Mereham will swell local population by 500%

PUBLISHED: 14:51 05 September 2007 | UPDATED: 12:46 04 May 2010

By LESLEY INNES CAMPAIGNERS fighting the massive Mereham new town have warned that it will swell the combined population of Wilburton and Stretham by more than 500 per cent. The town, which developers want to build between the two villages, would be alm

By LESLEY INNES

CAMPAIGNERS fighting the massive Mereham new town have warned that it will swell the combined population of Wilburton and Stretham by more than 500 per cent.

The town, which developers want to build between the two villages, would be almost as big as Ely, which is the fastest growing city in Europe.

It could house 13,200 people in 5,000 new homes and bring 12,000 more cars onto East Cambridgeshire roads.

The warnings come from members of the Haddenham Say No to Mereham Group who will be fighting the project at the public inquiry in the village on October 9.

They claim the development would leave 13,200 people stuck in the middle of nowhere on the A10.

Quoting figures for 2005 from Cambridgeshire County Council, they claim Stretham was home to 1,590 people, falling by two a half per cent on the previous year, and Wilburton had a population of 1,270, a rise of 6.7 per cent on the previous year.

Ely had 8,150 homes in 2005 and a population of 17,200.

"So Mereham, with no existing or properly planned additional facilities for transport, other than buses and road-widening, gas supply and no extra provision for hospitals or accident and emergency services, is going to have almost as many houses as Ely has now and be close to the current population," said a spokesman.

"Excluding Ely, it will be far bigger than any of the other centres of population in East Cambridgeshire and will clearly have an unsustainable effect upon the resources and character of the district."

Members added that East Cambridgeshire is already on target to meet is allocation of new homes by 2021 by developing existing towns and villages and the rapid growth of homes around Ely.

"There is no need to build Mereham to meet current housing targets," said the spokesman.

The group is planning a public meeting to discuss the project on Monday, September 10 at the village's Arkenstall Centre at 8pm.

A petition is available on the 10 Downing Street website at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/SAYNO2MEREHAM/

and a supply of Say No to Mereham signs can be downloaded from www.eastcambs.gov.uk/mereham or placard signs can be bought from Julie Parr on 01353 741380. The group will also have a stand at this weekend's Haddenham Steam Rally giving visitors the chance to sign the petition.

Residents wishing to speak at the inquiry must pre-register with Lynette Duncan at Persona Associates by email at LynetteDuncan@personaasociates.co.uk or by phone on 01403 217799.

Defending the Mereham project, a Multiplex spokesman said that it would demonstrate at the inquiry that it could bring the development on stream quickly with highly sustainable features.

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

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