Cambridge Friends of the Earth Enviroment Hustings 11th June 2024

Cambridge Friends of the Earth organised the Cambridge Hustings on Tuesday 11th June 2024. The event was sold out with 212 attendees.

Save Honey Hill attended and asked the panel:

“The proposed new sewage works at Honey Hill between Fen Ditton and Horningsea, if allowed to go ahead, will be at least the size of Wembley Stadium; the carbon cost of demolishing the old site, of pouring millions of tonnes of concrete on a principal chalk aquifer, of pumping sewage uphill to Honey Hill etc. is immeasurable and as yet unquantified. Homes England has recently awarded Anglian Water an extra £50 million on top of the £227 million already granted, proof as if it was needed that funding issues exist and costs are already spiralling out of control.

If climate change should be at the heart of planning and new developments, can the panel agree that moving a fully functioning sewage works with capacity for the growing population of Cambridge to a principal chalk aquifer on green belt in order to create a brownfield site is a bonkers idea of the highest order?”

Save Honey Hill
Catherine from SHH getting enthusiastic applause for her question on Honey Hill (video from Antony Carpen)

There was rapturous applause from the audience and members of the panel. This was followed by many comments on social media.

The opening speeches from the panelists (via Antony Carpen)

Save Honey Hill on BBC Question Time

Save Honey Hill’s very own Catherine was on BBC Question Time last night.

BBC Question Time – 2nd May 2024 – iPlayer

When you get a ticket to be in the audience you can submit a question but not every question is asked. However, even though the time was overrunning Catherine managed to get a word in!

This exploded on X/twitter after the program which always has a strong following with the “#bbcqt” tag.

DCO Hearings – Livestreams of Issue Specific Hearing 4 and 5 now available to watch

The Planning Inspectors

The livestreams and transcripts of Issue Specific Hearing 4 (13/14th March 2024) and Issue Specific Hearing 5 (9th April 2024) have been published by the PINS and are now available to watch/read.

As with previous hearings, they were broken up into multiple sessions and each recording is of a single session. Also, as with all previous hearings, representatives from Save Honey Hill spent many long days preparing for these hearings and asked pertinent and probing questions throughout.

The Planning Inspectorate’s Examination Period ends on the 17th April and the final deadline for submissions is 23:59, 12th April 2024.

Issue Specific Hearing 4 (ISH4) 13/14 March 2024

ISH4 dealt with the draft Development Consent Order and environmental matters.

Issue Specific Hearing 5 (ISH5) 9 April 2024

ISH5 dealt with traffic and transport related matters.

Notes on Transcripts

“This document is intended to assist Interested Parties, it is not verbatim. The content is produced using artificial intelligence voice to text and is unedited. The video recording remains as the primary record of the event.”

Cambridge Independent: “River Cam supporters urge rethink by partners of Anglian Water during protest in Cambridge”

As reported by the Cambridge Independent during one of the days in the recent Hearings by the Planning Inspectorate Friends of the Cam and others made their voices heard outside the Hilton Hotel where the hearings were taking place.

In the article a spokesperson for the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service is quoted. Part of their statement refers to “8,350” homes coming from moving the sewage works.

“A North East Cambridge area action plan is being prepared by the councils for a significant new city district on this wider area that has identified potential for 8,350 homes and 15,000 jobs as well as supporting facilities.

This figure of 8,000 homes has been used across many newspaper articles recently but this is very misleading. The truth is, the emerging Local Plan which takes us to 2041, shows that the councils are only expecting to be able to build around 50% of that number1. We know, thanks to the Planning Inspectorate’s hearings, that around 1,500 of those 4,000 can be built now without moving the sewage works at all. Save Honey Hill argues that the balance of 2,500 is just not a big enough benefit to the public to justify the move of the sewage works – it is not good value for money coming from the public purse and is not the exceptional circumstance needed to permit building on Green Belt.

Post 2041, housing is already planned in other areas that will accommodate the shortfall.

Save Honey Hill argues that the balance of 2,500 homes is just not a big enough benefit to the public to justify the move of the sewage works

Save Honey Hill
  1. Greater Cambridge Shared Planning – Local Plan First Proposals []

DCO Hearings Live streams now available

The Planning Inspectors

The latest stage on Development Consent Order (DCO) application examination by the Planning Inspectorate was three days of hearings (9th-11th January 2023) at the Hilton in Cambridge. The Compulsory Acquisition hearing and two days of Specific Issue Hearings.

As can be seen from the sheer number of recordings below the three days were long and detailed. Well done to all who attended.

The hearings were reported on by the Cambridge Independent, Cambridge News and beyond including the BBC.

Day One – Compulsory Acquisition Orders (CAH1)

As a group, Save Honey Hill is not affected by compulsory acquistion but nonetheless we were able to raise some very important questions as to why Compulsory Purchase Orders are needed when there is no compelling case to relocate the current Waste Water Treatment plant.

Day two- Issue Specific Hearing 3 on Environmental Matters (ISH3)

On day two, the Inspectors concentrated in great detail on Traffic and Transport both for construction and operational traffic and the impact on Junction 34 and the associated roads, and on Waterbeach in relation to the Waterbeach pipeline. Yet again, there were discrepancies and omissions in the Applicant’s (Anglian Water) documents which have to be corrected or questions answered by the next deadline (D4) on 22 January. This subsequently means more work for Save Honey Hill, reading the answers and commenting where necessary. The Inspector emphasised that Anglian Water and National Highways, and in some instances, Cambridgeshire County Council Highways, must talk to each other.

