Developers Cannon Kirk have been accused of using the planning system to further delay the installation of traffic lights at the accident-blighted Gaul Road junction on March by-pass
Coun Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council and a Fenland councillor, is furious the developer has included the traffic lights and improvements to Gaul Road at numbers 13 and 14 on list of works connected to the building of 135 homes on land off the by-pass.
Work on the installation of the lights was expected to start this month but now the developer has submitted a planning application to build a drainage lagoon, which is essential to the building of the houses, and has included the lights and road improvements in it.
In a strongly worded written objection Coun Count said: “I wish to object on the grounds of phasing. Under the document ‘planning statement’ the phasing of works identifies at 13th and 14th in a long list: 13 - construct the proposed junction on the A141; 14- construct Gaul Road widening. Therefore pushing the time for delivery back further and introducing 12 new reasons, if accepted, for further delay.
“The delivery of this junction improvement is clearly behind schedule. There have been a plethora of accidents at this junction including the loss of a life since it was first anticipated Cannon Kirk would deliver the safety improvements required.
“Cannon Kirk have steadfastly used the planning system to delay and avoid the completion of this junction at every opportunity.
“There is no reason that these works should be delayed further for the delivery of flooding infrastructure on nearby fields.
“If the phasing for the delivery of the road improvements and signalised junction are moved to one and two in the phasing, or left out of this application and dealt with immediately, as planned, I will remove my objection.”
Coun Count argues the latest planning application goes against council policy and “seeks to delay earlier identified agreements with policy in earlier approvals”.
He also argues allowing Cannon Kirk to leave the junction and road improvements to almost the end of the list of works will set a precedent.
He said: “Allowing this sets a clear precedent that developers can continue to dictate to the district how they wish to operate rather than the other way around. Local services, the local road infrastructure affected by the existing development, have not yet been delivered.
“Should this planning approval be granted I believe Cannon Kirk would be able to refer to it to contest any further attempts to speed up delivery of the junction improvements.
“For example: ‘We have not completed 1 to 12 yet, which Fenland Council accepted as necessary before delivering improvements’; also ‘we cannot continue on 1 to 12 due to weather and ground conditions being unfavourable which has a knock-on impact on the timing of the delivery of junction improvements, as agreed by Fenland Council when they approved this application’.”
He concluded: “If unamended as suggested I will not accept approval by officers and will insist on this being referred to committee.”