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Countryside campaigners CPRE Cambridgeshire criticise Cambridge growth plans

Countryside campaigners have criticised government growth plans for Cambridge – and urged voters to send a message to whoever assumes power at next month’s General Election.

CPRE Cambridgeshire say that proposals, put forward by housing secretary Michael Gove, to build up to 150,000 homes around Cambridge by 2050 would destroy the precious Green Belt – and make a nonsense of government claims that it wants to ‘level-up’ the country.

Can the Green Belt around Cambridge survive another 150,000 houses being built?
Can the Green Belt around Cambridge survive another 150,000 houses being built?

The charity’s chairman, Dr Alan James, recalled that a Levelling Up White Paper espoused the desire to “boost productivity, pay, jobs and living standards by growing the private sector, especially in those places where they are lagging”.

“This makes nonsense of plans to build up to 150,000 homes in and around Cambridge,” said Dr James. “Lagging behind … Cambridge is not! The inference from government is that Cambridge is the only UK university delivering life sciences. We’ve done our research and many university cities across the UK are breaking boundaries in life sciences. Surely, the government should be investing in places like Teeside, Tyneside, Sheffield and Leeds, regenerating brownfield sites rather than doubling the size of Cambridge by destroying one of the country’s most important Green Belts with its surrounding areas of prime agricultural land?”

He went on: “The new government needs to look at the regions and cities which need the growth – and have regeneration space for it.

“The Levelling Up Act clearly states its primary objective is to close the disparities in productivity, wages and employment across all regional and nations of the UK. Cambridge and the areas surrounding it are not struggling.

“Of course, there are many, many people who need homes but the majority of these are in the areas of the country that need regeneration. In many of those areas there are thousands of empty properties, just in need of refurbishment and modernisation. It would be quick and have minimum climate impact.”

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