We don’t like your attitude Whittlesey Town Council tells Fenland Council as crisis mounts over ‘supermarket-gate’ and Hatton calls emergency meeting

EIGHT of its 14 strong members also serve on Fenland District Council – two in Cabinet- but that hasn’t stopped Whittlesey Town Council signalling a major split over which supermarket is built locally.

EIGHT of its 14 strong members also serve on Fenland District Council – two in Cabinet- but that hasn’t stopped Whittlesey Town Council signalling a major split over which supermarket is built locally.

And in a new twist tonight Fenland’s planning committee chairman Councillor Phil Hatton says his members will meet informally to re consider the venue for January’s meeting after being told he couldn’t convene an official committee in time.

In its first public statement on ‘supermarket-gate’ Whittlesey town council accused Fenland District Council of avoiding dealing with their complaints, messing with what people want, and questioning why Sainsbury’s had been denied the paperwork to start building.

The town council says it sent complaints to Fenland District Council on October 15 about the planning process and yet chief executive Paul Medd had not had yet responded.


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“Whittlesey Town Council is asking why there has been no response to its letter to Fenland District Council’s 3C’s (Complaints Department),” said a town council statement.

“The applications are applicable to Whittlesey and the residents of the town are very critical of Fenland District Council’s attitude and lack of response.”

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The statement also was headed “WHITTLESEY TOWN COUNCIL HAS NOT LET GO OF THE SUPERMARKET PLANNING ISSUE” and it contained a series of questions they want answered.

The town council are furious that Mr Medd wrote to tell them he had been “instructed” by Cabinet to alter the next planning meeting to Wisbech St Mary and it was awaiting ratification by the planning committee. This, if true, is at odds with the insistence by council leader Alan Melton that Cabinet had merely ‘advised’ the committee to head for Wisbech St Mary and to reject Whittlesey.

Now Whittlesey Town Council has posed these questions to Fenland District Council;

1: Why is it necessary to have further planning meetings for these applications?

2: Why any meeting should not be at The Manor Leisure Centre, Whittlesey?

3: Why no decision notices were issued

a) For the refusal of the Harrier Developments (Tesco’s) application following the decision on August 29

b) For the approval of the Sainsbury, Country & Business Parks ollowing ratification of the Header Terms of Section 106 at the meeting held on September 19.

The statement added that “Whittlesey Town Council consider that the above decisions were taken at valid planning meetings and has no understanding as to why Fenland District Council needs to revisit them.”

The statement added: “Whittlesey Town Council has been working behind the scenes for some considerable time and is listening and supporting the electorate.”

Cllr Hatton, meanwhile, said today that he had been trying to organise an emergency planning committee for Thursday evening and after the full council meeting.

“Unfortunately due to rules and regulations with time scales for notice etc I am unable

to do this as the earliest an official planning committee meeting could be convened would be in the New Year,” he said.

“I am disappointed with this but in view of the urgency of the matter in hand I am still proposing to go ahead with a discussion on Thursday after council but it will have to be an informal discussion therefore unfortunately it will not be open to the public.

“But a decision will be made. An e-mail will be sent out shortly from members’ services inviting all members of Planning Committee including substitutes to attend in order to decide the final venue for forthcoming supermarket applications.

He added: “Immediately after the discussion officers will be advised of the outcome.”

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