Haulier Tony Knowles refused permission by Fenland planners for new grain store in Manea Road, Wimblington

20th July 2017

Haulier Tony Knowles has been refused permission by Fenland Council to demolish outbuildings and an office in Manea Road, Wimblington, and erect a grain store of a size comparable to an existing vegetable store.

The council’s planning committee refused the application despite an impassioned plea by his agent, Peter Humphrey Associates, and the new store being supported by Wimblington Parish Council.

Conceding the building would “enable the expansion of an existing agricultural storage operation” that would create jobs and grow the local economy, councillors supported their officers who had recommended it for refusal.

“It is considered that the scale, layout and appearance of the development would harm the character and appearance of the area,” concluded an officers’ assessment.

The officers were also concerned about the proximity of the nearby Grade II listed church- although the parochial church council of St Peter fully supported the application conditional upon tree planting.

However the application also met opposition from Cambridgeshire County Council highways, concerned about “an intensification of vehicle movements at the junction” and the likelihood of more accidents occurring.

“No improved are proposed as part of the application which will reduce the risk to highway safety at this junction or the junction of the A141/Manea Road,” councillors were told.

The county highways said Mr Knowles did not appear to control sufficient land to provide adequate visibility at the site access.

Fenland’s own conservation team felt the impact of the mass of the grain store would be mitigated by a “robust planting scheme” but felt it would still “unduly encroach upon the setting of the church, particularly impacting on key views of the church looking east from Chapel Lane.

Officers noted that recent application at the site had been supported by the planning committee “in view of the economic benefit that the expansion would generate”.

Mr Humphrey argued that new store would “not only complete the existing site but will also significantly enhance the frontage which is currently unfinished.”

He also promised increased traffic movements would only occur in line with harvesting and would not be all year around.

In his application Mr Knowles said the site employed one person – it would have risen to two if the store went ahead.