The recommendations in this draft report are exactly the same as they were on 29th August; to refuse the combined Sainsbury Supermarket and Country Park application, to refuse the proposed business park and to approve the Tesco application. I am really disappointed by this and will be putting in some challenge about the reports, in particular about the role of localism in decisions like this, given these comments by the previous Planning Minister.
However, I still have a number of concerns about the proposed January meeting. Not least that I have my doubts it will happen, my suspicion is that there will be a legal challenge prior to it taking place (although I have no evidence to say this definitely will be the case).
From the very point that these applications descended into chaos I have made the case that Fenland District Council must consider Whittlesey people when they sort things out, to date I don't believe that has happened. Prior to January's meeting a couple of issues need to be thought about:
- How can anyone expect Whittlesey people to have confidence in any decision when they do not have a clue why what looked like a perfectly good and legal decision to approve a Sainsbury supermarket and country park is being revisited (and it needs to be stressed that on 29th August Planning Officers at Fenland District Council agreed that the reasons for appoval were good planning reasons)?
- Don't Whittlesey people have the right to know exactly what the sequence of events was between 29th August when the Tesco supermarket was refused and 19th September when it was so controversially approved? Unless this happens they cannot know that the situation has been properly and appropriately dealt with - and therefore they cannot have confidence that this fresh decision is going to be the open and and honest one that they expect and deserve. You only have to go and look a some of the comments on various internet forums and social media sites to realise that this is definitely not the case at the moment.
I suspect that this blog will again make uncomfortable reading for some, but I am only doing what I need to do, which is to make sure the interests of Whittlesey residents are considered in this process.