But, having listened to the voice of members, the most recent draft report for the supermarket applications (and it was a draft - so subject to change) has made the same observation - that there is no recognised need for open space in Whittlesey.
A few years ago Fenland carried out an audit of open space in the District as part of its first attempt at updating planning policy. I managed to get a copy of that report a few weeks ago and made reading it of my Christmas tasks. The contents of that report, in my view, have to be give some weight in the planning considerations, not least because it is far more up to date than the District Wide Local Plan we are currently working to (and that also recognises a need for more open space).
Having read that report, I remain baffled about the lack of weight given to the opportunity for a country park. Here is the most telling line from that audit:
"Whittlesey has a shortfall of 1.82ha of Public Open Space representing a 6% deficit ofThe report also makes the case that Whittlesey is the only one of the four Fenland Market Towns that has a deficit in terms of children's play areas (although all of the other market Towns have a green space deficit).
what should ideally be provided according to policy recommendations."
The audit also makes an attempt to look forwards and predicts, based on a future population growth of just 790, that the deficit will rise to 3.71 Hectares (the current core strategy suggests 1100 houses which means that the open space deficit will increase to a much higher figure).
I am going to suggest that Fenland District Council revisit this audit as part of their work on the Core Strategy (the updated planning policy for the District) because it makes some very hard-hitting points about the need for more green space across the whole of Fenland (for example March has a deficit for outdoor sport of some 19.61 Hectares, rising to 26.60 Hectares in 2021). It is clear to me that we need to be given more thought to the fact that open space is yet another important infrastructure issue for the area.
But, in terms of Whittlesey, this report provides even more evidence to support the fact that there is a need for a Country Park.