Development rules relaxed in the Fens - but the “bunny huggers” won’t like it, warns council leader
16:06 23 June 2011
Regulations governing new developments including the need for archaeological surveys are to be swept aside from July 1, a council leader announced last night.
"I don’t believe that Polar Bears will be floating down the Nene in my life time or indeed my children’s."
Conservation rules will be relaxed and development area boundaries will be a thing of the past, said Alan Melton, leader of Fenland council.
“Common sense will prevail,” he said at the 4th annual Cambs Times/Wisbech Standard/Fenland Council Building and Design Awards final, at Wisbech Boathouse.
“The bunny huggers won’t like this but if they wish to inspect a site, they can do it when the footings are being dug out.
“This will stop the stupid requirement of having to strip a whole site; after trenches have already criss- crossed the site. In some cases requiring the development to be constructed on piles or some other stabiliser, at a far greater un-recoverable cost.”
Developers in the Fens have complained bitterly for years over the soaring costs of archaeological surveys. Mr Melton said these would no longer form part of any committee agenda.
Tens of thousands of pounds spent on excavations at the Neale Wade Community College, March, sprang to mind, he said, and this was “money wasted, money that could have been spent on more classrooms or teachers”.
Any surveys “that are currently in the pipeline and that are not currently subject to litigation but are giving grief can be discarded - tomorrow morning.”
Relaxation of rules around sustainability and listed buildings still meant retaining a sustainable and practical approach.
“But we won’t dwell too much on the scriptures of the new religion,” said Mr Melton.
“I don’t believe the Polar Bears will be floating down the Nene in my life time or indeed my children’s.”
Mr Melton described communities who resist growth as Nimbys and said the council’s message was: “No growth equals no investment”.
He also told developers to expect more rigorous collection of section 106 development money but insisted the council would not pick up the bill for unfinished work on new developments and would be imposing tough bonding arrangements.
Mr Melton said the council was determined to see the Fenland’s market towns grow and prosper.
“We will aim to provide between 11,000 and 16,000 homes, with job, retail and commercial opportunities,” he said.
“We will encourage all new development to be of high quality with high environmental standards, whilst at the same time ensuring that our local community thrives in terms of wealth, jobs, skills and education.”