Don't sell us down the river' - protesters' plea
PUBLISHED: 10:22 22 November 2007 | UPDATED: 13:04 04 May 2010
VILLAGERS who have mounted a daily protest on the doorstep of the Mereham inquiry urged the inspector not to sell us down the river as he hears the last few days of evidence. They boarded a canoe in the car park of the village s Arkenstall Centre to dri
VILLAGERS who have mounted a daily protest on the doorstep of the Mereham inquiry urged the inspector not to "sell us down the river" as he hears the last few days of evidence.
They boarded a canoe in the car park of the village's Arkenstall Centre to drive home their plea as Richard Ogier arrived for the inquiry which will decide the fate of the 5,000 home new town.
On Friday, the protestors will present their 7,500 signature petition to Mr Ogier who has listened to six weeks of evidence from campaigners and Australian developer, Multiplex, which wants to build the new town on land between Wilburton and Stretham.
South East Cambridgeshire MP Jim Paice will also attend the inquiry on Friday and address the inspector.
He said: "Over the last six weeks, the planning inspector has heard from county, district and parish councils all saying the same thing: Mereham is not wanted, is not needed and should be rejected. There have been experts on planning law, on road safety, and on building infrastructure who have poured scorn on the developer's plans for the new town.
"Collectively, they have shown that Mereham is not sustainable in terms of the local economy, the environment and road infrastructure.
"Members of the public have also stood up and given their considered and articulate opinions, which have damned the development.
"I believe having listened to all the evidence from local authorities, experts and the community, the planning inspector can only put forward one argument to the Secretary of State, and that is to say 'no' to Mereham."
Multiplex has proposed last-minute improvements to the A10 bypass which will be advertised in the next two weeks so people will have the chance to put forward their views.
The changes involve the widening of the A10 from Stretham to Denny End and not to the Milton roundabout as previously intended.
There will be additional traffic lanes to the north of the Milton interchange, no right turn at the northern Landbeach junction and a new footbridge at Butt Lane.
After the consultation period, Mr Ogier will reconvene the inquiry for three days from December 18 to 20 to hear responses to the plans and final submissions.