My search for some realism

PUBLISHED: 12:10 30 August 2007 | UPDATED: 12:46 04 May 2010

The debate continues...

The debate continues...

POLITICIANS are used to being misquoted but I expected better of the Ely Standard in your front page item regarding my article on Roswell Pits. Despite your headline, I am not in favour of the project , I simply seek to establish a sense of realism about

POLITICIANS are used to being misquoted but I expected better of the Ely Standard in your front page item regarding my article on Roswell Pits.

Despite your headline, I am not 'in favour of the project', I simply seek to establish a sense of realism about what can be achieved. Secondly, my reference to my personal doubt about the need for planning consent referred quite clearly to the narrow issue of the laying of pipes in a trench not the general development of the site as interpreted by your reporter. Quite obviously more major development will require consent.

It seems from the Liberal Democrats' petition that they have no sense of realism. It would have been far better if they made it clear that no public or private body would get compulsory purchase powers to buy the pits if the owner did not wish to sell. Nor has either body the power to designate the site in a way that would protect it from all development.

The spokesman for the LCPRE should not have been surprised at my article, there was nothing in it which I had not said when I met them three weeks ago. The most important point is that it is for the district council to decide on planning matters and to defend them on appeal if necessary. The fact is, however, that planning is subject to Planning Guidance issued by the Government and a planning decision made which is contrary to that guidance will probably be overturned at appeal. That is not a 'risk of public money' which I would wish to see taken.

Since my article matters have moved on, some of the inconsistencies to which I referred have been clarified both to me and to the council who will decide on the Certificate of Lawfulness. Despite the cynicism of a few I am convinced that a way forward can be found to satisfy the majority of people whilst meeting the objectives of the owner and I remain willing to assist in any way I can.

JIM PAICE

MP for South East Cambridgeshire

Editor's Note:

We accept that our front page headline last week was indeed a bridge too far and was not a fair summary of the story that followed. We also accept that Mr Paice has not given his full backing to the development plan for Roswell Pits. We do, however, stand by our front page story, which we feel fairly represented the views of the campaign group who told us they were unhappy with some of the comments that Mr Paice made in his column and felt let down by the column published in last week's Ely Standard.

We also accept that in January Mr Paice asked the Government to toughen up the law regarding protection of Sites of Special Scientific Interest and that his views on this have not changed.

Debbie Davies

Editor

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