'Unfair' says Chatteris Town Council as Fenland Council wants to build homes on car park left over from 2007 council homes sale to Roddons

PUBLISHED: 14:27 08 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:06 08 January 2020

The Elms car park in Chatteris, Fenland Council wanto to use the land for housing but residents, and the town council, object. The land was retained by FDC after the 2007 transfer of council houses to Roddons. Picture; MARTYN JOLLEY

The Elms car park in Chatteris, Fenland Council wanto to use the land for housing but residents, and the town council, object. The land was retained by FDC after the 2007 transfer of council houses to Roddons. Picture; MARTYN JOLLEY

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Residents on a Chatteris estate have been warned to expect to lose their small car park because of a quirk in the transfer of Fenland's housing stock to Roddons 13 years ago.

The Elms car park in Chatteris, Fenland Council wanto to use the land for housing but residents, and the town council, object. The land was retained by FDC after the 2007 transfer of council houses to Roddons. Picture; MARTYN JOLLEY The Elms car park in Chatteris, Fenland Council wanto to use the land for housing but residents, and the town council, object. The land was retained by FDC after the 2007 transfer of council houses to Roddons. Picture; MARTYN JOLLEY

The district council says when it sold off its 4,000 homes it kept a number of parking areas including one at The Elms, Chatteris.

Now it has decided the car park is no longer needed and has applied to itself to build two houses on the land.

But residents are furious - as too is Chatteris Town Council which labelled it "unfair to claw back this land after so many years as a car park".

The town council says the district council planning committee should refuse the application.

The Elms car park in Chatteris, Fenland Council wanto to use the land for housing but residents, and the town council, object. The land was retained by FDC after the 2007 transfer of council houses to Roddons. Picture; MARTYN JOLLEYThe Elms car park in Chatteris, Fenland Council wanto to use the land for housing but residents, and the town council, object. The land was retained by FDC after the 2007 transfer of council houses to Roddons. Picture; MARTYN JOLLEY

"Many houses do not have their own parking spaces or driveways and the estate roads are not wide enough," says the town council.

It argues that the proposal would cause traffic congestion and access issues for emergency vehicles.

"The amenity value of the area would be adversely affected by parking on the roads," it adds.

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Becky Francis, assets disposal survey for Fenland Council, disagrees.

Accepting that residents have objected, she says the car park is one of four that was retained by the council "for possible alternative uses".

She added: "At that time the majority of the housing was already in private ownership and many owners have, to date, made provision for off road parking to the front of their properties."

She said there was no "formal right" for residents to park there (she checked title deeds) and had Fenland Council intended it for long term parking they would have recorded it on the title at Land Registry.

But resident complaints are piling into the council ahead of a decision.

"A large number of homes do not have their own off road parking," said one. "This development would remove the use of a car park that is constantly used, forcing these vehicles to be parked elsewhere, for which there is very limited space".

Another argued that even two more houses would add to existing flooding and drainage issues.

One other resident said: "There is photographic evidence to show the flooding issues. The ground is an existing swamp."

Alex Woolnough of the county council said the district council needs to consider the impact of displacement parking/impact on the availability of kerb side parking.

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