MP Steve Barclay joins campaigners in speaking out against controversial 249 home Whittlesey Showfield development

Steve Barclay MP.Picture: Steve Williams.

Steve Barclay MP.Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

More than 200 people attended a Planning Inspector’s meeting about a controversial 249 home development in Whittlesey.

A planning application was rejected by both Whittlesey Town Council and Fenland District Council in December 2013 but the developer launched an appeal, which was heard at Fenland Hall between September 23-26.

At the meeting, campaigners once again put forward their opposition to development on the Showfield site to the north of Whittlesey.

Ian Fleming, treasurer of Whittlesey Showground Action Group, said: “The inspector listened intently to all of the evidence provided by both ourselves, Fenland District Council and the appellant.

“She will now take some time to digest all of the evidence provided to her before making her decision.

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“All I can say is that we have given it our very best shot.

“Our expert witnesses were subjected to some detailed cross examination by the appellants’ QC but I feel offered many reasons and a great deal of professional opinion as to why construction on the site should not go ahead.”

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County Councillor Martin Curtis and Whittlesey Town Councillor Dee Laws both spoke out against the plans.

MP Steve Barclay, who also attended the hearing, described the proposal as “one of the worst I have ever seen”.

Mr Barclay said: “In a field adjacent to houses which have already suffered flooding and standing water, and next to a flood plain, there are serious and legitimate concerns that the 250 homes new homes that are proposed will create a material flooding risk.

“As we have seen in March just last month where 60 homes flooded, this is hugely distressing to those affected.”

The development would cause extra traffic congestion on roads which are already struggling to cope, Mr Barclay said.

He said: “The B1040 was closed for 65 days between December 2012 and February 2013 and a further 21 days in January of this year alone.

“That placed significant further congestion onto the already heavily used A605 as well as creating further problems, for example in the vicinity of Alderman Jacobs School.”

Whittlesey is a town which has embraced the need for new homes, Mr Barclay said.

He said: “Opposition to this development is not a case of nimbyism. Whittlesey has already agreed in just three years to the 1,000 homes originally planned for a 20 year period.

“This is a town that has accepted significant house building, with many more still to come.

“It is simply saying that this particular location is the wrong scheme in the wrong field and that it will not improve the sustainability of Whittlesey.”

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