Homes on the former Pike Textiles site in North End, Wisbech, are recommended for approval

A housing development on the site of Pike Textiles in Wisbech will be discussed at the next Fenland

A housing development on the site of Pike Textiles in Wisbech will be discussed at the next Fenland District Council planning committee. Image: Google Street View - Credit: Google Street View

More than five years after the application was submitted to planners, a development on the former site of Pike Textiles in Wisbech is up for discussion at Fenland District Council’s next planning committee meeting.

The council had threatened to withdraw the plans for the North End site as communication between the applicant had broken down and matters involving drainage had not been resolved.

But when officers sent a notice in November 2019 informing Ropemaker Properties the outline application could be removed from its register, correspondence resumed and the 21 homes are being recommended for approval.

While drainage issues have not been fully resolved with local flood risk assessors, the North End development is now being favoured because it’s a brownfield site and will offer affordable housing.

However the site itself is described as “reasonably flat” and “lies within Flood Zone 3” which is considered to be highest risk.

A report to planning committee councillors explains the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) at Cambridgeshire County Council is objecting to the scheme because it wants an “in principle agreement” from Anglian Water to discharge surface water into its system.

It also requires an assessment on “pre-development run-off rates”.

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“However this evidence deficit, when weighted against the policy benefits in delivering 21 residential units on this brownfield sustainable site, is accepted...”, says the report prepared for Wednesday’s meeting.

And it advises councillors add the LLFA’s requirements as conditions alongside the application’s approval.

Other issues, including nearby heritage, noise and air quality were considered not to have a detrimental impact.

Ropemaker Properties is the nominee holding company of the BP Pension Fund and first submitted outline plans for the site, close to the town’s Asda store, in December 2014.

The development will be made up of 12 one-bed flats and nine houses, and will also include affordable housing.

It is understood the application’s major delays were due to a third party being interested in the site, but the report says “that alternative proposal” did not “materialise”.

Pike Textile Display relocated from the North End site in June 2011. Operations are now located in Sandall Road, Wisbech.