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Senior Tory Peter Cresswell quits frustrated by East Cambridgeshire District Council's planning policy

Peter Cresswell will not be standing again - pictured in 2011
Peter Cresswell will not be standing again - pictured in 2011

A respected senior Conservative councillor has cited concerns over planning decisions as one of the reasons he will not be standing at next month’s district council elections.

Cllr Peter Cresswell, who is currently chairman of East Cambridgeshire District Council and has represented voters in the Cheveley ward for 12 years, said: “ I readily admit my appetite for politics has diminished.

“In bowing out, one of my concerns is the lack of appreciation by the planning decision-makers at the district councilthat the villages here in the south of the district are significantly different from other parts of East Cambridgeshire.”

Representing villages including Cheveley, Kirtling and Ashley, Cllr Cresswell has seen residents infuriated by what they believe to be speculative development which is changing the character of their communities.

“These are not just one or two houses but large developments and my concern is that these villages will be changed significantly because of over development,” he said. “And that would be a great shame.”

He said that for villages to expand there would have to be significant infrastructure improvements which had not been forthcoming.

I readily admit my appetite for politics has diminished"

“Although I accept that planning policies must be adhered to, frustration abounds amongst a number of the parish councils in the hinterland around Newmarket regarding the planning process,” said Cllr Cresswell. “On a positive note, the leader of the newly elected council will have the opportunity to refresh the membership of the planning committee. Their role will undoubtedly be vital in the years to come.”

The number of councillors on East Cambridgeshire Council is being reduced from 39 to 28, which willsee a change in some wards including the merger of the current Cheveley and Dullingham wards into the newly formed Wood Ditton ward, which will also incorporate Burrough Green.

“It has been a privilege to serve the residents of Cheveley ward for 12 years. The demands on district councillors have increased considerably and with the additional workload I have decided at the age of 72 to retire.”

Cllr Cresswell will remain chairman of the Parish Forum which he formed in 2015 until its next meeting on June 17 when new officers will be elected.“I hope it keeps going because its gives our parihes a voice,” he said.