he has before Fenland Council to amend the terms of the conditions under which he built his home in Manea.

However the implementation of agricultural restrictions on properties does lend itself to broader examination, particularly given the (assumed) windfalls these may offer.

It also brings into question the broader role of enforcement, questioning for instance the period of time which a person ought to be expected to occupy a home once such a condition has been placed on the property.

Enforcement is a thorny issue for the people of Fenland who have witnessed the triple whammy of three illegal structures being bulldozed in recent years by a zealous enforcement team at Fenland Hall.

John Gawthorp, for instance, was found to be in breach of planning regulations and watched, as we did with him, his makeshift home at Bedlam Bridge near March demolished and razed to the ground to fulfil an enforcement requirement.

In Elm a similar fate awaited ‘Spud’ Griffin and his wife Jill whose mobile home was placed illegally a few metres into the ‘greenbelt’ and we watched, too, as their home was dismantled and rendered uninhabitable.

Do these disparate events connect? In many ways the answer is no but in some respects they shed light on the workings of planning officials who, through the years, impose conditions but do not always monitor them effectively.

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We do not wish to prejudge Mr Jolley’s application but as a former, and long standing district councillor, we feel assured he will not be alarmed by the closest of public scrutiny over his current application.

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