Fenland councillors give coal yard consent for housing despite opposition from officers

LAND owned by retired coalman and Fenland councillor Ralph Butcher and his partner Norman Bedford has won permission for a housing estate despite planners’ claims that the access is sub standard.

Officials also claimed the former coal yard was in a “back land setting”, was outside the village development boundary, would create a precedent for further housing in the same area, and no proper flood risk assessment was undertaken.

In December Fenland District Council Planning Committee deferred the application but now councillors have decided to allow the six four-bedroom homes to be built there. One condition is for the owners to make a contribution towards local education and others, including access, will be included.

The six homes south of 180-192 Coates Road, Coates, will be added to the neighbouring site also owned by Cllr Butcher and Mr Bedford nearby which won permission for housing on appeal in 2006.

Issues raised at the meeting which approved the latest application included fears that the former coal yard “is considered to be potentially contaminated.”

Cambridgeshire County Council said that with 13 homes now being built there that Fenland Council “should consider the implications” for drainage, lighting and highways maintenance.

Fenland planning officers contended the access proposed was “substandard” and claimed the development “would adversely affect amenity within the locality”.

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They also criticised the low standard of design proposed for the new homes and did not provide adequate infrastructure.

Middle Commissioners argued “aspects of the proposed submission are inappropriate and require revision”.