Campaigners' claim

PUBLISHED: 10:28 10 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:01 04 May 2010

Protesters outside the Mereham Inquiry before Christmas. 	Photo: SUPPLIED

Protesters outside the Mereham Inquiry before Christmas. Photo: SUPPLIED

PROTESTERS campaigning against the giant Mereham new town development are seeking to put in a claim for up to £10,000 in costs. They will ask to be reimbursed for loss of salaries, vehicle mileage costs, telephone and IT costs and printing among other exp

PROTESTERS campaigning against the giant Mereham new town development are seeking to put in a claim for up to £10,000 in costs.

They will ask to be reimbursed for loss of salaries, vehicle mileage costs, telephone and IT costs and printing among other expenses.

If allowed, the claim from the so-called 'third parties' will be made against Australian developer Multiplex, which has appealed against refusal of its plans to build a 5,000-home new town between Wilburton and Stretham.

District and county councillor, Bill Hunt, who is asking planning inspector Richard Ogier to give the go-ahead for the claim, said: "It is unreasonable for the costs of the appellant's actions on the third parties not to be recognised.

"In addition to the constant changes, amendments, updates and revisions, it should also be noted that additional experts have been introduced which have caused severe revisions to the planned timetable.

"The inspector will have noted that the third parties are members of the public who have had to mould the inquiry timetable around a working schedule."

Cllr Hunt added that the campaigners have accepted that their true costs are never likely to be fully recovered but some 'limited reimbursement' is requested.

The planning inquiry into the Mereham development concluded with final submissions on Tuesday at Haddenham's Robert Arkenstall Centre.

Protesters carrying Say No To Mereham banners have greeted the inspector every morning and evening outside the centre and many have addressed him with their objections during the seven-week hearing.

The inspector plans to give his decision to the Government in the week beginning April 21.

But, even if he decides to reject Multiplex's appeal, his decision can be overturned by Hazel Blears, the Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities who has the final say.

Protesters fear that the Government's drive to build three million new homes by 2020 - 250,000 more than its original target - could lead to the project being given the go-ahead.

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