'We don't want path bolthole'

PUBLISHED: 14:31 13 January 2006 | UPDATED: 21:37 28 May 2010

THE man responsible for hundreds of Fenland homes has criticised councillors' demands for the construction of a March footpath, branded a burglars' bolthole. After two years of debate, councillors provoked outrage when they went against police and planni

THE man responsible for hundreds of Fenland homes has criticised councillors' demands for the construction of a March footpath, branded a burglars' bolthole.After two years of debate, councillors provoked outrage when they went against police and planning officers' advice and demanded that a footpath linking Wisbech Road and Elliott Road via The Birches be built.Michael Phillips, chairman of Hazelmere Homes, which built The Birches said: "In 40 years in this business this is the worst planning decision I have ever seen. The police, homeowners, and planning officers don't want this path."The police crime prevention officer has confirmed what we as experienced builders already know, that it will be a burglars' bolt hole."The police report to Fenland Countil's planning committee said: "The path has the potential for encouraging anti-social behaviour and acting as an escape route for criminals."Councillors refused a bid by Hazelmere to have the footpath condition waived, saying "this would lead to the loss of a dedicated pedestrian access".They stressed that pedestrians would then have to travel between Elliott Road and Wisbech Road by less safe means.Mr Phillips said: "About 100 yards further down Elliott Road there is already an existing footpath to Wisbech Road. It is illogical to have two footpaths so close to each other."I am now writing to every member of the planning committee because I fear they are not aware of the true facts."I need to gauge their views to decide if a re-submission is feasible or if we should go straight to appeal."Some of the footpath land has already been given to a homeowner for his garden.But Mr Phillips said: "Planning officers told us there would be no problem in doing away with the footpath, so we jumped the gun and gifted the land.

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