IT’S CRAP by the Save Honey Hill Community Choir from Cambridge

We, the Save Honey Hill Community Choir from villages to the north of Cambridge, are protesting the unnecessary relocation of Cambridge’s sewage works to Honey Hill, a beautiful, unspoilt site in Cambridge’s Green Belt. The climate impact of demolishing one functioning sewage plant and building another, just 1.5 km away will be enormous.

Join us in our fight to STOP Anglian Water relocating its Cambridge sewage plant to Green Belt. #greenbelt #sustainability

  • Anglian Water, a billion-pound private company, is being paid £227m of public money to move its Cambridge sewage plant to Honey Hill on Green Belt. The brownfield land left behind will then be sold to developers for housing as part of the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan (NECAAP).
  • The existing sewage plant was upgraded in 2015 and future-proofed till 2050, and Anglian Water admits there is ‘no operational need to move the plant’.
  • Honey Hill is between the villages of Fen Ditton, Horningsea and Quy and is the entry point to Wicken Fen, the most species-rich nature reserve in the UK.
  • It is valuable farmland, full of wildlife, and the site of prehistoric archaeological remains.
  • It is also in Cambridge’s Green Belt and should therefore be protected from development by government policy.
  • The sewage plant will be bigger than Wembley Stadium and floodlit. Huge structures will dominate the flat exposed fenland setting with multiple digester towers, over 20 metres high. Once operational, an estimated 140 HGV sludge lorries will enter and exit the site daily, clogging already busy local roads, adding to air pollution and compromising the safety of the children cycling to the nearby local primary school in Fen Ditton.
  • Anglian Water has not provided any figure for the enormous carbon cost of tearing down one functioning sewage plant and building another just 1.5km away.
  • According to DEFRA, Honey Hill is an area of high risk to groundwater contamination. It sits on a Principal Chalk Aquifer.

The music video is part of the vibrant Save Honey Hill campaign, active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Anglian Water will be submitting its application later this year to the government’s Planning Inspectorate.

Anglian Water’s Phase Three Consultation draws to a close on 27 April.

The Save Honey Hill Community Choir

Protect the Green Belt: our latest banners highlighting the huge carbon footprint of demolishing a working sewage plant to build a new one less than a mile away.

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Greater Cambridge Shared Planning (GCP) are currently running a public consultation on the First Proposals: Local Plan that why published in September. The consultation ends 13th December.

Whereas this plan is being publicised as being very green there is no mention in the Local Plan that development at North East Cambridge is dependent on moving the sewage works to Green Belt at Honey Hill just outside Horningsea and Fen Ditton.

Save Honey Hill believes that producing a Local Plan without mention of the relocation of a major infrastructure project to Green Belt is disingenuous and lacking transparency.

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“I used to think how important, socially, the network of paths linking the four villages must have been in the past”

“We moved to Fen Ditton in 1970 with two small children.  The following summer my parents came down and ‘borrowed’ the kids for a weekend.  That was an unexpected sudden release from responsibility.  We had got to know the surrounding countryside and so headed to Honey Hill as a place for celebrating freedom and spending a warm, low-budget evening.
 
In those pre A14 days there was no bridge, just the dusty Low Fen Drove bending through the flat landscape with a perspective consisting of backdrops behind backdrops, avenues of trees, thick thorny hedges and rush fringed ditches.
 
When I was playing cricket for Quy, I would cycle that way, down High Ditch Road, along the drove way, up the old railway line and into the village past the Hall.  Sometimes I remember taking my little boy and my cricket bag in the basket of an old butcher’s bike.  The journey home after the match into the sunset, singing victoriously, was memorable – picking up a bottle of cider at The Blue Lion as we got back to Fen Ditton.
 
One sunny Christmas Day, at a time when we were looking after an old nag (which resembled an armchair) and an escapologist pony, we took the kids for a ride round Honey Hill.  Our dog, an unruly mongrel, unsuccessfully chased a hare over two fields and a ditch.
 
That same dog used to accompany me on runs on slippery winter days down round the drove way to Biggin Abbey and back home.  As he got older he was less inclined to do this until eventually, one afternoon, he turned his back on me and made his own way home the way we had come.
 
Another occasion involving the dog and the boy was when, due to adverse conditions, we adopted the procedure known as ‘walkies in the motor’ – so in a blizzard, headlamps on full beam, we tried to follow the mongrel from the comfort of the car.  The old grey Renault slid sideways into a ditch near Snout’s Corner.  It was difficult to persuade the AA that the location was accessible and the car retrievable.
 
After gales, I would sometimes search in the thickets up there for fallen boughs to scavenge as firewood.  One day, Major Francis, from Quy Hall, confronted me, thinking I was a poacher or other reprobate.  We later became good friends.  Once, when we needed stakes for a village tree planting campaign, he invited us to make these from saplings cut from along the old railway line.
 
I used to think how important, socially, the network of paths linking the four villages must have been in the past.   Maybe their development had been encouraged by the Bishops of Ely, in times gone by, to combat in-breeding in the communities.  They must also have provided ways to work for that considerable number of farm workers which lived in each village.
 
When the Covid lockdowns started, early in 2020, we rediscovered these pathways and found them so attractive and benign that we mapped them as a guide for others.  I suppose we trespassed a bit on these wanderings but I do remember a picnic lunch by a grass covered brick bridge not far off Low Fen Drove during which the spirit was definitely lifted well clear of those miserable times.  Also picking blackberries at Snout’s Corner with the distant hum of traffic muffled by the sound of the wind in the trees strengthens one’s love for the place.
 
I offer these reminiscences to demonstrate what this area of simple countryside has meant to one person, living beside it for the best part of a lifetime. It’s the purpose of the Green Belt – to provide the city and its surrounding villages with a peaceful, pastoral, restorative resource.  It is tragic to think that if this area comes to be dominated by a massive offensive and repulsive sewage plant, these types of life-affirming experiences, on our doorstep, will never be available again.”
 
 
Many thanks to David Yandell, long time resident of Fen Ditton and exponent of the importance of preserving this valuable local amenity.