Preparing for Anglian Water’s resubmission to the Planning Inspectorate

UPDATE: 2nd May 2023 Anglian Water have resubmitted their application.

Following Anglian Water’s Development Consent Order (DCO) application submission to the Planning Inspectorate, and the subsequent withdrawal, members of Save Honey Hill’s Strategy Team have been working with our barristers to prepare our response to Anglian Water’s resubmission of its application to the Planning Inspectorate

Thanks to the generosity of donors and three Parish Councils, a KC and her junior have advised on the main areas for objection. Despite not knowing the detail of Anglian Water’s application, we have been drafting Representations which we will update, again with advice from the barristers, if and when the Planning Inspectorate accepts the application at which time the final documents will be published. We understand from Anglian Water that there will be approximately 200 associated documents and about 100 of those will contain new information. So, there will continue to be a lot of work to do in responding to the application. Each team member is focusing on specific areas of objection which include:

  • that building on Green Belt is not acceptable under national or local Green Belt policies,
  • that support for the relocation in the adopted and emerging Local Plans is flawed and does not comply with the 2021 Minerals and Waste Local Plan,
  • that Cambridge housing and employment needs can be met without the relocation,
  • that the proposal will cause unnecessary carbon expenditure, both in its construction and in the demolition of the existing plant,
  • that the original site selection process was inadequate and Anglian Water did not consider retaining the plant at the current site.

Other issues include design, impact on the historic setting of Cambridge and the local conservation areas, odour mitigation, access and traffic management.

Save Honey Hill has made these objections clear in previous consultations and by setting them out in our Representations we want to be recognised by the Planning Inspectorate as a key Interested Party and thus have the opportunity to be present at hearings.

DCO Application on hold as Anglian Water withdraw their application.

You may have heard that Anglian Water has withdrawn its Development Consent Order (DCO) application for the relocation of the Wastewater Treatment Plant yesterday (22nd Feb 2023). They have informed the Planning Inspectors that they will resubmit.

There were a few minutes of elation in the village of Horningsea and Fen Ditton before we realised that this is not at all unusual in DCO Projects.

The withdrawal is probably in response to some queries from National Infrastructure and we fully expect Anglian Water to resubmit within a few weeks. So this will result in a delay before the Examination begins.

Anglian Water submitted a letter about the withdrawal.

This makes no difference to Save Honey Hill plans to make Relevant Representations as an Interested Party and to object to the project.

If you have any queries please contact us.

Press Release in response to Anglian Water’s application to the Planning Inspectorate

Save Honey Hill campaigners are primed and ready for action now that Anglian Water has submitted its application to shift its sewage works at Cowley Road less than a mile to Green Belt agricultural land between Horningsea and Fen Ditton (Honey Hill).

The application has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate despite Anglian Water stating many times that there is no operational need for it to move. With the support of Cambridge City Council, Anglian Water applied to the Housing Infrastructure Fund and was awarded £227 million of taxpayers’ money, thereby funding a private company’s brand new plant without it having to go to its shareholders for a penny.

Save Honey Hill campaigners, who continue to be encouraged by the legal advice and direction they receive thanks to the generous donations of supporters, are currently preparing their responses even though they will have to wait to see the application in its entirety if and when the Planning Inspectorate accepts it within the next 28 days.

A Save Honey Hill representative says, “We have been preparing for this moment for the last three years and if this application is accepted by the Planning Inspector, we will be ready. Our commitment to fight this project and protect the precious, vulnerable countryside around Cambridge, its ‘green lung’, has not waned. The proposed site at Honey Hill is valuable agricultural land which currently makes a contribution to our country’s food security.

“The virulent expansion of Cambridge is seemingly going unchecked with little consideration given to the huge carbon cost of moving a major part of infrastructure such a short distance and with no operational gain

Save Honey Hill

“The virulent expansion of Cambridge is seemingly going unchecked with little consideration given to the huge carbon cost of moving a major part of infrastructure such a short distance and with no operational gain. We believe this project flies in the face of national planning policy and is a gross misuse of public money at a time of great economical fragility for our country.”

“Of course our villages don’t want this building project to go ahead with the associated impact on our communities of four years worth of construction traffic and other associated side effects. But we could accept it a whole lot better if we were getting something that was an improvement on what Cambridge already has. The site at Honey Hill is such a sensitive one in terms of setting and proximity to conservation areas and sites of significance, both scientific and historical. It will be there for all to see from all directions and yet the design of the plant is underwhelming to say the least. If this move really is as necessary as we are led to believe then why isn’t Cambridge being given cutting edge, state of the art and something to be proud of?”

