Protesters call for special venue in Whittlesey to hear controversial planning application

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Residents angered at timber processing firm’s plan to stay in town

Campaigners opposed to a wood processing company's plans to retain its operations in Whittlesey are calling on planning chiefs to decide the issue at a meeting in the town.

Protesters want Fenland District Council, based in March, to allow its planning committee to meet in Whittlesey when councillors consider AW Jenkinson’s retrospective planning application for its wood recycling business to go on operating at the former Saxon brickworks, off Peterborough Road, in Whittlesey.

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They say the issue is a worry for many residents and it is only right that a decision should be made at a venue that is easily accessible to as many people as possible.

This image shows the timber processing site at the Saxon brickworks in Whittlesey.This image shows the timber processing site at the Saxon brickworks in Whittlesey.
This image shows the timber processing site at the Saxon brickworks in Whittlesey.

A date has still to be set for a meeting to take place unless council officers use delegated powers to refuse the application.

Whittlesey Councillor Chris Boden, leader of Fenland District Council, said: “I have asked for a special meeting of the planning committee to be held in Whittlesey so that as many people as possible can attend to hear it.

"This plan is a matter of concern to a lot of people in Whittlesey."

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He said issues surrounding the site had only come to light ‘when the Great Stink occurred and about half the town complained.’

He added: “Obviously if officers use delegated powers to refuse the application, we will be delighted.”

Among the main objections residents have to the timber processing operations are what they say are the “dust, smells, noise” that come from the site.

Recently, an air quality monitoring system, run by consultants Ricardo, was installed near a Whittlesey school, to monitor output from the wood processing site.

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The timber specialists moved to the former brickworks in early 2021 and submitted the retrospective application last September following a visit to the site by council officers on April 21 last year.

North East Cambridgeshire MP Stephen Barclay has backed residents and in a letter of objection to the council, queried how the wood recycling business has operated without planning permission while causing, what he described as, “two years of hell” for residents.