Coun­cil to ap­peal its own de­ci­sion and tax­pay­ers will pick up the cost

A plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion sub­mit­ted by a de­vel­oper half owned by Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil was re­jected by the au­thor­ity’s own plan­ning com­mit­tee. Now, Medesham Homes is chal­leng­ing the de­ci­sion, but res­i­dents ‘ap­palled’ by the plans hope to strike a se­cond

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - NEWS - By Rob Alexan­der Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­port­ing Ser­vice robert.alexan­[email protected]­me­dia.co.uk

Res­i­dents fight­ing to save a piece of pro­tected land have vowed to fight on de­spite Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil lodg­ing a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion ap­peal that could end up cost­ing tax­pay­ers hun­dreds of thou­sands of pounds.

Ten­ter Hill Meadow, north of This­tle Drive in Stan­ground, was gifted to the peo­ple of Peter­bor­ough many decades ago on the un­der­stand­ing that it was to have been ‘pro­tected and main­tained’ as an open space by the city coun­cil.

But the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion by de­vel­op­ers Medesham Homes for 20 flats to be built di­rectly threat­ens this.

When it came be­fore the coun­cil’s plan­ning com­mit­tee in early No­vem­ber the ap­pli­ca­tion was re­fused on the ba­sis that the pro­posal would re­sult in the loss of the only piece of open space that was avail­able within the ward – a ward al­ready crit­i­cally de­fi­cient in open spa­ces – and there­fore con­trary to the gov­ern­ment’s own Na­tional Plan­ning Pol­icy Frame­work.

At the time of the plan­ning re­fusal the coun­cil in­di­cated that Medesham Homes might ap­peal the de­ci­sion through its agents.

The irony is that Medesham Homes is a de­vel­op­ment com­pany half owned by the coun­cil – there­fore, the au­thor­ity would ef­fec­tively be ap­peal­ing against it­self.

That ap­peal has now been lodged (at an ini­tial cost of £2,000 of tax­pay­ers’ money), and when it comes to court could po­ten­tially cost hun­dreds of thou­sands of pounds ac­cord­ing to cam­paign­ers.

The res­i­dents who con­tested the orig­i­nal ap­pli­ca­tion did so on the ba­sis that they be­lieved the coun­cil had an obli­ga­tion, through an an­cient agree­ment, ‘to pro­tect the land in per­pe­tu­ity, for the peo­ple of Peter­bor­ough’ and that obli­ga­tion had now been bro­ken.

The res­i­dents’ ac­tion group Save Ten­ter Hill Meadow has be­gun to fight the ap­peal by gath­er­ing names on a pe­ti­tion which will be pre­sented to the next full coun­cil meet­ing on Jan­uary 23.

Pat Cor­co­ran lives ad­ja­cent to the land and is an or­gan­iser of the ac­tion group.

She said: “We be­lieve that the Peter­bor­ough city coun­cil­lors who also sit on the board of Medesham Homes should be press­ing for them not to ap­peal this de­ci­sion at a cost of many thou­sands of pounds to lo­cal tax­pay­ers, and in­stead di­rect the com­pany’s ef­forts else­where.

“I’ve spo­ken to sim­i­lar ac­tion groups in Lon­don, and they tell me that ap­peals of this na­ture can cost up­wards of £250,000 – that could be a quar­ter of a mil­lion pounds of Peter­bor­ough tax­pay­ers’ money the coun­cil are propos­ing to spend fight­ing against them­selves in court. It is sim­ply ridicu­lous.

“The roads and laneways around Ten­ter Hill Meadow are very nar­row, and at times barely wide enough for a bi­cy­cle, let alone cars, vans and trucks, and yet these 20 flats would re­sult in a huge num­ber of ad­di­tional ve­hi­cle move­ments ev­ery morn­ing, day and even­ing that the lo­cal lanes sim­ply can­not cope with. In ad­di­tion, this land, which was gifted to the peo­ple of Peter­bor­ough more than 60 years ago, is the only piece of open space any­where around here.”

Mrs Cor­co­ran said the Scouts which have their hut next to the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment would “lose all of their out­door ac­tiv­ity area, vi­tal to their en­joy­ment and learn­ing”.

She added that there is a “huge abun­dance of en­dan­gered wildlife in the area”.

Mrs Cor­co­ran stated: “Are the city coun­cil and Medesham Homes re­ally pre­pared to com­pletely de­stroy a wildlife wilder­ness for just 20 flats? I hope not.

“This is the only open space for our chil­dren and fam­i­lies to use.

“Aren’t we al­ways be­ing told that our chil­dren need out­door ex­er­cise to lose weight?”

The ac­tion group, with help from ward coun­cil­lors Chris­tian Hogg and James Lil­lis (Lib­eral Demo­crat) and John Whitby (UKIP,) have cre­ated a web­site (www.saveten­ter­hill.org.uk) where a pe­ti­tion can be signed and more in­for­ma­tion viewed.

Cllr Hogg said: “We were ap­proached by the lo­cal res­i­dents and asked for le­gal ad­vice and help in re­spect of the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion ap­peal by Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil and Medesham Homes, and even though we are city coun­cil­lors our­selves, we feel that this par­tic­u­lar piece of land should be saved from the de­vel­op­ers.

“I also find it ironic that Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil are pre­pared to spend enor­mous amounts of pub­lic money to fund both sides of the court chal­lenge be­cause of their half-share in­ter­est in Medesham Homes.

“Now that sim­ply can­not be right.”

“Ap­peals of this na­ture can cost up­wards of £250,000.”

Res­i­dents protest­ing against the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment

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