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8,350-home North East Cambridge plan will protect villages and be an ‘exemplar’ development, say council leader



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The 8,350-home North East Cambridge plan will protect villages from development and represent an “exemplar” of low carbon living, according to a council leader.

But there was concern from others over the lack of green space and sports facilities planned - with planners suggesting rooftop courts might help provide the answer.

Map of the proposed open space network in the North East Cambridge development. Image: Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service (54181054)
Map of the proposed open space network in the North East Cambridge development. Image: Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service (54181054)

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Liberal Democrat cabinet agreed today (January 10) to move forward with the proposals for the new district, despite the lingering concerns about the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan, which is a joint project with Cambridge City Council.

The plan details how the site would be redeveloped to provide new homes and 15,000 new jobs, providing the proposed move of Anglian Water’s waste water treatment plant to the countryside at Honey Hill, near Horningsea, proceeds.

Cllr Tumi Hawkins (Lib Dem, Caldecote), the lead cabinet member for planning policy and delivery at the district council, told the meeting the planned relocation of the sewage works created a “once in a generation opportunity” to regenerate the site.

She said: “The North East Cambridge site is the most sustainable location in Greater Cambridge for development.

“Because of its location it helps minimise carbon emissions from transport, and it gives the opportunity to maximise travel by non-car modes.”

The redevelopment gave an opportunity to create a “meaningful legacy” for this part of the city, she said.

North East Cambridge development illustration. Image: Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service (54181052)
North East Cambridge development illustration. Image: Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service (54181052)

Council leader Cllr Bridget Smith (Lib Dem, Gamlingay) felt confident that North East Cambridge will be an “exemplar” of low carbon, 21st century, urban living.

She said: “What I see in the report here and what I have heard today gives me huge confidence that this is going to be somewhere that I can walk round and be really proud of what this council and its partners have created.

“We have to make sure that our high ambitions translate through to delivery and that we are creating a fantastic place for the residents of South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City to live, somewhere they want to stay, somewhere they want to work, somewhere they want to bring up their families and look after their loved ones.

“With 40 per cent housing that is truly affordable, jobs that are walking distance from where people live, five minute walk to get to green space, no fossil fuels, a low carbon district somewhere where car ownership is really optional.

“I am hugely supportive of this, it also protects the countryside, this development will protect our villages from development, which is not sustainable, this is the most sustainable site in Cambridgeshire and I am very proud of the work this council has done.”

Milton Country Park. Picture: Google (54181050)
Milton Country Park. Picture: Google (54181050)

But James Littlewood, chief exectutive of Cambridge Past, Present and Future (PPF), reiterated concerns he had highlighted at a previous meeting about the potential impact the thousands of future occupants could have on Milton Country Park.

He told councillors that not enough open space was proposed to be provided on site for future residents, and said that Milton Country Park, to the north of the proposed redevelopment, would not be able to cope as it is already at capacity, an issue previously reported by the Cambridge Independent.

Cllr Anna Bradnam (Lib Dem, Milton and Waterbeach) said there were still concerns for her in the plans, raising concerns over the lack of provision of formal sports facilities, as well as whether there is enough provision for faith and worship space. She also questioned how future burial needs will be met.

She raised concerns on the impact there could be on Milton if these needs are not met on the site.

In response to the open space concerns raised, council officer Stephen Kelly noted that 1.6 hectares of open space are planned and said there wold be the potential for further facilities, for example via rooftop courts, but that this would be the level of detail provided at a planning application stage, rather than the area action plan.

Councillors at Cambridge City Council are due to discuss the plans on Tuesday (January 11).


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