Workplace homes scam

PUBLISHED: 08:30 27 January 2006 | UPDATED: 21:39 28 May 2010

DEVELOPERS have been accused of trying to build a new housing estate on the outskirts of March by taking advantage of a planning loophole. In 2004 outline permission was granted for a development of workplace homes, where businesses can be run alongside a

DEVELOPERS have been accused of trying to build a new housing estate on the outskirts of March by taking advantage of a planning loophole.

In 2004 outline permission was granted for a development of workplace homes, where businesses can be run alongside a home, at a 0.74-acre site, north-east of Wisbech Road, on the A141.

The outline did not include the acceptable number of units for the site, and schemes showing four and six units were submitted to planners.

But developer Trehurst Ltd now wants to build 12 workplace homes on half of the site, and its latest application will be discussed by Fenland District Council's planning committee meeting on Wednesday.

Planners say they want a "proven need" for such a high number of homes, because current planning laws "cannot force the occupiers to actually run a business" from their home.

But Trehurst Ltd has not produced any evidence to justify building 12 homes, and planners fear the final development could become a residential estate, outside the development area boundary of March.

"Without a proven need for this number of units therefore, they could end up being purely residential dwellings," say planners.

"Such a use, outside the development area boundary would be unacceptable and would result in the loss of a prime industrial/business site."

This new scheme has been recommended for approval by March Town Council, but Fenland planners want it refused.

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