Homes plan for Fen village is a wash-out

Applicant wanting to build on former water treatment site at Murrow. Pict

Illustrations submitted by applicant wanting to build on former water treatment site at Murrow. Picture; FDC PLANNING PORTAL - Credit: Archant

A Government inspector dampened the ambition of a woman who wanted to build a house on a former water treatment works that was sold at auction by Fenland Council for £8,000. 

The council sold it at a knockdown price after concluding it had no potential for building. 

But others felt differently – including Mrs G Beacham of Chatteris, on behalf of the buyers,  

She tried, unsuccessfully, on two occasions to win the council over with an application for a two-storey home on The Pigeons Murrow, site. 

On September 21, a government appointed inspector, E Brownless, visited the site, heard the evidence, and has now issued his findings. 

And he backed the council’s to refuse permission.  

He accepted that “inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding should be avoided”. 

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And other sites in Murrow were available for housing.  

Mr Brownless said he had been provided with an update by Mrs Beacham that other sites were no longer available. 

"I have had regard to the Rightmove document provided in support of this matter,” he said. 

“However, rather than providing justification for the appeal scheme, this simply points to there being no active marketing of any sites within Murrow upon one selling portal.  

“In my view, it does not clearly demonstrate that there are no alternative sites available to accommodate the development.” 

Mr Brownless said the planning framework sets strict tests to protect people and property “from all sources of flooding”, 

And that where these tests are not met new development should not be allowed.  

“Overall, the reasons presented by the appellant do not justify discounting available sites that could accommodate the proposed development with a lower risk of flooding,” he said. 

He also dismissed the argument that an extra home woud contribute to housing need. 

"The benefits to be attributed to one dwelling would be limited,” he said. 

“The appeal scheme would conflict with the provisions of the development plan and national planning policy.  

“This is a matter to which I attribute substantial weight.  

“There are no material considerations that indicate a decision should be made otherwise than in accordance with the development plan.” 

Fenland Council leader Chris Boden has always maintained they were “not short changed” when selling it