WIMBLINGTON: Shock victory for Knowles as councillors vote for new depot in Manea Road
By ADAM LAZZARI FURIOUS village residents believe Fenland District Council officials will have blood on their hands if a fatality occurs as a result of an extension to a grain store at Wimblington. The council s planning committee went against recommendat
By ADAM LAZZARI
FURIOUS village residents believe Fenland District Council officials will have blood on their hands if a fatality occurs as a result of an extension to a grain store at Wimblington.
The council's planning committee went against recommendations made by the county council's highways officer and approved an application from businessman Tony Knowles to extend the grain storage building on Manea Road, Wimblington, at a meeting on Wednesday.
This will involve demolishing an existing building on the site and adding an additional 800 square metres of floor space and a change of use of two acres of land, currently used for grazing horses to form a yard for 10 heavy commercial vehicles.
The highway officer raised concerns about poor visibility along Manea Road to the east and said: "It is considered concerns regarding highway safety cannot be met, and that an intensification of traffic movements from the site onto the B1093 is unacceptable."
The council had received no objections from Wimblington Parish Council but five letters from residents..
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Mr Knowles' agents Peter Humphrey said: "We have worked with the council to resolve issues but our application has been hindered by the fact that the highways officer has taken two months to get back to us.
"We have carried out speed checks and found that, despite Manea Road having a national speed limit, cars travel at an average of between 26 and 40 miles per hour on the relevant part of it."
Councillor Alan Melton, Fenland District Council's open for business portfolio holder said: "This council has a responsibility to support business growth in Fenland and we face competition from Peterborough and Huntingdonshire.
"Mr Knowles has a reputation for investing money and providing employment in Fenland."
Jeremy Smith, who spoke on behalf of a group of Wimblington residents about concerns over road safety, said afterwards:
"The decision is totally incorrect. I think the council has put lives at risk. They have not taken into account the recent road traffic accidents that have been reported. There have been four accidents in a matter of weeks. The last reported, on August 3 was when a motorcycle collided with a Volvo car.
"Any loss of life or serious injury that may occur as a result of this is down to this council because they have not listened to logical sense.
"I will take this case up with the Ombudsman and will take this matter as far as I can."
Wimblington resident John Coady, who also spoke at the meeting, said afterwards: "In 16 years of living in Wimblington this is the craziest decision I have ever come across.