"It has recently been reported in the national press that Michael Gove who has aspirations for our City along the lines of Silicon Valley and Boston, America, is seeking to supercharge development in our area. He said the city compared unfavourably with Boston - the US city and region that is home to a science cluster and some of the country's leading universities, such as Harvard and MIT. It has been suggested development could include up to 250,000 new homes prompting Anthony Browne, MP for South Cambridgeshire, to call the plans 'nonsense'. To put it in context: this would be five times the current number of dwellings in Cambridge City, twice the number currently in the City and South Cambs combined, the equivalent to 30 NECAAPS and 25 Waterbeach New Towns. At current building rates, 250,000 new homes would take 100 years to deliver. It will be very interesting to hear what the local councils make of these aspirations and where will the water will come from? In a government statement published yesterday, it talks about accelerating the sewage works relocation to unlock an entire new City quarter ie. NECAAP, but this is dependent on the success of the sewage works DCO application to relocate the works to Green Belt. Michael Gove's Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has stated that brownfield should be used for housing before Green Belt is taken and yet the irony of NECAAP is that a major piece of infrastructure is destined for Green Belt in order to serve up the required brownfield. NECAAP has yet to go to public consultation and there is certainly no guarantee it will see the light of day in its current form of high rise, high density housing. We are extremely concerned that if this DCO is granted, we could face the prospect of the sewage works being relocated to Green Belt only to find further down the road that the NECAAP development doesn't go ahead or changes in such a way that the move wasn't necessary."
North East Cambridge development plans come under fire from local campaign groups
Increasingly, more groups and Councillors are expressing their concerns about the overdevelopment of Cambridge, including the planned relocation of the sewage works to Honey Hill. Much concern has also been voiced about the draft Local Plan and the implications of the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan (NECAAP) redevelopment and housing (planned for the current sewage works site) and the environmental and general impact the overdevelopment of Cambridge will have on all of our lives.
“creative carbon accounting”
Green Party city councillor, Hannah Copley, has accused local authorities of “creative carbon accounting” in development plans for North East Cambridge1. Like us, Cllr Copley believes moving the sewage works is unnecessary and that the environmental consequences of doing so have not been properly assessed. Cllr Copley, who represents Abbey Ward, said: – “The North East Cambridge development can only go ahead if the sewage works moves, and the sewage works is only moving so that the land can be developed. These two projects are intrinsically linked…We need to include the entire lifetime carbon emissions of the destruction, rebuilding and relocation of the new sewage works”. She questions “The completely unnecessary destruction and rebuilding of the waste water treatment works, and the loss of Green Belt land… The Cambridge Green Belt is being dismantled piece by piece”2
“Many residents are shocked at the level of growth proposed…and the plan’s failure to consider the overall environmental capacity and climate change impact and the effect on the historic environment (built and natural) in a holistic way”
In response to the Local plan, Friends of the Earth, has accused the councils of “hypocrisy” … who “on the one hand spout bland platitudes about cutting carbon dioxide emissions and on the other, countenance further pouring of concrete, building of roads for ever increasing traffic levels and continual gnawing away at the Green Belt in a Local Plan that has anything but good wishes towards anything local”3. Wendy Blythe of FeCRA states “Many residents are shocked at the level of growth proposed…and the plan’s failure to consider the overall environmental capacity and climate change impact and the effect on the historic environment (built and natural) in a holistic way”.4 CPRE and Friends of the Cam have raised their concerns about the lack of water and space to support the level of housing growth suggested in the Local plan. CamDEAG warns “Cambridge is being exploited for financial gain”. Concern has also been expressed about flood risk and food supply5
“You’re introducing another 18,000 people to an area and the assumption is that they will go elsewhere for their cultural and leisure facilities.”
In the Cambridge Independent Newspaper6, Independent Cambridge City Councillor, Sam Davies, expresses her concern about the density of housing proposed and the lack of leisure and social amenity space on the NECAAP development, planned for the existing sewage works site in Milton. “You’re introducing another 18,000 people to an area and the assumption is that they will go elsewhere for their cultural and leisure facilities.” It is widely acknowledged that Milton Road is already at capacity and there is concern about the impact the increase in population in this area will have on our roads7. James Littlewood, Chief executive of Cambridge Past Present and Future, has expressed concerns about the potential impact of thousands of future residents on Milton Country Park. He has told councillors that not enough open space is allocated for future residents8. Councillor Anna Bradnam has also expressed her concerns over lack of sports and Faith facilities and a cemetery9
Concern has also been expressed by our MP Lucy Frazer10 and Councillors Claire Daunton11 and Anna Bradnam about access to the proposed new sewage works site at Honey Hill. All favour option three, a dedicated service from the layby on the A14 to the site. Anglian Water prefers Option 1, on Horningsea Road.
- NECAAP – North East Cambridge Area Action Plan
- CPRE – Campaign for the Protection of Rural England
- FeCRA – Federation of Cambridge Residents’ Associations
- CamDEAG – The Cambridge Doughnut Economics Action Group
- Written question to City Council Planning & Transport Scrutiny Committee, 114th Jan 2022
- Cambridge Independent Jan 12-Jan 18 2022 p9
- Cambridge Friends of the Earth Facebook page
- Cambridge Independent Jan 5-Jan 11 2022 p9
- Cambridge Independent Newspaper Jan 12th to 18th
- Lib Dem Flyer, November 2021
The public consultation run by Greater Cambridgeshire Shared Planning on the Local Plan ended on the 13th of December. The Local Plan (LP) is about all aspects of development in this area until 2041 and includes homes, jobs, biodiversity, infrastructure, wellbeing and social inclusion and climate change. The LP has been produced by Cambridge City Council and South Cambs District Council.
Save Honey Hill gave feedback to the consultation as did many groups around Cambridge.
Other organisations responses
Hands Off Cambridge’s Green Belt