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Why has Chatteris ward councillor not got involved in Slade Lode homes plan?

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Last week I watched the Fenland District Council (FDC) planning committee as streamed via YouTube with interest as one of the items up for discussion was for the most significant housing development plans for the Slade Lode ward in Chatteris – certainly the biggest since the Furrowfields and Lode Way areas were built some 25-30 years ago.

As a Chatteris town councillor myself, I actively took part in the discussions held late last year when the proposed development was introduced to the town council prior to the plans being formally submitted. One of our town councillors, Alan Gowler, was invited to speak at the FDC meeting to reiterate the town council’s concerns regarding potential traffic issues along the A141 and pedestrian safety provision.

Consequently, I was pleased to see that nearly all those present at the FDC committee took on board and debated those concerns, very ably backed by the three Chatteris FDC councillors who also sit on planning. This was a great example of town and district councils working together to achieve a workable and acceptable outcome and we hope it will deliver a positive development to the town.

Coun Daniel Divine
Coun Daniel Divine

But. And it is a big but. There was one prominent person (or voice) missing from all this, and that is of the Fenland District Councillor for Slade Lode, elected just over a year ago.

Daniel Divine, as some may recall, unseated the long-standing and dedicated previous district councillor, Florence Newell.

Coun Divine, from what can be seen, has made no input to this considerably important application at all, whether it was an email in support of the plans (or otherwise) but crucially nothing as regards the road and pedestrian safety aspects as mentioned above.

According to Standard Consultee List for the Womb Farm application, as seen on the FDC planning portal, the Ward (district) councillor was included along with other major interested parties such as Anglian Water, Environment Agency, Highways etc. in October 2019.

Whilst he may not presently be a member of the FDC planning committee, if the ‘lowly’ town council made the effort to put across on at least two occasions the need to satisfy those safety concerns then I would have thought it was imperative for the ward district councillor to do the same.

This very same councillor has thus far made no attempt to attend a town council meeting, not even just to introduce himself to those who don’t know him and I am well aware that he is posted a copy of the agenda ahead of each month’s full council meeting.

Alas, maybe it was not to be for the good people of Slade Lode ward. He was elected as an Independent, but I cannot help but think that he has become so ‘independent’ he has detached himself from the constituents he is supposed to represent! However, it was good to see that the other three district councillors picked up the slack though…

James Carney,


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