Leaked emails contains confidential advice from Melton to councillors who will seal fate of Tesco or Sainsbury at Whittlesey

FENLAND Council leader Alan Melton warned Conservative colleagues “not play to the audience” during the debate on whether Tesco or Sainsbury get consent for a new superstore outside of Whittlesey. By John Elworthy

“You will have been advised that the planning committee meeting to discuss the proposals for Whittlesey is to be held in the Manor Leisure Centre,” he told them.

“Martin (Curtis) advises me that he expects a large audience, which is very good for democracy.

“My only advice to members is don’t play to the audience and keep your remarks confined to planning issues. There will be representatives from both sides recording your every word.”

Cllr Melton’s advice- contained in a confidential email to his 34 council colleagues- will resonate with the 12 Conservatives members of the committee that will decide on August 29 whether Tesco or Sainsbury win the day.


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Two independents, Lib Dem Dave Patrick and Independent Virginia Bucknor – both from Wisbech- are also members of the committee.

Cllr Melton – furious that his confidential briefing notes have been leaked- told colleagues he had recently been briefed about a case going to the high court.

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“The appellants had verbatim everything members had said at the meeting,” said Cllr Melton. “Good luck!”

Cllr Melton explained, in a separate part of the email, that he had ordered a full review of planning.

“One thing is quite clear; there will be more member involvement at pre-application stage and a greater involvement of local members”.

He said he personally had spoken out against local issues such as development at Treeway, Chatteris, but had, on other occasions, supported residents in his ward against a recommendation of officers.

“All members are at liberty to do this,” said Cllr Melton explaining that officers would help any councillor draft a response.

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