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Last minute amendment to draft plan could see historic Chatteris meadow earmarked for development

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Jubilation by campaigners fighting to save a town's historic manor parkland has turned to dismay following last minute amendment to a vital planning document.

A poll held in Chatteris on Tuesday (7) saw the majority of the 1,085 people (92 per cent) who voted support moves to make Wenny mead a local green space.

Campaigners were delighted with the result and despite the low turn-out (only 13 per cent of voters) declared it was "decisive" and there were hopes Fenland District Council would designate the land as a local green space in its emerging local plan for the town.

Campaigners want to save Wenny Meadow from development. (57282887)
Campaigners want to save Wenny Meadow from development. (57282887)

Developer Cannon Kirk want to build around 93 homes on the land, which was once part of an historic manor parkland, and is popular with local dog walkers.

The homes scheme is part of a proposed larger development of 350 houses on land surrounding the meadow.

However, today's (Monday) meeting of Fenland's Cabinet is being asked to approve a last minute amendment to the draft planning document which will result in the complete opposite as it will see the Wenny Meadow land included in sites that could be developed for housing.

Secretary of the Friends of Wenny Road Meadow, Kirsty Patterson, said: "The proposed amendment to the Draft Local Plan is contrary to the objective decisions made by officers to place Wenny Meadow outside of the development boundary and is in total contempt of the residents of Chatteris who have sent a very clear message saying they want Wenny Meadow protected from development.

"There is no technical or political way to justify this amendment, which flies in the face of democracy and any metrics used to assess sites that are suitable for development.

"The Draft Local Plan has taken two and a half years to be produced, and yet this last minute amendment comes after our poll result and does the complete opposite of what residents asked."

The amendment is one of a number added to the draft plan that were discussed on Monday.

An officer's report to the meeting says: "It is recommended that an additional site for residential development to the east of Chatteris is included in the draft Local Plan.

"Policy LP46 to be updated to include part of and off Wenny Road, for approximately 90 dwellings. That part to be included shall be restricted to the area covered by the Planning Application currently impending."

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