VOICE OF THE FENS: Councils need to return to the drawing board and think again about this land sale

WE share the shock experienced by residents of Elm Low Road who woke to discover their back gardens were suddenly up for sale. Never mind, for a moment, the legalities of ownership the decision to drop vendor details through their letterboxes over the Eas

WE share the shock experienced by residents of Elm Low Road who woke to discover their back gardens were suddenly up for sale.

Never mind, for a moment, the legalities of ownership the decision to drop vendor details through their letterboxes over the Easter Holidays was a public relations disaster of gargantuan proportions.

The fact that the sale, a strip of land bordering Cambridgeshire and Norfolk and owned, jointly by both local authorities, was taking place at all adds to the insensitive nature of the proposed sale.

You may argue this piece of land, the site of the former Wisbech Canal, is hardly worth bothering about since and certainly for decades past no one has: even a peppercorn rent of �2 paid by one householder stopped 10-15 years ago.


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But cometh the hour, cometh the council, and in this instance the decision by both authorities to offer it up for sale and within a ridiculously short deadline for any neighbours hoping to band together to make an offer for it.

Councillor Jill Tuck, Cambridgeshire County Council Leader, is to be congratulated for using her initiative to meet residents 72 hours after our front page story highlighted the issue, but even her timely intervention did assuage the ill temper that the proposed sale has aroused.

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Our best advice to both councils is a return to the drawing board and to think again about how best to bring forward a sale of this land, if indeed there still believe any merit exists in such a damnable proposition.

Why not offer residents ownership of the land for a peppercorn rent of �2 a year, and leases for 99 years, with each party to pay their respective legal costs?

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