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Despairing residents petition to remove Marshall ‘zombie’ radar tower distress




The RAADAR – Residents Against Airport Disturbance and Radar – team has created this visual showing the radar to scale as it would appear if it were sited outside Cambridge Airport on Newmarket Road. Picture: RAADAR
The RAADAR – Residents Against Airport Disturbance and Radar – team has created this visual showing the radar to scale as it would appear if it were sited outside Cambridge Airport on Newmarket Road. Picture: RAADAR

Residents living within eye- and earshot of a new radar tower at Cambridge Airport have launched a petition to get the structure moved, citing a “near constant 24-hour high pitch, oscillating noise” which “is driving neighbours to despair”.

The installation of the 12-storey structure in November has resulted in demands for it to be moved – a request backed by Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner. Now the local community has set up RAADAR – Residents Against Airport Disturbance and Radar – and launched a petition which went live on Saturday (December 12), along with a RAADAR website.

The petition on 38degrees says: “At 38 metres high, the ugly and imposing mast is almost five times taller than our homes and it stands just 40 metres from the nearest house.

“In addition to its constant rotation, the radar emits an audible hum 24 hours a day. It also creates an invasive stroboscopic light effect and shadow flicker inside our homes and in our gardens. Its impacts are significant, not least on our mental health and on the wellbeing of our community.

“The new system was built without consultation under permitted development rights to facilitate a proposed Marshall Properties/Endurance Estates housing scheme on their land north of Cherry Hinton.

“In what we regard as an abuse of its permitted development rights, Marshall has located the new system as far from its own developments and as close to existing residential properties as is conceivably possible.

“As residents, we were denied consultation, an environmental impact assessment, a planning process and the right to object.

“We call on Marshall Group to move the radar to an alternative location on its substantial Cambridge Airport site, away from existing homes.”

The 12-storey Marshall radar
The 12-storey Marshall radar

One of the residents has set up a YouTube channel – ‘Valued Neighbour’ – which documents the issues, including strobe effects inside houses and the background hum. One of the contributors, Adrian Stokes of The Westering, said of the effect: “I am pretty sure that bodies will be digging their way out of the graves in the graveyard on Newmarket Road and zooming around berserk – is this literally the sound of the zombie apocalypse?”

A spokesperson for RAADAR said of Marshall’s response: “Despite us formally requesting that they do so, they have refused – both verbally and in writing – to take into account the impact the installation is having on residents’ mental health. Again, despite a formal request to do so, they have failed to put us in contact with the external company conducting the light impact review so that we can arrange for them to visit our properties and see the effects for themselves.”

Marshall Aerospace and Defence reiterated that it has commissioned an urgent independent review due to report “in full early in the new year”, and “will consider the optimum siting of the radar from an operational and safety perspective along with noise, light and visual impact on the local community”.

The Marshall tower at night. Picture: Mike Scialom
The Marshall tower at night. Picture: Mike Scialom

CEO Gary Moynehan said: “We have received a number of concerns from local residents who are unhappy about the location of the new radar and, as a result, have commissioned an extensive independent review that will cover all of the issues that have been raised.

“We do appreciate and regret that this issue is causing considerable concern for some of our neighbours and are committed to working with them to find a workable solution once the outputs of the review are available to us.”



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