Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Thursday, 8th October, 2020 4.00 pm

Venue: Via Zoom Video Conferencing System

Contact: Linda Albon  Member Services and Governance Officer

No. Item

Councillor Boden welcomed members of the public and press watching the livestream of the Cabinet meeting via YouTube due to Government guidance on social distancing. The meeting was held in accordance with the provision set out in the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 and with Fenland District Council’s Virtual Meeting Protocol.



Previous Minutes pdf icon PDF 197 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held 8 September 2020.


The minutes of the meeting held 8 September 2020 were agreed.


Questions from Members of the Public in accordance with Procedure
Rule 9A. pdf icon PDF 262 KB

Question from Nick Dighton, Managing Director, Floorspan.


In accordance with Procedure Rule 9A, Nick Dighton, Managing Director of Floorspan, asked the following question.


“Over 20 years ago in 1998 as a one man band I stood in person before a similar Fenland District Council Committee to make my case for Planning Permission on 3/4 of an acre in Europa Way that I was negotiating to buy from FDC which, if granted, would enable me to move my fledgling business to Wisbech.


 I very much remember the kind and encouraging words of the Committee Chairman as he presided over a unanimous approval.


We now employ close to 100 people from a 6-acre operational site, in part facilitated by FDC through the sale of additional land and the granting of various Planning Permissions along the way. However, the existing site is at capacity and we need additional land to facilitate the next phase of the company’s growth.


We have been engaged with FDC through your Economic Development Officer for over 3.5 years now in an attempt to identify and purchase a suitable site, longer than the possibility of the incinerator project I imagine and this fact, combined with our demonstrable history with FDC, should undermine the suggestion that there is a connection. The latest setback in the form of a Motion to halt the sale of all land within 500mtrs of the proposed incinerator, proposed on the eve of the meeting at which the sale of the site was to be considered, is a bitter blow.


Anecdotally, we have heard that some members have imagined a connection between the project and Floorspan which does not exist. I want to make it absolutely clear to members that there is and never has been any connection between Floorspan and the incinerator project. An imaginary connection is simply fanciful and potentially very damaging to us and to FDC. 


The current economic conditions are unique and challenging but paradoxically in our opinion present a moment in time for an ambitious and forward-looking company. The Government are keen to support companies like us and are offering various incentives by way of encouragement.


I urge you to continue the support to us that you have shown in past years and demonstrate to the wider world that you really are “open for business”.


Your Standing Order requires that any presentation to this committee on such a crucial matter can only be in the form of a question. So on the basis of what has just been said my question is: ‘On what evidence is the justification for holding up and then refusing the sale of the land to Floorspan with all the added benefits to the Wisbech area really based and will you reconsider the earlier Motion to enable our expansion to proceed within the FDC area.” 


Councillor Boden thanked Nick Dighton for both his statement and question, saying that there is a confidential item on the agenda within which Cabinet would consider carefully everything that has been said. Councillor Boden added that when a  ...  view the full minutes text for item CAB22/19


Draft 6 Month Cabinet Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 116 KB

For information purposes.


Councillor Boden presented the Cabinet Forward Plan for information.


Proposed Disposal of Land (Confidential Item)

Members to consider and decide upon a request to dispose of land and the various options associated with that.



Members considered the confidential Proposed Disposal of Land report presented by Councillor Boden. 


Members made comments, asked questions and received responses.


Cabinet considered the report and RESOLVED to pursue Option 1 which was to retain the Land and the Additional Land and not to enter into any disposal or further negotiations at this time acknowledging the economic implications and strategic significance of the site. In conjunction with this, Cabinet requested that officers provide the organisation requesting the sale with ongoing assistance in identifying opportunities for expansion within the District.