Waterfront worries under the spotlight

PUBLISHED: 12:52 08 December 2006 | UPDATED: 19:53 01 June 2010

The derelict riverside area of Wisbech, earmarked for the massive Nene Waterfront Scheme

The derelict riverside area of Wisbech, earmarked for the massive Nene Waterfront Scheme

OBJECTORS to compulsory purchase orders for Wisbech s Nene Waterfront Scheme met representatives of Fenland District Council this week in a bid to defend their property. But the public inquiry was also the chance for the council to cross-examine objectors

OBJECTORS to compulsory purchase orders for Wisbech's Nene Waterfront Scheme met representatives of Fenland District Council this week in a bid to defend their property.

But the public inquiry was also the chance for the council to cross-examine objectors to the orders which are planned to facilitate the £50million regeneration project on land overlooking the river Nene.

Those attending on Tuesday, first day of the two-day hearing at Fenland Hall, were the Patel Brothers, who own Jack's Nightclub, Malcolm Starr, part-owner of the former gasworks site in Nene Parade, and trustees of Simon Smeeth, who object to orders set to be enforced on slipways.

The inquiry heard from Martin Edwards, lead lawyer for the council, how the Nene Waterfront order was one of the "most significant in the history of Fenland District Council".

And Gary Garford, the council's director for business infrastructure, told the inquiry: "It is considered the land is suitable for, and required to carry out the regeneration scheme, if the council believes the Nene Waterfront project will improve the well-being of the area."

Mr Garford also said that the redevelopment, just 400 or so metres away from the town centre, will bring greater economic, social and environmental well-being to the area.

"The project has secured the relevant funding, and there cannot be a stronger cause for public support for the improvement to be achieved," he said.

"The council is firmly in the view that there is a determining loss in the land, but that public benefit generated by the scheme will outweigh any loss."

Chartered planner Neil Holt, conducting the inquiry, will look at the evidence given by both the council and objectors to determine if the council can proceed with inheriting the land.

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