On 6 July 2007 Mr Tyrrell, the new owner of the largest pit, applied to East Cambridgeshire District Council for a Certificate of Lawfulness which, if granted, will allow him to carry out extensive work and moor unspecified numbers of motor boats without planning permission.
A Certificate of Lawfulness is a strange device and unlike a Planning Application is not subject to public objections or comments. The decision is made by East Cambridgeshire District Council planners and lawyers, who will judge the application (within eight weeks of receipt) solely on its legal merits and not on the impact of the proposed development.
The application covers a dozen proposals that fall into two groups. The first set is about recreational use of motorized boats on the pit, and providing them with moorings along the bankside and on pontoons; the proposals are unclear about how many boats are involved. The second group of proposals concerns managing the land and water, and installing services, a tea hut, hard standing for a crane, car parking, fencing up to 2m high around the site, and putting an area of hardcore on the Site of Special Scientific Interest for the storage of plant and machinery.
We believe that these activities together entail a significant change of use for the site and that as such they should be subject to planning permission. We believe this change of use and the work itself will have permanent detrimental effects on the wildlife and amenity values of this special area. We also note that much of the work – trench-digging, laying of services, mooring of pontoons – has already been started. In our view a full planning application enabling everyone to see and comment on the full extent of Mr Tyrrell’s plans would have been a far better option. If you share any of our concerns please let your local councillors know.