SOUTH East Cambridgeshire MP Jim Paice has hailed the “common sense” decision to scrap plans that could have seen a new travellers’ site built on land in Fordham.

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Hundreds of residents of both Isleham and Fordham joined Mr Paice in petitioning East Cambridgeshire District Council against plans to earmark land along Isleham Road for a new 14-pitch gypsy and traveller site.

The council has been looking at land across East Cambridgeshire which could potentially be included in its 20-year Local Plan as suitable for gypsy and travellers, with two sites in Fordham highlighted.

A series of public meetings were hastily convened in a bid to fight the plans and the soon-to-be-knighted Mr Paice, who lives in Fordham, appealed directly to district council leader Peter Moakes.

Campaigners argued that the sites sat within open countryside and would be highly visible and, in addition, the primary schools in both Fordham and Isleham were full and could not offer places to any children who lived on the sites.

Mr Paice confirmed this week that he had received written confirmation from Cllr Moakes that neither of the sites will now be considered as part of the Local Plan.

Jim said: “I am glad that common sense has prevailed here. Whilst we must make sure we provide pitches for the travelling community in our area we must also make sure that these are in sensible locations.

“Having listened to the concerns of local residents and seen the sites myself it seems clear that it is right of the Local Council to drop them from the Local Plan.”

The two sites will formally be removed from the Local Plan in November, when councillors on the development and transport committee debate the document.

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