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Pollution fears bring Newmarket Road residents out on streets



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Protestors on Newmarket Road are local residents trying to block further development in the area until their concerns are addressed. Picture: Keith Heppell
Protestors on Newmarket Road are local residents trying to block further development in the area until their concerns are addressed. Picture: Keith Heppell

Campaigners took to the streets of Cambridge this week to protest against further developments on Newmarket Road which they say could create dangerous pollution spikes.

Lidl’s planning permission for a site at Homebase was approved in February,” said resident Lynette Gilbert at the demonstration on the corner of Godesdone Road and Newmarket Road. “Aldi got planning permission for a new site near here in March, plus the John Banks Honda site is due to be redeveloped for student flats.”

In addition, planning permission for a giant new 153-room Premier Inn near The Grafton centre, facing onto East Road, has been sought, along with a “super-budget” easyHotel on the corner of Godestone Road.

The residents say the proposals “will soon be adding hundreds of extra vehicles to the road but with the developers being required to do nothing more than tinker around with some bus stops and provide vague assurances”.

“The way the area is being developed can’t be stopped unless we get the council to look at the situation as a whole instead of focusing on individual development plans,” says Lynette.

A residents’ petition of 400 signatures against the Newmarket Road proposals has been collected. Petitioners are urging the county council to hold approval of any development on or close to Newmarket Road from the Elizabeth Way to Barnwell Road roundabouts unless it can be shown the proposals will not worsen congestion or generate additional road safety problems. The petition is being presented to the economy and environment committee at Shire Hall on May 23.

Newmarket Road protestor at campaign to highlight developments which will increase traffic and congestion in the area such as easyHotel, it claims. Picture: Keith Heppell
Newmarket Road protestor at campaign to highlight developments which will increase traffic and congestion in the area such as easyHotel, it claims. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Just look at two of many examples from the current planning application for a 90-bed easyHotel opposite the current Travelodge and Premier,” says campaign co-ordinator Mike Evans. “The applicant is proposing that taxis and cars use the double yellow lines on the Newmarket Road frontage for guest drop-off and pick-up. You don’t have to be a traffic expert to know this is totally crazy.

“The whole point of double yellow lines on this very busy stretch of an arterial road is to prevent the very obstruction, bottleneck and safety risk that easyHotel now want to inflict on us. his makes no sense at all.”

Residents would prefer community-based facilities to be built, including a cafe, retail store and post office, as students move to the area.

The council was approached for comment.



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