WISBECH: Angry residents force delay in shock plans to sell off part of their back gardens

ANGRY residents have forced two neighbouring councils to agree to a three week delay over shock plans to sell off part of their back gardens. And they warned both Cambridgeshire County Council and Norfolk County Council to expect no co-operation over the

ANGRY residents have forced two neighbouring councils to agree to a three week delay over shock plans to sell off part of their back gardens.

And they warned both Cambridgeshire County Council and Norfolk County Council to expect no co-operation over the 0.9 acre land sale.

They spoke of their horror in last week's Standard after being informed the land- part of the Old Wisbech Canal in Elm Low Road - would be sold on May 1. Residents will use the time delay to argue their case to keep their gardens in tact.

A hastily summoned meeting on Monday, attended by Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Jill Tuck, failed to quell their protests.


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Residents' spokesman Malcolm Thomas said on Wednesday: "We agreed not to co-operate with the councils in selling the land as we feel that by enclosing the land and cultivating it for over 20 years we have already taken ownership of it."

The sale delay was agreed by both councils- who divided up the land during local government reorganisation 35 years ago-was announced at Monday's meeting which was attended by around 30 residents of both Elm Low and High roads.

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Cllr Tuck believed the meeting was "very constructive" and she said she was delighted to agree to the three week delay.

Cllr Tuck said both councils were prepared to consider any prior claims residents believe they have on the land.

Mr Thomas's wife Denise said: "The depth of feeling among people was amazing. The anger and frustration they feel was palpable."

Another resident, Ella Benstead, dismissed comments from Norfolk County Council that it had maintained the land.

"It is just a big joke," she said. "Until we started to take it over it was in a terrible state and was left derelict."

Residents feel the land already belongs to them and they should not have to buy it because of the provision of "adverse possession" and it has been fenced and maintained by them for more than 12 years.

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