Inquiry to settle waterfront future

PUBLISHED: 13:30 08 September 2006 | UPDATED: 19:48 01 June 2010

A MULTI-million pound battle to acquire the rest of the land needed for the £50 million regeneration of the Nene Waterfront, Wisbech, is to be settled at a public inquiry. The Government Office for the East of England confirmed this week that an inquiry w

A MULTI-million pound battle to acquire the rest of the land needed for the £50 million regeneration of the Nene Waterfront, Wisbech, is to be settled at a public inquiry.

The Government Office for the East of England confirmed this week that an inquiry would go ahead - sometime within the next five months, and possibly even later this year.

It will settle, once and for all, the arguments over the extent of contamination on parts of the land needed for the development, and the costs involved in remediating the sites.

Fenland District Council has recently published a draft order to compulsory acquire large tracts of land needed for the 375 flats and houses, restaurants, yacht club, business centre and car parking to be built there.

Objections to the compulsory purchase orders have been lodged with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who has now decided it should be resolved at a public inquiry.

Land owner Malcolm Starr is one of those who objected to the CPO but it is not known how many other companies or individuals believe their site values have been under stated.

Although Mr Starr was not commenting publicly this week on the forthcoming inquiry, it is believed he may commission further expert evidence to challenge the council's figures.

Legal advisers to some of the landowners affected believe the remedial costs figures being applied by Fenland council "seem excessively high, even taking into account the nature of the previous uses of the land."

It is not a foregone conclusion that the Government appointed inspector will confirm the CPOs. Only last month, an inspector refused to allow a local council in Blackburn to proceed with a CPO for 150 affordable homes, even though 90 per cent of the land had been acquired voluntarily.

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