ECDC Planners Reject New Town ‘Mereham’

Image: Mereham - Town's End Village

In a widely expected move, ECDC Planning Committee rejected the planning application by Multiplex Stannifer to build the 5000+ homes and 8000 sq.m of retail development on land adjacent to the A10 between Stretham and Wilburton (full details below).

The New Town (illustrations confirm the influence of the Simpsons hometown of Springfield), to be called Mereham, which will be made up of 5 neighbourhoods (Red Hill Park, Snoot’s Common, Brook End, Town’s End Village & Low Fen Village) has provoked outrage from village communities living close to the proposed site worried that the infrastructure won’t sustain a development of this size and that it would have a detrimental affect to the rural life these communities live. Action groups such as the ‘Wilburton Action Group Oppose New Settlement’ (Wagons) have attracted wide media attention, Carol Massey, of Wagons, voiced her concerns: ‘Our children are able to enjoy idyllic childhoods playing in fields and enjoy a rural way of life. If this went ahead it would ruin Wilburton for future generations’. Placcards seen at a recent meeting proclaimed ‘We Say No To SATANnifer’ and ‘Mereham Means Mayhem’.

This development will destroy the local area and tear apart the ancient villages that have been loved for many centuries

With feelings running so high Cambridgeshire County Councillors had written to East Cambridgeshire planners urging them to turn the proposals down as the plans were unacceptable and posed a major road safety risk. Leading campaigner and County Councillor William Hunt, Local Member for Haddenham, including Wilburton wrote: ‘This development will destroy the local area and tear apart the ancient villages that have been loved for many centuries. The infrastructure cannot cope, crime will increase and the residents do not want it. Future generations will never forgive any official or elected member who does not reject this application and finish the idea for good.’

Image: Artists Impression of Mereham

South Cambs District Council had already turned down a highways improvements application to improve the A10 between A14 Milton Junction and River Great Ouse In the Parishes of Milton, Landbeach and Waterbeach. There were also major concerns the plan to widen the busy A10 from a seven-metre single carriageway to 10 metre width. Safety experts claimed that the widening could encourage dangerous overtaking into oncoming traffic, they also wanted to replace the Jane Coston bridge on the A10 with a bus and foot/cycle bridge. Cambridge County Council also objected to both applications.

Image: Ely Cathedral

The site would detract from the economic development of Ely

Eleven district councillors voted to reject the plan, one of the councillors, Fiona McKay-Rae, commented: ‘This plan breaks all the rules and if it were to go through it would cause catastrophic implications for hundreds of people.’ The Council also were also concerned the site would detract from the economic development of Ely. To get a real sense of the enormity of this development you can view an ariel photograph here.

Multiplex Stannifer have appealed against the decision and although bruised are ready to step-up their campaign to win over public support for Mereham.

Alan Paterson, for Multiplex Stannifer concluded, ‘We are not deterred at all by this decision, because we believe the case for Mereham will stand up to independent scrutiny. In due course, our plans are to submit an appeal where the merits and demerits of our case can be examined at a public inquiry. In the meantime, we will continue to discuss our proposals with local people and interested organisations.’

Image: Artists Impression of Mereham

The Mereham Planning Application

The Planning Application: Outline application for new settlement comprising up to approx. 5,000 homes, up to approx. 8,000 sq.m retail & related uses (including foodstore of approx. 2,500 sq.m, comparison retail of approx. 4,000 sq.m & A2/A3/A4/A5 uses of approx. 1,500 sq.m); up to approx. 45,000 sq.m employment uses (Bl, B2 & B8); & supporting leisure, community & education uses; & infrastructure including highway works to the A10.

The Location: Proposed Mereham Development South Of A1123, West Of A10, East Of Twentypence Road & North Of Great Ouse Between Stretham & Wilburton Cambridgeshire 05/01116/OUM.

The Mereham Design Statement: This is a highly detailed outline of the proposals for Mereham (5mb). View the PDF here*.
You can also visit the official Mereham website here.

Letter from ECDC to Cambridgeshire Local Access Forum: Letter with details of location and the planning application (43kb). View the PDF here*.

* Right click link to download or click link to open in your browser.

3 replies
  1. Jane Wheatley
    Jane Wheatley says:

    What amazes me about this totally absurd proposal is that the development was to be located on the low lying drained Fen, not on the high ground used by our ancesters! Has all sense gone from developers and planners? This housing was also meant to be affordable – how can buildings built on rafts or stilts be affordable? Or were developers really going to build on unstable agriculture groud with ‘a wing and a prayer’ and watch the buildings sink gracefully into the Fen? The lowest intelligent among us can note that building in this area is on ‘the islands’. Better by far to create a reservoir, which we most certainly need right now and will need even more with all the proposed ‘new build’. So far we continue to send all the water from Bedford straight down the Bedford Levels not 2two thousand miles away from this extraordinary and I hope defunct proposal – lets have some joined up thinking please and some sense!

  2. Jaye Burd
    Jaye Burd says:

    I feel that developers need the convienence of, fast action mutilation, earning millions. Environmental destruction, worth its weight in gold. A toy town of broken promises.Local paranoid fear.
    Wheres the love and appreciation for our children.

  3. Tom
    Tom says:

    I think the next generation as well as the current would do better to get something from all this talk of a new village.
    Why not have a sports center or snooker club? Something for all the teenagers who arent old enough to go in the pub, those are the years everyone gets into trouble because there is f**k all to do – another reason why most of village youths sit about smoking pot.

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