Unrest at marina
PEOPLE living at Hartford Marina are still in limbo about whether or not they will be forced from their homes. Huntingdonshire District Council says it believes many people are living at the marina, which is supposed to be a holiday venue, all-year-round.
PEOPLE living at Hartford Marina are still in limbo about whether or not they will be forced from their homes.
Huntingdonshire District Council says it believes many people are living at the marina, which is supposed to be a holiday venue, all-year-round.
At a meeting on Monday evening, site owner Barry Perry told HDC he would do what he could to ensure the marina complies with regulations.
However, HDC may not allow permanent planning consent to be given and could use legal action to force out residents.
Dozens of residents living at the marina, many of them elderly, attended the development control panel meeting at HDC's Pathfinder House headquarters, in Huntingdon.
Addressing the panel, Mr Perry claimed HDC had not made it clear to him what he needed to do to establish the correct planning permission since drawing the matter to his attention last August.
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Mr Perry said there are 45 houseboats at the site and admitted that some of them are lived in all-year-round. He has previously claimed he did not believe houseboats need planning consent.
Planning officer Sandy Kinnersley said: "We are in the early fact-finding stages of this case. The issue is not the mooring of boats or houseboats but how they are occupied.
"We are working with individuals in their specific circumstances."
Panel members expressed sympathy for those living on the 15-hectare site at the marina, but insisted planning regulations must be enforced.
Cllr Jason Ablewhite said: "If there is a planning breach it needs to be investigated but we must not go bulling in and say 'everybody out'."
Cllr Jeff Dutton said: "Hartford Marina brings a lot of tourism to the area. We do not want to penalise everybody but we have to stick to planning regulations.
"I believe a softly-softly approach of going to see residents is the right way to go."
HDC head planner Steve Ingram said by living in holiday accommodation all-year-round, Hartford Marina residents were unfairly stretching nearby infrastructure.
"These permanent residents are making undue demands on the resources of the district," he said. "They have not been planned for."
Cllr Peter Bucknell said he was 'shocked' at how many homes were apparently in breach of planning conditions. Dealing with the significant case will have 'exceptional' implications for the resources of planning officers, HDC says.
* Do you live at Hartford Marina? Is HDC right to enforce planning regulations? E-mail your views to firstname.lastname@example.org, write to 30 High Street, Huntingdon PE29 3TB or contact the news desk on 01480 411481.