Carbon was also discussed and again the Inspector had searching questions with further questions raised by Save Honey Hill.

Day three – Issue Specific Hearing 3 on Environmental Matters (ISH3)

On the third day, which lasted a marathon 10 hours, Save Honey Hill raised important issues around Ecology, Water Resources, including Flood Risk, Historic Environment, Landscape, visual and design, and Green Belt.  Save Honey Hill was able to refute some of the points made by the council officer, although these were not accepted by the Applicant’s KC.

Recordings and Transcripts of the hearings

The final session of the long Day three on the Greenbelt

The hearings were all streamed live and these recordings are now available on the Planning Inspectorate’s website and YouTube:

You can view these and livestreams of all past hearings on the Planning Inspectorate’s Examination Library.

Cambridge Independent: “Planning Inspectorate questions 8,000-home North East Cambridge plan as a benefit of sewage works move”

Planning Inspectorate questions 8,000-home North East Cambridge plan as a benefit of sewage works move

As part of the ongoing Development Consent Order (DCO) application examination by the Planning Inspectorate, this week (9th-11th January 2023) has seen the Compulsory Acquisition hearing and two days of Specific Issue Hearings by the Planning Inspectorate at the Hilton in Cambridge.

Attention – Are you an “Affected Person”?

Anglian Water – Development Consent Order update

The agenda for the Compulsory Acquisition Hearing on Tuesday, 9th January has been published on the National Infrastructure Planning Website (CAH 9 Jan Agenda).

It is worth checking because some residents in Horningsea, Fen Ditton and Waterbeach are included as “Affected Persons”.

All three documents are searchable.

The agenda was only published yesterday so you can still ask to attend the hearing, either in person or virtually, by phoning 0303 444 3201 or emailing CambridgeWWTPR@planninginspectorate.gov.uk.

“Joint statement from local leaders and the Combined Authority Mayor on Cambridge 2040 announcement”

The Mayor and other local leaders issued a statement on the 19th December 2023 about Rt Hon Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, updated plans for the Government’s ‘Cambridge 2040’ vision.

The Government’s vision for Cambridge includes proposals for “northwards” of 150,000 new homes around Cambridge as part of a major new expansion of the city.

“Joint statement from local leaders and the Combined Authority Mayor on Cambridge 2040 announcement”

Update on Development Consent Order (DCO) process.

Deadline 2: Written Representations submission

Wednesday 6th December was the second deadline of the Examination on the Planning inspectorate’s timetable. We submitted comments on the City, District and County councils’ Local Impact Reports, the three Councils’ responses to Inspectors’ questions, Anglian Water’s replies to the Inspectors’ questions, comments on Natural England and the Environment Agency’s responses to the Inspectors and their Written Representations. Our barrister reviewed some of the documents but most were on our knowledge of the local area and what it would mean for residents.

Save Honey Hill submitted comments on the following:

  • comments on City, County and District Councils’ responses to questions from the Examining Authority (ExA – the Planning Inspectors)
  • comments on the three Councils’ Local Impact Reports
  • comments on Natural England’s, and Environment Agency’s responses to ExA’s questions,
  • comments on NE’s Written Representation  
  • comments on Anglian Water’s responses to the ExA’s questions
  • comments on Funding and Development Arrangement (that will have to be answered by AW and Homes England)
  • comments on Errors and Omissions in the Planning Statement

All documents submitted are published on the National Infrastructure website. This usually takes a few days as there are lots of them from the Councils, Anglian Water and other organisations.

Deadline 3: Save Honey Hill’s response to questions on our submissions.

The next deadline was 18th December when the Inspectors asked more questions and Anglian Water, the Councils and other organisations responded to comments made.

We replied to amendments which SCDC and City Council had made to their Local Impact Reports (LIR), comments by Anglian Water and the two Councils on Save Honey Hill Written Representation and Anglian Water’s comments on the LIRs.

  • Response to SCDC City LIR Amendments REP-2053 and REP2-044
  • Response to SCDC City Response to Save Honey Hill Written Representation
  • Response to the Applicant’s Response to Written Representations AW 8.13 REP2-038
  • Comments on Applicant’s Response to LIRs REP2-036
  • Save Honey Hill submissions for Deadline 3 and Further Submissions

Next steps

In January there will be more questions from the Inspectors and possibly some Hearings which we will attend. 

The Inspectors will be making an Accompanied Site Inspection in January so we have asked them to visit all the areas in the village which would be affected by construction and operation if the relocation were to go ahead. So you might see them at Waterbeach Station Road and level crossing, Clayhithe, Horningsea and the B1047 and A14 Junction, Low Fen Drove, Honey Hill itself, High Ditch Road, Green End and Horningsea Road, Fen Ditton. A representative of SHH will join them but only to help with navigating – no-one is able to try to influence them at that stage. 

Once again Anglian Water graces the pages of Private Eye..

Private Eye report again on the debacle that is Anglian Water’s Development Consent Order (DCO) to relocate the Cambridge sewage works to unspoilt greenbelt between the villages of Horningsea and Fen Ditton.

We’ve written previously about about the DCO process and the hearings. Also about the “ticking off” referred to in the article and other criticisms that the Planning Inspectorate have made in response to Anglian Water’s application. At every stage, including representations and hearings, Save Honey Hill have responded to the Planning Inspectorate and we will continue to do so until the end. It is reassuring that we are seeing signs that the Planning Inspectors are taking note.