Category: Press

Incredible new aerial photographs and video show off Wenny Road Meadow!

We’re very grateful to Steve File of for capturing a beautiful set of photographs of Wenny Meadow from above! The images were taken on 16th September 2021 and capture the meadow as it begins to shift into autumnal colours.

Steve has very kindly given us permission to share the photographs here, and for them to appear in print and online free of charge, but photographs must be attributed to when they are used.

In addition to the new photographs, Steve also captured drone footage of the meadow which can be seen on the Save Wenny Road Meadow facebook group.

“How can we have the kind of childhood you had when you grew up?”, Girl Guide asks town council as they express support for controversial meadow homes (press release with video)

Two Girl Guides called upon Chatteris Town Councillors to reject controversial plans to build on an historic meadow in Chatteris at the full meeting of the council on Tuesday 7th September. Developer Cannon Kirk is asking Fenland District Council for permission to build 93 homes on Chatteris’ former Manor Park, known locally as “Wenny Road Meadow”.

Evelyn and Scarlett, who are working on her campaigning badge, told councillors they had shared the news of the meadow with their fellow Girl Guides. Evelyn said her unit was “devastated to hear it will be built on”.

\During a passionate speech that she had written herself, Evelyn told councillors how she visits the meadow for running, picnics, and to play with her siblings in a horse chestnut tree that they refer to as “squirrel tree” – a place that she says holds many happy memories for her.

She revealed that her brothers’ class had recently visited the meadow to explore the wildlife there, pointing out that there is nowhere else in Chatteris where children can experience nature in this way.

Evelyn told councillors: “Children my age are told we spend too much time indoors and that we should get off our screens. Wenny Meadow is a safe place to do all the things we’re told we’re supposed to do. Climb trees, roll in the grass, have picnics, listen to birds, and find shapes in the clouds. There isn’t anywhere else like it in Chatteris where we can do all of these things.”

Concluding her speech, Evelyn asked councillors: “If you vote in favour of building on Wenny Meadow, how can we have the kind of childhood you had when you grew up? What will be left for children like me, and what will Chatteris have for children who are yet to be born, or who will move into the new houses that are already due to be built?”

Responding to Evelyn, Mayor Linda Ashley said her speech was “well written” and Cllr Julie Smith said it took a lot of courage.

Later in the meeting Cllr Alan Gowler, deputy chair of the council’s planning group, confirmed the town council’s decision to support the proposals. He said: “We support this application. We are happy with the design of the houses, and we look forward to the payment of the Section 106 funds being honoured so that the money can be used for the benefit of Chatteris residents. We would recommend that, instead of supplying play equipment on the development, we would prefer to see funds spent on enhancing the nearby Wenny Recreation Ground area as local councils are not prepared to take responsibility for further play areas in the town. We would also like to see the inclusion of swift bricks in the houses.

Campaigners are redoubling their efforts to persuade Fenland District Council, who will make the final decision on the application, to refuse planning permission for what they consider to be a unique area within the town.

After the meeting, Evelyn said: 

“I am a bit disappointed that the council didn’t even talk about the things I’d said in my speech. They thanked me for speaking and said my speech was well-written, but they didn’t talk about it at all. It was like they were impressed that I was there, but didn’t take me seriously because I am only a child.”

After the meeting, Scarlett said: 

“‘I’m really sad that the Town Council supported the application because I love Wenny Meadow. It’s somewhere that I enjoy taking my dog for walks and playing with my cousins.”

A spokesperson for the Save Wenny Road Meadow campaign said: 

“It is frustrating that the Town Council didn’t discuss such an important planning application in detail at a meeting that was open to the public, instead making a decision at a planning meeting behind closed doors.”

“We expected that councillors might discuss the contents of Evelyn’s speech, but instead the application was simply waved through. People often say that young people are not engaged with what’s going on in their local area. Evelyn isn’t old enough to sign our petition, and it isn’t clear whether children are able to comment on the planning application – even though they’re the ones who stand to lose the most from these proposals.”

“We’re concerned that the Town Council is pinning its hopes upon receiving Section 106 contributions from the developer, despite the proposed payment representing only £300 per dwelling and despite a history of developers later succeeding in asking Fenland District Council to further reduce or remove the Section 106 contribution requirement altogether. As well as failing to fight for the future of this special place in Chatteris, councillors are settling for a bad deal for residents in the process. The Section 106 payment of £28,000 should amount to over £700,000 according to the standards set out in the Fenland Local Plan for a development of this scale. How is a pitiful £300 contribution on a £400,000 house sufficient to support the planned growth of Chatteris, the size of which is already expected to increase by 27.5% with the Tithe Barn and Womb Farm developments alone?”

Chatteris residents demand new consultation on controversial Wenny Meadow homes (press release)

A planning application for 93 homes on the historic former Chatteris Manor Park, now known as Wenny Road Meadow, has been submitted to Fenland District Council by Cannon Kirk homes.

This is the first stage of a wider plan that will see 350 new homes built in the East of Chatteris, but the application only covers the 93 homes on the historic, tree-rich Wenny Road Meadow, with no guarantee that the 250 additional homes on adjacent land will ever materialise. The new plans also appear to increase the number of homes being built on the meadow from the indicative plans included in the Broad Concept Plan previously approved in 2017.

This new application follows recent decisions to grant planning permission for approximately 1,000 new homes at the Tithe Barn to the south of the town and 250 new homes at Womb Farm to the West, near “Jack’s” supermarket. These two developments alone will increase the number of houses in Chatteris by 27.5% in comparison to the number of households in the 2011 census.

In the planning statement accompanying their application, Cannon Kirk have referenced the public consultation carried out in July 2016. Local residents, who have formed the “Save Wenny Road Meadow” campaign group, are calling on Fenland District Council to uphold a decision made by the council’s planning committee, who had previously said a new public consultation must be held when a planning application for Wenny Road Meadow is brought forward. They point to the report approved by the planning committee in June 2017, which says “Further public consultation will be undertaken when a planning application is submitted.”

A spokesperson for the Save Wenny Road Meadow campaign group said:

“It is vital that Fenland District Council uphold the promise of a further public consultation – a commitment that was made in the report approved by Fenland District Council.”

“The public consultation relied upon by Cannon Kirk in this application is now more than five years old, and the context of this development has changed a great deal since 2016. Since then, more than 1,250 new homes have been given the green light by Fenland’s planners in just two of the largest developments, not to mention various infill developments and other developments on the edge of town.”

“Residents responding to the 2016 consultation were making their comments on the basis of 350 new homes being added to Chatteris, not 1,600. It seems appropriate that residents should be canvassed for their opinion on the plans with full knowledge of the scale of growth now planned for Chatteris, and we are sure that members of the planning committee would like up-to-date information about residents’ views when being asked to make a decision of this magnitude.”

“Wenny Road Meadow, which has been used by walkers for decades with the apparent implicit permission of the landowner, is one of the only remaining natural green spaces in Chatteris and by far the largest. It received the most nominations (33 out of 46 nominations in total) to become a designated “Local Green Space” during consultation for the emerging Fenland Local Plan. Countless residents discovered Wenny Road Meadow during lockdown, and events of the last 18 months provide an even more compelling reason to once again ask residents whether they believe that 93 new homes are the most appropriate use for this very special place.”