Surprise move by Fenland trio will mean scrutiny of housing planned for Wisbech waterfront

Original housing plans for Nene, Wisbech

Original housing plans for Nene, Wisbech - Credit: Archant

TWO independent and one Conservative councillor have used their power to insist Fenland Council look again at the proposed sale of part of the mothballed £52m Nene waterfront regeneration site at Wisbech.

The surprise decision means members of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee will take a look at last week’s Cabinet decision.

The three councillors all belong to the overview and scrutiny committee and the two independent members, Councillor Virginia Bucknor of Wisbech and Councillor Mark Archer of Manea has won tactical support from the Tory vice chairman Councillor Jan French.

Cllr Bucknor is delighted the committee will get the chance to look at the proposals but her reservations have nothing to do with the fact that part of the sale would include an element set aside for social housing.

“I am pleased some social housing is proposed since Roddons Housing Association (who took over Fenland’s council homes stock in 2007) is behind on their targets,” she said.

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“But I want to ensure the design is extremely attractive so one doesn’t denigrate from the private housing planned there.”

She added: “We need to ensure the new social housing is modern looking and does not simply get built to the lowest common denominator.”

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Cllr Bucknor added: “We also need to ensure this scheme is for the benefit of residents and the details are absolutely transparent.”

The ‘call in’ won the support of Cllr French who said she it was “a vital issue” for the whole of Fenland.

A local firm, GB Construction Ltd, has won approval from Cabinet to develop part of the site which formerly housed a gas works. The area was de-contaminated at a cost of nearly £1m prior to it being deemed suitable for housing.

Completing housing by the Nene would be the final part of a scheme which has seen the port already re developed, landscape improvements undertaken and a new business centre built.

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