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Following representation from local councillors and residents I am today launching a petition against a proposed planning application for a residential development in the Showfields area of Whittlesey. More than 300 people attended a public meeting on the issue to voice their concerns. When asked by the Chairperson if they were in favour of the proposed development, I understand that no one voiced their support. It is important that we allow our towns to grow, but this must be through appropriate channels. The area proposed for this development is already prone to flooding and suffers from traffic congestion. Below a list of objections is set out. You can sign the petition here.
The risk of flooding
The area proposed for development is prone to flooding. Although the Environment Agency and Drainage Boards state that they both manage water to the North of Whittlesey, they are not statutory consultees in the planning process. Whilst work is being done to strengthen the South Barrier Bank to maintain its structural stability, the work is not guaranteed to stop current flooding, but rather to manage it. The impact of flooding can be aggravated by the growth of built developments, which increases the rate and volume of run-off. The Environment Agency has advised that there are 220 properties at risk of flooding and 1100 potentially at risk of flooding, located in the Delph and Bassenhally Wards. By permitting further development without any question, these properties and households will be at further risk, especially if developers continue to build their parcels of land up.
The roads around the proposed development, particularly those around Alderman Jacobs School, such as Otago Road, Otago Close, Whiteacres, Teal Road, Swan Road, Swan Close, Drybread Road and The Avenues, already deal with a large amount of traffic and road parking. When the B1040 is closed and the Whittlesey Washes are in flood, traffic has to be diverted onto the already congested A605. To add up to a further 500 vehicles to lead from the Birds Estate through Bassenhally Road to Cemetery Road, where there are numerous parked vehicles daily outside the Cemetery, or in the other direction to the Morton Fork crossroads risks bringing gridlock to the North of Whittlesey. This could also jeopardise the ability of emergency services to access the area.
The scheme also raises concerns from residents in terms of the impact on biodiversity and the wider impact on the landscape.