Fight is on to stop new town

PUBLISHED: 11:44 05 July 2007 | UPDATED: 12:35 04 May 2010

CAMPAIGNERS will go into battle on October 9 in a bid to prevent Mereham new town being built between Wilburton and Stretham. The fight is expected to cost hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal costs and take up to six weeks. Villagers are being urged

CAMPAIGNERS will go into battle on October 9 in a bid to prevent Mereham new town being built between Wilburton and Stretham.

The fight is expected to cost hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal costs and take up to six weeks.

Villagers are being urged to throw their weight behind the fight, bringing out placards and lining the roads to greet the Government inspector as he travels to the planning inquiry at Haddenham's Robert Arkenstall Centre.

Cllr Bill Hunt, who represents Haddenham on the county council and Wilburton and Stretham on the district council, said: "We must mount the biggest protest ever seen. We must make it quite clear to this inspector that there is no room for Mereham.

"This wouldn't only affect the villages of Haddenham, Wilburton and Stretham, it would be catastrophic for anyone living in a 20-mile radius.

"Multiplex's claim that this town is deliverable is absolute nonsense. There are a number of landowners who are refusing to sell and building on this land, should never be considered."

East Cambridgeshire District Council has joined Cambridgeshire County Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council in the battle and they expect to recoup their legal costs from international developer, Multiplex.

The Australian company, which has just completed the controversial Wembley Stadium, is determined to push ahead with the massive project - rejected by East Cambridgeshire planners last year - which could see a new town of 5,000 homes built near the A10.

A Multiplex spokesman said: "In the lead-up to the inquiry, Multiplex will be showing its revised plans for Mereham, demonstrating that it is not only able to come on stream quickly, but also that it has highly sustainable features.

"The Government has clearly stated that it considers the delivery of decent, affordable homes as a major priority.

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