Developer hits out at “scaremongering” over criticised proposed development for Whittlesey Showfields site

Steve Barclay MP meeting Denise Laws ahead of a planning appeal over the Showfield site
Steve Barclay MP meeting Denise Laws ahead of a planning appeal over the Showfield site
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A campaign to prevent a controversial development in Whittlesey going ahead has led to accusations of “scaremongering” ahead of next week’s vote on whether to approve it.

Developers Showfields Ltd have hit out at stories which it claims have seriously overplayed the threat of flooding on the Showfield site in East Delph, near Alderman Jacobs Primary School, which it intends to build 220 homes on and a community nature park.

Criticism has been directed at the Showfield Action Group which raised £15,000 and campaigned successfully to prevent a previous application on the site going ahead which would have seen 249 homes built.

The action group is now resisting the newly submitted application which will be heard by Fenland District Council’s Planning Committee on Wednesday, July 22 in March.

However, Philip Rose, chairman of Showfields Ltd, said he had been “dismayed by the way in which the flood scaremongering stories have been hyped up.”

A press release from the group said it was pleased that the action group appeared to now recognise that the flood risk had been “seriously overplayed.”

It added: “Both the directors were born and raised in the town and would not want to be associated with any development that did not carry the potential of materially improving the standard of accommodation and the quality of life of the people affected by it.

“The application currently before the planning committee achieves both those key objectives.

“Furthermore, the directors firmly believe that the proposed development represents an exciting opportunity to develop what will become acknowledged as the most desirable area of the town in which to make a home and raise a family.”

Mr Rose said there was plenty of access for cars to move in and out of the site.

He added that a quarter of the homes would be affordable housing.

Responding to Showfields Ltd’s claims, Norman Taylor, a leading member of the action group, said there were several concerns about the development including traffic and ecology, although he did not wish to go into further details before the committee meeting.

Mr Taylor, who lives in West Delph, which is next to the proposed site for the development, said: “We certainly have not been scaremongering or put anything out in the public domain about flooding.

“We believe there are valued issues which have not been addressed.

“We have always set out our stall to be fair and true in our communication.

“We continue to have widespread support in the community.”

The previous application for the Showfield site was rejected by Fenland District Council in December 2013.

Showfields Ltd then appealed but a government planning inspector upheld the council’s decision last November, with flooding concerns cited as the main reason.

However, the developers say under the new application the homes would only be built on land identified by the Environment Agency as being in the low-risk Flood Zone 1.

The new application has been recommended for approval by the district council’s planning department.

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