Ironic twist as new council leader set to agree £820,000 Wisbech land sale - the issue which prompted his cabinet resignation

16:00 22 May 2014

Wisbech Nene Waterfront sign. Picture: Steve Williams.

Wisbech Nene Waterfront sign. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

Fenland Council leader John Clark could be about to agree an £820,000 land sale in Wisbech – the issue which prompted his cabinet resignation last August.

Cllr Clark, then portfolio holder for finance, quit after allegedly being kept in the dark over discussions to sell the former gas works site to a local builder.

The deal for 70 homes on four acres alongside the Nene – of which 24 are for social housing- was said to be time critical to ensure the social housing element could draw down funding from the Government.

But Cllr Clark claimed to have been inadequately briefed on the sale, questioned its urgency, and then quit on his return from holiday.

Now, having won the leadership following the resignation of Councillor Alan Melton, one of the first projects on his desk is the delayed sale of the land.

Location Homes Ltd, the new company set up by Wisbech St Mary GB Construction, is yet to sign for the land.

And Circle Housing has only recently applied for funding from the Homes and Communities Agency to pay for the social housing element.

Cllr Clark said he had asked for a report on the proposed sale to come to Cabinet “since I want to know exactly where we are with the sale of the land.”

He said the agreement “is due to be signed, possibly in forthcoming weeks, although I am led to believe the number of homes has gone down.”

The leader said he “hadn’t got enough knowledge” to determine if he had been misled last summer but he remains emphatic he was inadequately briefed.

He had not been involved in pre-cabinet discussions to sell the land and was only briefed at the last moment.

Cllr Clark said he explained to officers that he would be “minded to approve” the transaction last August but because of his holiday commitment and not being able to take part in the debate at cabinet on August 29, he decided to quit soon after returning.

He now intends to allow the chairman of overview and scrutiny committee to attend a forthcoming cabinet meeting to re-evaluate the proposals for the Nene site.

“Agreements will be drawn at that meeting whether we accept it or it goes back to cabinet,” he said. “At this time I have no reason to think the deal will not go through.”

Circle Anglia has looked at an adjoining Nene site owned by Transco which cabinet has been told is contaminated but could be made suitable for another 22 homes.

However officers say Transco is “very reluctant to reduce the value of the land to reflect the remediation works required”.

1 comment

  • Just do something with the damned eyesore, even if it has to be given away. This has been too long now and has added to the feel and reputation of the down of being degenerate.

    Report this comment

    Fen Frank

    Saturday, May 24, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

More news stories

Yesterday, 16:47
Pc David Littlemore. Picture: John O'Reilly.

Two policemen who assaulted a partially sighted man as he sat on a park bench with his dog in Peterborough narrowly escaped going to prison today.

Yesterday, 17:35
Play day at Wisbech

Join in a free family fun day when an adventure playground at Wisbech celebrates National Play Day.

Yesterday, 15:24
Mohammed Ahmed Miah.

A gang of fraudsters who swindled elderly and vulnerable victims across the country - including in Elm and March - out of £177,000 by claiming to be police officers have been jailed for a total of more than 10 years.

Yesterday, 15:02
Andrew Mattless helped run Wisbech Sea Cadets

A Wisbech paedophile who worked with young people in the town for three years without a police check, is among 101 people taken to court since David Cameron announced a crackdown on child porn.

Most read stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Wisbech Standard e-edition today E-edition