News and Updates
In the fourth of our series of updates, the following is our response to the Inspector's question concerning ribbon development.
Would the new village result in an over intensification of relatively closely knit settlements south of the A428 creating a form of ribbon development which would be uncharacteristic of this part of South Cambridgeshire?
“While lacking any formal definition, sprawl generally refers to development on the urban fringe of growing areas, but covers a range of settlement patterns from continuous suburbs to linear patterns of strip development... As a model of development, it has been variously associated with increased infrastructure costs, transportation costs, congestion, pollution and loss of natural land, and with reduced public health and accessibility”.
Introduction to the Royal Town Planning Institute 'Location of Development Report'
The problem of coalescence was apparent back in 1992. Paragraph 12.4.1 of the 1992 Inspectors' Report states, 'In the case of Bourn Airfield there would be appear to be almost a continuous ribbon of development from the Broadway eastward along the side of the A45 (now A428) to the Hardwick turn on the A1303 - a distance of 4.5 km.'
Today, the case for coalescence and ribbon development is even more compelling. The 'new village' would result unquestionably in the over intensification of the settlements to the south of the A428 between Hardwick and the Caxton Gibbet roundabout and form a linear pattern of strip development approximately 8 kilometres long. There has been significant development in Caldecote Highfields over the last 10 years and houses have edged ever closer to the A428 and Hardwick. The soon-to-be-completed 950 homes in Upper Cambourne will bring the total number of houses in Cambourne to 4,400 and see houses right up to the Bourn Broadway. The recent approval of 2,350 houses in West Cambourne means that there will be housing to the west right up to the A1198. If Bourn Airfield were to go ahead it would mean that an 8k long stretch of land - that up until 20 years ago was almost exclusively green fields - will have been lost to 10,250 houses. The relaxation of rules on rural housing density further exacerbates the intensification problem. The villages of Bourn, Caldecote, Caxton and Knapwell characterised this area for hundreds of years; this area is NOT characterised by Cambourne alone.
Should the development of Bourn Airfield be given the go-ahead, it would be a clear example of the unrestricted sprawl of a large built-up area; the merging of neighbouring communities; and an encroachment into the countryside that will severely damage the setting and special character of historic villages.
Figure 1 below illustrates the existing settlements to the south of the A428 together with the West Cambourne (1) and the proposed development of Bourn Airfield (2).
Figure 1. (1) West Cambourne new development (2) Proposed Bourn Airfield new development (3) Caldecote (4) Hardwick (5) Caxton
Figure 2 illustrates how the area will look once West Cambourne has been completed and if Bourn Airfield goes ahead. What is immediately apparent is that this creates a continuous ribbon of development of 7.7km (4.7m) from Hardwick (4) and Caldecote (3) to the Caxton Gibbet roundabout.
Figure 2: Potential ribbon development of 8 kilometres from Hardwick to Caxton Gibbet
Your voice matters!
As we approach the 4th April hearings on the proposed Bourn Airfield Development, a reminder of the importance of strong and visible local opinion comes from the following news story.
In 2016, housing developer Gladman Developments were refused permission to build over 300 new houses in Ledbury by Herefordshire Council. The proposed development was hugely unpopular with local people who argued that the location was unsustainable (At a local site meeting, with feelings reported to be "running very high" 35 local people walked for nearly two miles to make their views known).
Gladman Developments appealed against the Council to the Planning Inspectorate at a Hearing held in February 2016. As the Council insisted that the Hearings be held in Hereford, over 17 miles away from Ledbury, only a handful of Ledbury residents were able to attend because distance precluded those at work just nipping out during their lunch break to show a presence. As a consequence Gladman Developments, and their 11 representatives who attended the Hearing, used this to make the point that there was limited local interest, to back their argument.
Gladman Developments won their appeal to the Planning Inspectorate to build the new houses.
Your voice matters! Do come along for the first day of the Hearings on 4th April at 9:30am at South Cambs Hall in Cambourne and be seen and heard.
Sign up and let us know you're coming.
Many Bourn residents will recall assurances given in 1996 from South Cambridgeshire District Council that the new Cambourne development would not be permitted to increase traffic into Bourn.
A minute from the Planning Committee meeting of 24 April 1996 records as "Resolved that there should be no emergency vehicle and bus link between the new village [Cambourne] and The Broadway". Specifically, we were told that "such access will never be allowed".
With additional bus traffic from Cambourne via this new link, as well as additional new traffic if Bourn Airfield goes ahead, traffic in Bourn village could be set to become a major problem.
If we value our beautiful and historic village we must say no to this constant encroachment.
1. Write to your District Councillors and express your concerns. Their email addresses are: Councillor Peter Topping - Cllr.Topping@SCambs.gov.UK Councillor Nick Wright - Cllr.Wright@SCambs.gov.uk and Councillor Des O'Brien - Cllr.Obrien@SCambs.gov.uk
2. Come along to the start of the next Local Plan Hearing on 4th April and show your support to stop the proposed development at Bourn Airfield - further details are here.
In the third of our series of updates, the following is our response to the Inspector's question regarding the designation of the Bourn airfield site as previously developed (brownfield) land. This was included in our submission to the Inspector on 16 February 2017.
In respect of paragraph 3.40, what proportion of the site as a whole can be classified as previously developed land?
While we acknowledge that airfields, as land that has been previously developed, are now to be regarded as brownfield land we would like to point out that a central premise of the policy has been, and remains, that it should not be assumed that the whole of the curtilage of a brownfield site should be developed. This has been made clear in the definitions of previously developed land set out in Planning Policy Guidance. The definition in Planning Policy Guidance 3 included a footnote that defined curtilage and stated “where the footprint of a building only occupies a proportion of a site of which the remainder is open land (such as at an airfield or a hospital) the whole site should not normally be developed to the boundary of the curtilage.”
The glossary to the National Planning Policy Framework defines previously developed land is "Land which is or was occupied by a permanent structure, including the curtilage of the developed land (although it should not be assumed that the whole of the curtilage should be developed) and any associated fixed surface infrastructure."
Clearly the vast majority of the Bourn Airfield site is agricultural land and woodland. Within the original Major Development Site area the runways and perimeter tracks represent only 16% of the total, the remainder being farmed land. The runways and industrial areas occupy just 14% of the total AAP. This is illustrated below.