TV presenter Richard Madeley brands plans for 93-home estate as 'pretty stupid'

Richard Madeley speaks on Wenny Meadow homes plan

TV presenter Richard Madeley (inset) has branded plans to build 93 homes on Wenny Meadow as a "pretty stupid idea". - Credit: Kev Gregory/Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive/PA Images

TV presenter and journalist Richard Madeley has labelled plans to build 93 homes in Chatteris as a “pretty stupid idea”. 

Mr Madeley backed the Save Wenny Road Meadow campaign during BBC Radio 4’s ‘Any Questions’ programme, broadcast live from the town’s Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul on October 29. 

In response to how the government can reconcile the difference between building houses and saving land and wildlife, the broadcaster was quick to praise the question.  

“It’s almost impossible to answer, isn’t it?” said Mr Madeley. 

“It does seem to me to be counterintuitive to want to build 90 houses on a beautiful spot like that, which is one of the few remaining areas of that nature in this part of the world. 

Wenny Road Meadow in Chatteirs

Controversial plans to build on Wenny Road Meadow in Chatteris were discussed on BBC Radio 4's 'Any Questions' programme. - Credit: Kev Gregory

“From what I heard, and I didn't speak to a councillor who is in favour of the scheme, it sounded to me like a pretty stupid idea and I hope it gets dropped.” 

Baroness Fox of Buckley, a crossbench peer in the House of Lords, supported the proposals

“I’m on the development side,” she said. 

“You are sometimes going to have to build on somewhere that someone doesn't want anyone to build on. That is the nature of a growing society."   

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Conservative peer Lord Deben, also chair of the committee on climate change, admitted that the UK is facing a housing crisis, but also a “biodiversity crisis. 

"People want to live in Chatteris because it's the sort of place that has a meadow like that, and that is why you've got to defend it.” 

In a response read by programme host Chris Mason, Fenland District Council said that plans for and against building on Wenny Meadow are being scrutinised. 

BBC political correspondent Chris Mason in Chatteris

Chris Mason, BBC political correspondent and host of BBC Radio 4's 'Any Questions' programme. - Credit: Rev Canon Wendy Thomson

A spokesperson for the Save Wenny Road Meadow campaign stated it is not against development, but that there is “no need” to build on this land. 

They said: “Chatteris already has approval for more homes than were targeted in the local plan, so there is no need to build on the wildlife-rich Wenny Meadow. 

“We hope that district councillors understand the countless ecological, environmental, health, and historic environment reasons why the meadow shouldn't be built on,  

“We also want them to afford the meadow with appropriate local green space protection in the new Fenland local plan."