Farmer refuses to sell his land

PUBLISHED: 16:23 12 January 2006 | UPDATED: 11:27 04 May 2010

WILBURTON pensioner Keith Ladson is standing up against international developer Multiplex, with the stark message, Keep your hands off my land . Keith s family have farmed their 100 acres in Stretham Road for almost 100 years and he has no plans to give

WILBURTON pensioner Keith Ladson is standing up against international developer Multiplex, with the stark message, "Keep your hands off my land".

Keith's family have farmed their 100 acres in Stretham Road for almost 100 years and he has no plans to give up his green fields for a housing development.

His farm sits in the middle of what could be the new Mereham development. His determination not to sell at any price could leave the company having to redesign the whole plan.

Multi-million pound property company Multiplex wants to build its new secondary school in front of his farmhouse, with houses along one side and a primary school at the top end of one of his fields.

Multiplex bosses maintain they are surprised by Keith's stand claiming they have always been told by their agents that he was willing to sell and will not ride "rough shod" over people.

But Keith, 70, said: "They are very persistent. They keep coming back. But we have never signed anything and we have no intention of signing. We have never been tempted. It's only money and I would rather have my life as it is."

Keith's grandfather began running Martin's Farm 90 years ago growing sugar beet and wheat.

He and his wife Hilary attended the presentation by Multiplex and were horrified to see their land included on the designs.

Hilary said: "I almost had apoplexy when I say our land on those plans.

"The farm is Keith's life and his hobby. I doubt if this offer had come up 40 years ago he would have looked at it any differently."

Haddenham councillor, Gareth Wilson, said: "If Mr Ladson refuses to sell his land it puts the kibosh on the plans for Mereham".

Multiplex spokesman, Martin Hughes, said: "Through our agents there have been discussions over two or three years with Mr Ladson and we were given to believe that he was prepared to come into this scheme and sell his land. He has clearly changed his mind."

East Cambs District Council rejected plans for the new development at a meeting last week, but Multiplex has vowed to appeal.

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