If this move really is as necessary as we are led to believe then why isn’t Cambridge being given cutting edge, state of the art and something to be proud of?”

Save Honey Hill

In response to Anglian Water’s claims that the new ‘flagship’ waste water treatment plant will enable it to continue to provide vital waste water services to customers across Cambridge and the surrounding area that will be resilient and adaptable for future growth, Save Honey Hill say that the fact is capacity at the existing plant already allows for this – the site was ‘future-proofed’ less than 10 years ago at a cost of £21 million and has the room it needs to expand if necessary. 

The Planning Inspectorate now has 28 days to decide if it will accept the application for examination at which time the submission documents will be published and anyone will be able to register an interest to comment on the application at water-treatment-plant-relocation/

Save Honey Hill Group

Save Honey Hill is a community group formed to reject the proposal to relocate Cambridge’s sewage treatment works from Cowley Road, Milton to Honey Hill, valuable agricultural land in Green Belt between the villages of Horningsea and Fen Ditton. Save Honey Hill objectors are against the relocation of the plant in principle. However, they also insist that if it is to be sited at Honey Hill the impact on neighbouring communities should be absolutely minimised.

Cambridge Waste Water Treatment Plant Relocation (CWWTPR)

Cambridge Waste Water Relocation Project (CWWTPR) is Anglian Water’s proposal to relocate Cambridge’s fully-functioning sewage works to Cambridge Green Belt just between the villages of Horningsea and Fen Ditton. With the support of Cambridge City Council, Anglian Water applied for £227 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) to pay for the relocation, the sole aim being to develop the vacated brownfield site for housing and commercial space as part of the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan (NECAAP).

Save Honey Hill, 2 February 2023

Estimated timetable for Anglian Water’s DCO application for the relocation of the Cambridge Sewage Works CWWTPR) to Greenbelt

Below are the likely dates of the DCO Application and Examinations programme. This timetable is Save Honey Hill’s estimation based on what Anglian Water and the Planning Inspectorate have said so far. However, the dates are entirely dependent on Anglian Water’s submission and on what the Planning Inspectorate does subsequently.

UPDATE 31st Jan 2023: Anglian Water have just put their application in. The hard work starts!

Update: 23rd Feb 2023: Anglian Water have withdrawn their application. We do not know why, but this is normal for DCO applications and we fully expect it to be resubmitted at some point. So the dates below are all incorrect.

Update: May 2, 2023 : Anglian Water have resubmitted their DCO application. The timetable starts afresh! The dates below will be updated when we learn more.

AW submits DCO application 31st January 2023
Application accepted by PINS and documents published early March 2023
Register as interested party and make relevant representation likely by end April 2023
Preliminary meeting and examination timetable published likely in June 2023
DCO timetable

Examination will include:

Written representation submission probably September 2023
Hearings (Open floor, issue specific and compulsory acquisition) probably October 2023 to December 2023
Site inspectionsprobably October 2023 to January 2024
Examination completedFebruary 2024
Examining authority report submitted July 2024
Examination timetable

The Secretary of State DEFRA then has six months in which to make a decision

Anglian Water is required to advertise that they have submitted the Application in local newspapers and the timetable is set be the Principal Inspector.

We will endeavour to keep this page updated if there are any significant changes to the timetable.

Please do register for our newsletter if you want to be updated.

Screenshot 2023 01 31 at 15 04 00

What you can do now

The main process will start when the Planning Inspectorate accepts the application (28 days after submission). However, you can sign up for updates now.

Sign up for updates (now).

– Register as an Interested Party (once the application is accepted).

– Send in a Relevant Representation (once you are accepted as an Interested Party).

Full and clear constructions are on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.

Donate now to stop a crime against our planet

Right under our noses, a Crime against our environment is taking place. Anglian Water is preparing an application to move a fully-functioning sewage works less than a mile to a new location on arable farmland in the Green Belt at Honey Hill between the villages of Fen Ditton, Horningsea and Quy. They are doing this with £227 million of public money too1. Save Honey Hill will challenge this application and need legal advice in its preparation and legal representation. Save Honey Hill need £50,000 to cover the cost of the required legal expertise.

This is our last chance to stop the relocation. Please donate whatever you can (no amount is too small):

£13k raised. £27k to go!
  1. HIF Award of £227 to unlock 9000 homes – Chancellors Autumn 2020 Statement/Spending Review p38 []