Councillor Urging The Public To Kill Off Mereham Plans
PUBLISHED: 08:00 22 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:51 04 May 2010
THE controversial Mereham development is still being considered in plans for the region s future, despite being rejected by the Government last year. A proposal for between 4,000 to 6,000 homes on land close to Wilburton and Stretham is listed as Mereham
THE controversial Mereham development is still being considered in plans for the region's future, despite being rejected by the Government last year.
A proposal for between 4,000 to 6,000 homes on land close to Wilburton and Stretham is listed as "Mereham New Settlement" in an East of England Regional Assembly document compiled in October last year.
Now, Cambridgeshire County Councillor Bill Hunt is urging members of the public to "help kill off the plans once and for all".
Cllr Hunt, who represents the Haddenham ward, campaigned against the original planning application, which was made by Australian developers Multiplex Stannifer.
He was angry to discover that the new proposals, this time presented by Cambridge-based firm Barton Willmore on behalf of Aldersgate Investments Ltd, were submitted just weeks after Hazel Blears, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, rejected the plans.
He said: "I spent three years fighting this campaign. It makes me angry that they have submitted what is essentially the same proposal but with a few slight differences. We should all be on our guard and we have got to be ready for it. These people are driven by profit and it is the responsibility of people like me to stop them getting their way."
Giles Hughes, head of planning at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: "Mereham just isn't an appropriate development and we haven't seen any information on how the new proposals differ from the plans rejected by the Secretary of State. There are far better places for development to take place."
He added: "I certainly feel very sorry for people in the area who thought they had seen the back of it."
A spokesman for EERA explained that Government is due to publish a regional plan in 2011, which will include the number of new homes needed in each district council area over the next 20 years.
He said: "The assembly is responsible for developing this regional plan, working with county and district councils.
"Cambridgeshire County Council will shortly be submitting its view of how many new homes might be needed in the county by 2031 and where broadly they might be located."
He said the Mereham proposal was published in autumn last year, along with plans from other developers in the area, to help make councils aware at an early stage of the future intentions of developers within the region.
He added: "Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the local council to plan where new homes should be located in their area and to assess individual planning applications.