Letter to Cambridge News published 28th June 2022

Dear Reader

Anglian Water openly states there is no operational need to move its Cowley Road waste water treatment plant to arable Green Belt land just a mere mile from its current site (lunacy in this time of the climate emergency and predicted food shortages!); that they are being required to by the councils so that a brownfield site is created which can then be developed.

Ok….but….this is contradicted by the councils which say they are not requiring Anglian Water to move and that if it stays at Cowley Road, it will not adversely affect the plans they have for developing North East Cambridge.

It just doesn’t add up – it seems the proverbial wool is being pulled over all our eyes, someone is telling porkies or at least being highly disingenuous.

If Anglian Water was moving for operational reasons, it is fact that it would have to foot the bill not the taxpayer.  It certainly won’t be moving just for the hell of it – AW is getting an awful lot of stick over this project – it is of course already a very unpopular company when you bear in mind all the fines it receives for crimes against the environment. Not to mention the hefty salaries and bonuses the top dogs  receive despite these transgressions.

Who then is behind this costly, carbon heavy plan?  Why is Anglian Water moving? Why has the move been given Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project status? Why has the project been awarded £227 million of Housing Infrastructure funding (taxpayers’ money), roughly the same amount incidentally that Anglian Water (a private company) will pocket from the sale of the land at Cowley Road!

When will the leaders of City and South Cambridgeshire District Councils show some honesty and integrity towards the public and address so many unanswered questions which I believe only they can answer!

Yours

Catherine Morris

of Horningsea

Pressure mounts to halt dislocated NECAAP

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.

 

Glossary: –

  • 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

 

  1. Written question to City Council Planning & Transport Scrutiny Committee, 114th Jan 2022 []
  2. Cambridge Independent Jan 12-Jan 18 2022 p9 []
  3. Cambridge Friends of the Earth Facebook page []
  4. https://www.fecra.org.uk/update-14th-december-2021/ []
  5. Cambridge Independent Jan 5-Jan 11 2022 p9 []
  6. Cambridge Independent Newspaper Jan 12th to 18th []
  7. https://www.cambridgeindependent.co.uk/news/new-north-east-cambridge-district-to-have-no-pool-or-sports-9235120/ []
  8. https://www.cambridgeindependent.co.uk/news/8-350-home-north-east-cambridge-plan-will-protect-villages-a-9234459/ []
  9. https://www.cambridgeindependent.co.uk/news/8-350-home-north-east-cambridge-plan-will-protect-villages-a-9234459/ []
  10. https://www.lucyfrazer.org.uk/news/update-cambridge-waste-water-treatment-plant []
  11. Lib Dem Flyer, November 2021 []

North East Cambridge 8,000 homes plan slammed over ‘hidden green belt destruction’ Cambridge Live 14 Jan 2021

North East Cambridge 8,000 homes plan slammed over ‘hidden green belt destruction’

Cambridge Live – 14 Jan 2022

“Anglian Water is proposing to decommission the current site and build a new facility on land to the north of the A14, between Fen Ditton and Horningsea.

It was the impact of this proposed relocation that was criticised at the city council’s Planning and Transport Scrutiny Committee meeting on Tuesday (January 11) when the plans were discussed.

Andrew Martin, representing the Save Honey Hill campaign, argued at the meeting that it was a “disgrace” that green belt land would be destroyed.”

“The very hidden consequence of NECAAP is the destruction of a large area of green belt at Honey Hill.

“It’s a bit ironic really that we are all talking about open spaces, green spaces and all that and yet this development and this potential move of the sewage works to there will result in a million tons of concrete being poured on to this site.

“It is a fantastic area, I use it for walking my dogs, cycling and people ride horses round there, it’s a very tranquil part and it’s only four miles from Cambridge.

“So we’re here talking about green space and open space and here we are doing a great disservice by planning to actually destroy it.

“I think it is an absolute disgrace really.”

Original article

Unesco strips Liverpool waterfront of its world heritage status

The United Nations Heritage body have said that years of development have caused ‘irreversible loss’ to historic value of Liverpool’s Victorian docks. So Liverpool’s much valued world heritage status, which it gained in 2004, has now been stripped.

This an awful blow to such a lovely city. But it is a warning that Cambridge and similar historic and treasured cities should heed.

Cambridge is facing many massive development projects within and around the city. From large scale developments such as the train station development that has been rightly condemmed as “an embarrassment to the city”, to small quirky historic pubs like the much loved Flying Pig pub that is to be demolished for office blocks, to the upcoming NECAAP development on track to become the neighbourhood with the highest density of housing in Europe. It seems developers are free to profit from piling concrete block on concrete block and our city suffers.

Still at least Anglian Water will be building a Discovery Centre so that people can view the sewage works they are placing on greenbelt land.

Cambridge deserves better.