Mereham developers to address inspector

PUBLISHED: 11:39 01 November 2007 | UPDATED: 13:01 04 May 2010

AUSTRALIAN development company Multiplex will be wheeling out the big guns next week to support its fight for the 5,000 home Mereham new town. First to address the inspector at the Haddenham planning inquiry will be the company s managing director, Andy M

AUSTRALIAN development company Multiplex will be wheeling out the big guns next week to support its fight for the 5,000 home Mereham new town.

First to address the inspector at the Haddenham planning inquiry will be the company's managing director, Andy Macdonald.

He will tell the inspector that Mereham will create a sustainable community with a diverse and economically vibrant population.

It will quickly deliver a wide range of housing and significant amenities which will benefit the wider area, he will claim.

Mr Macdonald will also tell the inspector that agreement has been secured with 22 landowners whose land comprises the vast majority of the Mereham site.

"Of the remaining land to be acquired, three landowners are either in advanced level negotiations or have confirmed their willingness to progress discussions on the option agreements," he will say.

"Of the remaining parts, we expect land to be made available either before or following the inquiry."

But one landowner, Keith Ladson, whose family have farmed 100 acres in Wilburton for generations, is adamant he will never sell to Multiplex.

His land stands in the centre of the Mereham site where homes and three new schools are planned.

Mr Macdonald will tell the inquiry he expects the first homes to be completed early in 2010 and developments like Mereham are necessary "to enable Government to achieve the ambitious housing programme through to 2020".

Mr Macdonald will be followed by other Multiplex representatives and experts over the remaining two weeks of the inquiry.

They will talk about transport and road improvements including a controversial plan to create a city centre bus interchange outside Ely Cathedral for buses travelling to and from the railway station.

Buses would turn right from St Mary's Street into The Gallery and the existing coach 'drop-off' point would "provide an optimum location for a proposed city centre interchange", company representatives will tell the inquiry.

Ely Mayor Cllr Ron Bradney, who addressed the planning inquiry last week, told the Ely Standard: "Multiplex's recommendation of buses travelling in front of the cathedral at all times of the day and night is just too much.

"A stressed bus driver trying to keep to a tight schedule becoming mixed up with dazed and confused tourists getting off their buses is just asking for trouble. If one tourist is injured or killed it could spell real trouble for the future of Ely.

"After living in the area for 35 years, I am aware that you should not poke the Fen Tiger too many times as it is fierce when woken.

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