‘Strong arm tactics in play” advises town clerk as he asks March councillors what’s next to be done over Estover

Digger and workers in the field next to Estover for excavation work.

Digger and workers in the field next to Estover for excavation work. - Credit: Archant

March councillors are being asked how far they are prepared to go to prevent Cambridgeshire County Council developing Estover.

Following a town council meeting last night an urgent appeal has gone out today to all councillors asking for guidance on what should be done next.

Clive Lemmon, the town clerk, summarised a debate from last night in which he describes the views of Fenland Council and its leader John Clark as being “completely intransigent”.

Recalling that Cllr Clark had told them any challenge to the Local Plan must be taken through the courts, Mr Lemmon said this was a “very costly business and can cost thousands, if not tens of thousands, of pounds.

“The worrying fact is that FDC are also prepared to spend thousands defending their case. Is this a sensible use of council tax payers’ money, even if we know that the views of FDC are at odds with those of the electorate?

“It is believed that we have a compelling case but going to court can be a lottery.”

He also warned it could take years to settle the case and Mr Lemmon said it emerged after last night’s meeting that if the county council continued to refuse anything other than a short term lease, the recreational use of Estover could be thwarted.

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“It was intimated we were fighting a ‘no win’ cause – we should allow some development and get some funding or fight development and get nothing,” he said. “Again strong arm tactics appear to be in play.”

Mr Lemmon has asked if there should be a meeting with the county council to try and agree for the sale of Estover to March Town Council.

He also says Sport England could be brought into the debate utilising their policy of insisting that any playing field lost should be replaced with something equivalent or better.

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