Councillor keeps fingers crossed as council awaits planning inspector’s decision

Gareth Wilson

Gareth Wilson - Credit: Archant

A councillor representing Witchford said legal representatives working for a housing developer “tried to make mincemeat” out of the district council at a recent public inquiry.

Councillor Gareth Wilson said a team working for Gladman Developments attempted to undermine East Cambridgeshire District Council at a meeting held by the Planning Inspectorate.

The meeting was called after councillors threw out Gladman’s plans for 128 new homes off Field End, with the developer immediately launching an appeal.

The district council says the homes are outside of the village development envelope and add that the village would be unable to support the homes – a claim backed up by the council’s local plan, which was approved by government inspectors last month.

But Gladman’s representatives argued that the local plan was not valid and that it should not carry weight in the final decision.

Cllr Wilson said he and council officers did everything they could when putting forward the case to refuse the plans but said that a final decision would remain “up in the air” for some months.

Cllr Wilson said: “Gladman had a very clever lawyer who tried his hardest to make mincemeat out of the council officers but I hope that the spirit of the local plan is respected and the planning inspector comes down on our side.

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“The decision is up in the air at the moment, we have done all we can do but it is a very worrying time for local people.”

Cllr Wilson said he hoped the local plan would “carry great weight” in the inspector’s decision but feared that if Gladman proved triumphant, it could leave the council exposed to other challenges.

He said: “It would certainly encourage other developers to have a bash but I hope Gladman go away from all this with a slightly bloody nose, it would be a good result for democracy.”