Scaremongering accusations, a public dispute with an MP and a six-figure dent in the wallet.
But after four-and-a-half years it’s all been worth it for Philip Rose, chairman of Showfields Ltd, after his long battle to build homes in Whittlesey finally got the go ahead.
Mr Rose’s application for 220 homes on the Showfield site in East Delph, near Alderman Jacobs Primary School, and a second application for a nearby community park, were yesterday approved by Fenland District Council’s Planning Committee.
Having waited so long to get to this point, typically Mr Rose was made to sweat it out with the meeting lasting three hours before a decision was made in his favour.
“To say I’m relieved would be the greatest understatement in the world,” said an ecstatic Mr Rose, who planned to celebrate with a strong cup of tea then a couple of beers.
“I do not know if I’m in the land of reality or not. It’s been a really long battle but the wait has been worthwhile. It’s certainly cost me a six-figure sum.”
There are no details about the cost of the development, or when works will start or end.
Mr Rose last week accused the Showfield Action Group, which has opposed his applications, of scaremongering. He has also publicly exchanged criticisms with North East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay who opposed it.
Showfields Ltd had previously submitted an application for 249 homes on the same site, but this was rejected and an appeal also dismissed due to flooding concerns.
On that occasion, the action group raised £15,000 to help fight the appeal.
Norman Taylor, of the action group, said he hoped yesterday’s decision would be called in by the government.
He added: “It’s disappointing for everybody. There were so many issues that were raised but not considered adequately in my view, such as highways issues for schools.
“I think we have done as much as we possibly can. At the end of the day democracy rules. There has been incredible support from locals and I would like to thank them.”
Mr Barclay said: “I am disappointed by the council’s decision to side with the developer. This decision goes against the wishes of the majority of local residents and is deeply concerning given the fact that the Planning Inspector rejected a similar application last year.”