Council defends village over unwanted development


East Cambridgeshire District Council has successfully defended two planning decisions that were appealed against.

The applications, for the Land South of Main Street, Witchford and Land South and West of Nos 85 to 97 Main Street, Witchford were refused by the Council.

Following the refusals, the applicant appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, and the appeals were initially allowed, however, the Council challenged those decisions in Court, and won, meaning the two appeal approvals were quashed and had to be re-determined by the Planning Inspectorate.

The new Inspector has now gone with the Council’s original decision to refuse both proposals and has refused the appeals.

Councillor Anna Bailey, Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news for Witchford and its parish council, and is a testament to the hard work undertaken by local people to develop a robust neighbourhood plan, which helped enormously with defending our decision to refuse the two planning applications.

“The development of a neighbourhood plan takes a serious amount of work and the people of Witchford put in a tremendous amount of effort to get their plan to an adoptable standard.

“Over the past twelve months the District Council has fought tirelessly against attempts of speculative development in Witchford and has won at each stage of the decision-making process.

“What’s more, the Inspector, as part of his decision, confirming the Council’s position to demonstrate a Five-Year Housing Land Supply is one we are incredibly proud of and any further challenges to this position will be defended by the Council.

“The message is really very clear, we, as a Council have a duty to support our communities and defend villages from unwanted speculative applications. When we are required to do so, we are fully prepared to do everything in our power to demonstrate this.”

Witchford has been the subject of considerable speculative development proposals in recent years with the Council successfully defending several decisions for the village in 2020.

Witchford is one of three parishes located within East Cambridgeshire with an adopted Neighbourhood Plan.