This is not just any planning application – this is a NSIPS planning application!
Most of us have had some experience of a planning application. Perhaps neighbours want to build an extension as a granny flat. They pop round to see you and discuss the plans over a cup of coffee. They explain how high it will be, where exactly it will be in relation to your house and what materials they are going to use. They will have had advice from South Cambs District Council (SCDC) Planning Department. You get the chance to ask lots of questions. When they put their plans in to SCDC, other people and bodies, such as the Parish Council and Highways, will be able to comment on the application. If the application is accepted by SCDC the building will go ahead exactly to the plans that were submitted and with which you were happy.
The proposed Application for the Sewage Works at Honey Hill is not like that. Anglian Water has applied for this to be a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIPS)1.
They don’t need to move the plant for operational reasons (it has plenty of capacity) so they cannot fund it through investment or increase the water rates. The funding, all £227 million of it, has to come from central government (our taxes)2.
NSIPS are judged by the Planning Inspectorate (PI), not by SCDC.
That means that Anglian Water has to prove to the PI that there is a “special need”. The move is driven by the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan (NECAAP)3 which includes 5600 dwellings and commercial property which it is intended to start building in 2028 and complete over 20 years. So instead of SCDC considering a planning application, the PI will consider the Development Consent Order (DCO). This is likely to be at the end of 2022.
Save Honey Hill campaign does not believe that the damage to a Green Belt site, with all the harm to the environment, traffic, safety issues and odour and the huge cost, is justified. The plant could stay where it is. There are other developments all over the Cambridge area which would meet the housing need and provide better quality than planned for the high density development at the core NECAAP.
We intend to fight the relocation to Honey Hill and object to the DCO.
Visit our What can you do page to find out how you can challenge this.
- AW – Phase 1 Consultation summary report p 15 https://cwwtpr.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/CWWTPR-Phase-One-Consultation-Summary-Report.pdf