‘We’re not Nimbys – we don’t want it to be built anywhere’: Save Honey Hill takes sewage battle to villages
Members of Save Honey Hill took their whistle-stop tour to Fen Ditton today (July 18) as part of a weekly series of events to get the consultation to reject the planned sewage works at Honey Hill, near the village of Fen Ditton.
The Honey Hill site – between Fen Ditton and Horningsea – was selected in January following the decision to reclaim the existing sewage works near Milton for the North East Cambridge housing project.
The government has allocated £227million from its housing infrastructure funding (HIF) to Anglian Water and Cambridge City Council to fund the relocation.
“Save Honey Hill is holding gazebo events one day every weekend throughout the period of the Anglian Water consultation,” said Sarah Beeson, a Fen Ditton resident for 34 years.
The consultation is now under way will run until August 18, after which all feedback will be considered and presented back to the community as part of phase three consultation next year.
“We’ve been to Horningsea, and Scotsdales, and are planning similar vents at Quy and Swaffham. We’re not Nimbys – we don’t want it to be built anywhere.”
Concerns raised by visitors to the campaign hub included the fact that Honey Hill is green belt land, the 26m-high sewage digester units, the estimated 140 HGV sludge lorry movements entering and exiting the site daily, and possible groundwater contamination.
“There’s been a lot of interest from a lot of people who are very upset about issues, especially the use of green belt land,” said Andrew Jones. “There’s a visual problem, and it’s not clear they can manage the odour as they say they can.
“But most of all it’s the traffic. If they use the Quy roundabout it’ll make everyone’s lives very miserable.
“One option is to build a T-junction along the A14, which is currently a layby, that would be easy enough to do and would be a way out for everyone.”
There are three access options on the consultation document (question 10) which has been sent to Fen Ditton householders.
Option 1 is ‘access off Junction 34 (Fen Ditton)’
Option 2 is ‘Access off Junction 35 (Quy), south of the A14’
Option 3 is ‘A new junction on the north side of the A14’
Sarah’s view of the options is clear.
“The only thing acceptable to the vast majority of us – and so critical to this whole fiasco – is if they use a direct access route from the A14,” she says. “That would be a great relief. Using the bridge on High Ditch Road would be a terrible idea, they say they can widen it but the bridge is ancient. Option 3 is is the only one which is marginally acceptable, we don’t want any traffic.”
Does that mean Save Honey Hill is fighting on the route rather than the whole concept?
“The fundamental point of this consultation is about the plans they’ve put forward – none of us want it to happen, but they’re not consulting us on it because they know we don’t want it: it’s just about getting the works out of Milton.”
This is the second bite of the cherry for a Honey Hill site: in 2007 it was selected as part of a waste management plan – and then rejected after a campaign against the idea. Sarah was on the campaign committee at the time.
“We fought it really well,” she says, “but they were incompetent in those days, they hadn’t thought about the aquifer, and they have this time round.
“And this time they’ve got the government grant, so they’ve got enough money.”
Andrew: “Now the taxpayer is going to pay for it, they’ve pretty much dusted off the old plan.”
Anglian Water has set out a comprehensive range of measures to offset the effects of the proposed 22-hectare site on the environment.
Karen Barclay, head of the Cambridge relocation public consultation for Anglian Water, said: “It’s rare nowadays that a waste water treatment facility of this significance is built from the ground up, and we fully appreciate people and communities may be anxious about it.
“We hope our proposals can allay some of the concerns previously expressed and show that we are genuine in our intent to create both a really innovative facility and new space for wildlife, all accessible on new paths that link with the existing local network.”
Consultation details here.