Fight goes on to save town's historic meadow as homes plans go in to council
The first step towards building up to 350 homes on a town's historic parkland has been made with the submission of a planning application this week.
A planning application for 93 homes on the historic former Chatteris Manor Park, now known as Wenny Road Meadow, has been submitted to Fenland Council by Cannon Kirk homes.
This is the first stage of a wider plan that will see 350 new homes built in the east of Chatteris, but the application only covers the 93 homes on the historic, tree-rich Wenny Road Meadow. However campaigners argue there is no guarantee that the 250 additional homes on adjacent land will ever materialise.
They also say the new plans also appear to increase the number of homes being built on the meadow from the indicative plans included in the Broad Concept Plan previously approved in 2017.
This new application follows recent decisions to grant planning permission for approximately 1,000 new homes at the Tithe Barn to the south of the town and 250 new homes at Womb Farm to the west, near Jack’s supermarket.
These two developments alone will increase the number of houses in Chatteris by 27.5 per cent in comparison to the number of households in the 2011 census.
In the planning statement accompanying their application, Cannon Kirk have referenced the public consultation carried out in July 2016.
Local residents, who have formed the 'Save Wenny Road Meadow' campaign group, are calling on Fenland Council to uphold a decision made by the council’s planning committee, who had previously said a new public consultation must be held when a planning application for Wenny Road Meadow is brought forward.
Campaigners point to the report approved by the planning committee in June 2017, which says “Further public consultation will be undertaken when a planning application is submitted.”
A spokesperson for the Save Wenny Road Meadow campaign group said: “It is vital that Fenland District Council uphold the promise of a further public consultation - a commitment that was made in the report approved by Fenland District Council.”
“The public consultation relied upon by Cannon Kirk in this application is now more than five years old, and the context of this development has changed a great deal since 2016. Since then, more than 1,250 new homes have been given the green light by Fenland’s planners in just two of the largest developments, not to mention various infill developments and other developments on the edge of town.”
“Residents responding to the 2016 consultation were making their comments on the basis of 350 new homes being added to Chatteris, not 1,600. It seems appropriate that residents should be canvassed for their opinion on the plans with full knowledge of the scale of growth now planned for Chatteris, and we are sure that members of the planning committee would like up-to-date information about residents’ views when being asked to make a decision of this magnitude.”
“Wenny Road Meadow, which has been used by walkers for decades with the apparent implicit permission of the landowner, is one of the only remaining natural green spaces in Chatteris and by far the largest.
"It received the most nominations (33 out of 46 nominations in total) to become a designated “Local Green Space” during consultation for the emerging Fenland Local Plan. Countless residents discovered Wenny Road Meadow during lockdown, and events of the last 18 months provide an even more compelling reason to once again ask residents whether they believe that 93 new homes are the most appropriate use for this very special place.”