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Council leaders back Anglian Water’s vision for new waste water treatment plant to unlock North East Cambridge development

Council leaders have backed Anglian Water’s vision for the new waste water treatment plant on the edge of Cambridge - but acknowledged residents will have “concern and many questions”.

The water company has announced that it has selected Site 3 - land north of the A14 between Fen Ditton and Horningsea - for the proposed plant, which will enable the existing one off Cowley Road on Cambridge’s northern fringe to be decommissioned.

Anglian Water’s existing waste water treatment works
Anglian Water’s existing waste water treatment works

Some 8,000 homes will then be built and 20,000 jobs created at the new Cambridge North East development on the existing site and on surrounding land owned by Cambridge City Council. It is working with South Cambridgeshire District Council on the plans for the new district.

The local authorities urged residents to get involved in helping to shape plans for the new waste water treatment plant, which will be subject to two further consultations and requires a development consent order.

The decision comes as a major blow for residents of Fen Ditton and Horningsea, who had campaigned against turning the site, known as Honey Hill, into what they called ‘Poo Corner’. They say the site is an important green lung.

But Anglian Water said following study by a team of experts it favours the site ahead of the two other shortlisted locations - both north of the A14 and west of the A10, between Milton, Impington and Landbeach.

Anglian Water has selected Site 3, between Fen Ditton and Horningsea, as the proposed site for its new waste water treatment plant (44158655)
Anglian Water has selected Site 3, between Fen Ditton and Horningsea, as the proposed site for its new waste water treatment plant (44158655)

Cllr Bridget Smith, the Liberal Democrat leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “We know that there will be concern and many questions for local communities, as Anglian Water announcing a preferred site is only one step in this process.

“Anglian Water will be giving lots more opportunities for people to get involved with the planning and design process, and we would encourage everyone locally to take part.

“We, like Anglian Water, have ambitious targets for delivering environmental objectives. We want to encourage them to stretch themselves and to seize the once-in-a-lifetime chance to upgrade this critical piece of infrastructure in a way that benefits our common environmental interests; including creating new wildlife habitats, green energy and improved access to the countryside.

“We understand that studies have shown the proposed site to have the lowest overall odour impact for local communities – and we must not forget this is not moving an old plant, but building a modern one that will resolve most of those issues - and the lowest risk of negative impacts on underlying aquifers. In the coming months we expect to work with Anglian Water to understand further how their preferred site will deliver against these objectives

“The councils together have a long-standing ambition to realise the opportunities for developing an exemplar low-carbon city district at North East Cambridge, which will be enabled by relocation of the plant. This will reduce pressure for housing development in greenfield locations, where it could take up far more land and be less sustainable in terms of transport emissions.”

Cambridge Waste Water Treatment Plant (CWWTP) shortlisted sites for relocation. Picture: Anglian Water (43315977)
Cambridge Waste Water Treatment Plant (CWWTP) shortlisted sites for relocation. Picture: Anglian Water (43315977)

Anglian Water said it chose Site 3 for a host of reasons, including the opportunity for environmental protection and enhancement, value for money and odour control.

Cllr Lewis Herbert, the Labour leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “The announcement today by Anglian Water is an important milestone towards replacing the current facility with one that harnesses latest technology to meet the future needs of our area.

“It demonstrates their professionalism and commitment to environmental standards that will meet future needs, not just current requirements.

“The relocation is very important in enabling the strategic regeneration of North East Cambridge, one of the most sustainable locations for new housing and jobs locally. North East Cambridge can make a significant contribution to the future housing needs of Greater Cambridge and has been recognised for over two decades as a highly sustainable location for a quality new urban community on a major brownfield site.

“Building new homes in locations that are well-served by public transport, that integrate well with neighbours, and which are within walking and cycling distance of the places that people want to go, is essential in both councils’ commitment to achieving net zero carbon. We are both committed to further engagement with residents in developing plans for North East Cambridge, building on their input to date and the strong vision set out in the draft Area Action Plan which we consulted on in 2020.”

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Anglian Water reveals its proposed site for new waste water treatment plant serving Cambridge region

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