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.

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.

“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”

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.

Letter to the Cambridge Independent in response to the Planning Inspectorate’s Advice Notes to Anglian Water.

18th May 2023

Dear Reader

In response to this paper’s article dated Wednesday, 17th May 2023, which sheds a glaring spotlight on Anglian Water’s sloppy planning application to relocate its wastewater treatment plant at Cowley Road to Honey Hill, the Save Honey Hill team would like to thank the Cambridge Independent and, in particular, Alex Spencer, for bringing this to the public’s attention.

The article made for stark reading when you consider the consequences of this huge nationally significant infrastructure project and the equally huge £227 million that Anglian Water has been allocated to pay for the relocation.

This project is about a billion-pound private water company profiteering from a move that will release land that can then be called brownfield and sold off to developers for a huge sum that its shareholders will pocket whilst the taxpayer foots the bill for the move.

The Save Honey Hill campaign has long held the opinion that due diligence has not been given to the environmental impact of said move nor to the option of the sewage plant staying where it is and, if necessary, simply being upgraded. According to the Advice Notes published by the Planning Inspectorate, the planning inspectors clearly agree.  It is the validation that we are very happy to receive, but we are not so naïve as to think the story ends there.

We will continue to press home, at every opportunity, the many wrongs of this aspiration held by Anglian Water, Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council and undoubtedly the university colleges who own some of the land adjacent to the Cowley Road site.

We will also continue to press home that NECAAP (North East Cambridge Area Action Plan) is not in fact sustainable because in the Local Plan there is no mention of requiring the sewage plant to move to open, arable farmland in Green Belt near Horningsea, Fen Ditton and Quy, and no mention of the associated carbon cost of doing so.  This is plainly wrong and not what the people of Cambridge and the surrounding area deserve. It is a greenwashing exercise of the highest order compounded by the fact that as the Planning Inspectorate has pointed out in its Advice Notes, “…given the focus in the application document on providing a carbon efficient wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), consideration should be given to the inclusion of a comparative assessment for reasonable alternatives, including the ‘do-nothing’ option or the provision of the upgrade at the existing WWTP. Without these the environmental benefits of the proposed development are unclear.”

Your readers are also invited to consider that producing these Development Consent Order (DCO) application documents in the first place will have made a sizeable dent in the taxpayer-funded budget Anglian Water is working to. To have ignored the PI’s initial advice that its Environmental Impact Assessment report should include the demolition of the site and to omit it from its DCO application, shows a level of either arrogance or amateurism that is incredibly disturbing when this company is being tasked with building a massive new piece of infrastructure.

But then is this such a surprise?

Anglian Water is one of a number of water companies in the UK which is regularly fined for not doing its job properly. Its business (excuse the pun) is to treat and deal with our sewage in a safe and responsible way. Time and time again we see the evidence all around our coastline and in our rivers that it is not capable of providing that fundamental service and I can only draw the same conclusion when it comes to this relocation project. It doesn’t need to relocate because the one that exists is fully functioning and has capacity (by AW’s admission); the carbon cost of the project which is as yet unknown will be massive not least because of the shedloads of concrete needed to protect the Principal Chalk Aquifer (groundwater) at Honey Hill, that construction will need to provide!

We urge everyone to visit www.savehoneyhill.org and follow instructions on how to object to this Development Consent Order application if the Planning Inspectorate accepts it at the end of this month. Anyone can have their say and this is most certainly NOT A DONE DEAL!

Catherine Morris

Save Honey Hill Campaigner and Horningsea Resident