Tunley says if his Estover motion to Fenland Council is approved “I would expect John Clark to tender his resignation”

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

A March councillor will call for Fenland Council to “re-affirm” its commitment to keep housing off 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

Councillor Peter Tunley will propose a motion to the November 6 meeting of Fenland Council calling for a fresh vote on the May 30 decision of last year to remove all allocations from NE March.

“I shall say members will recall that decision was made unanimously,” he said. “How can they vote against it?”

His comments came as Fenland Council insists the Local Plan did not “seek a complete bar to development in NE March” and to have done so would have been unlawful.

A council spokesman said the Local Plan “sought the removal of the site as a strategic allocation. Council considered, and approved, the motion as presented and signed by the relevant supporting members and officers subsequently acted upon the motion precisely as instructed by the motion”.

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


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But Councillor Alan Melton, then leader who brought the motion, said that after a Cabinet meeting he had instructed officers to remove the allocation.

“Before I put the amendment to the council, I held a meeting with all March members, who unanimously pledged their support for my amendment.

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“I introduced the amendment to full council, it was agreed.

“The inspector subsequently ratified the amendment, and recommended approval to the Secretary of State.”

Cllr Melton said: “Of course I am aware of the windfall policy; it is designed to bring forward un-allocated land for exceptional purposes, including affordable homes or job creation.

“My interpretation of windfall certainly does not allow for large scale development for open market homes. Particularly if there is adequate allocated land in the parish/town. March clearly has adequate allocations!”

He said applicants could appeal “but I would hope that an inspector would take into account local feeling.

“The current localism and planning legislation, clearly makes reference to local input.

“I hope that the clear wishes of March and its elected representatives are taken into account.”

Cllr Tunley says his motion is effectively “a vote of no confidence” in the leader John Clark who has refused to rule out any housing on the 80 acres under debate in NE March.

Cllr Tunley said if he motion is approved “as it should be, the events of recent weeks will be exposed for the sham they are and I would expect John Clark to tender his resignation.”

The former Conservative councillor says he will stand for re-election in May as an independent. He expects to announce plans for a new independent group to contest Fenland seats after the November council meeting.

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