The new Planning Committee at East Cambridgeshire District Council yesterday (Wednesday 6th June) heard the latest developments regarding the actions taken so far by officers and options available for the future regarding Roswell Pits.
The members were told there had been no further work carried out at the site since mid May and that officers had served a Tree Preservation Order on Roswell Pits and a Planning Contravention Notice on the developer.
The Tree Preservation Order will protect the woodland at the Pits and the Planning Contravention Notice requests details from the developer of his plans for the site. It is a legal requirement he answers the questions in this Notice.
The report also outlined the concerns that some of the work that has been undertaken may require planning permission, and the unease of other bodies such as the RSPB, The Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency regarding the work already carried out.
Following meetings with the developer, officers believe they will be receiving planning applications in the near future for development on the Pits. Depending on the scale and nature of future development an Environmental Impact Assessment may be required.
Giles Hughes, Head of Planning and Economic Development at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “My officers have continued to move quickly to deal with the concerns over work at the Roswell Pits.
“Following our action and the recent audit which has taken place of the Pits by the RSPB, work has stopped at the site. However, we have received an urgent health and safety request from the developer to fill in the trench, which was dug on the site. We have accepted that this should be done urgently following further discussion with the developer.
“The Council, as the planning authority, can only deal with planning and related legislation. Other bodies such as Natural England and the Police have to deal with work affecting Sites of Special Scientific Interests or offences under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. We are working with these bodies to ensure we coordinate actions.
“We share the concerns of the residents of East Cambridgeshire regarding the development of any areas of natural beauty and we are working as fast as the planning law will allow to ensure we protect these areas for the future.”