Legal threat after 100 plots of land at Chatteris go on sale 

One of  the plots on an auction website had this photo

One of the plots on an auction website had this photo. The plot was then sold prior to the auction - Credit: Archant

An ingenious – but perfectly legal – bid to sell 100 neatly divided plots of land in Chatteris has prompted an urgent response from Fenland Council. 

Two acres on the B1098 How Fen, Horseway, have been carved up into individual parcels - some of which were sold prior to an auction two years ago. 

Adverts on national websites pointed out that there are “numerous green open spaces within easy reach.  

“Transport links are provided by the A141 which is easily accessible”. 

Prices for the plots began at £1,000 but registration and other fees were required. 

The extraordinary saga of what has happened was discussed by cabinet.  

They authorised the immediate issuing of an Article 4 Direction to halt or regularise development.  

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"Landowners are beginning to undertake developments and change the use of the land,” said a council spokesperson.  

“Due to the open countryside location, the number of plots and level of works being carried out over a wide area, the council has introduced an immediate Article 4 Direction. 

“This will remove permitted development rights and safeguard the character of the area. 

The order will affect any walls, fences, gates, access tracks and caravans that may be there.  

In normal circumstance these would not require planning permission but will now not be allowed without consent being obtained first. 

Auction details from December 2020 of one of the plots at Chatteris

Auction details from December 2020 of one of the plots at Chatteris - Credit: Archant

Whilst the restrictions take immediate effect, they are subject to consultation, with representations concerning the Article 4 Direction invited until April 21 2022.  

A decision will be made on whether to confirm the direction within six months. 

Cllr Dee Laws, portfolio holder for planning said: “The sheer number of plots on the land concerned and the rural location meant that the council needed to put this intervention in place.  

“It will help to ensure that unchecked development does not take place to the detriment of the appearance and character of the countryside.” 

Chatteris site where up to 100 individual plots have been put up for sale

Chatteris site where up to 100 individual plots have been put up for sale - Credit: Archant

A report to cabinet said that “given the remote location, the large number of plots and individual owners involved, the monitoring and identification of unauthorised development is very challenging”. 

The report added: “There is the need to control these developments in the interest of the protection of the countryside” 

The council says that given the number of owners involved, it is not practical to service notice on them individually.