News and Updates
It is important that people continue to engage with the process of delivering a Bourn Airfield Development to help protect local villages from the worst effects of the new settlement.
While South Cambridgeshire District Council’s consultation on the Bourn Airfield Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) feels very much like another box-ticking exercise by the Planning Authority, we need make sure that their responsibilities towards existing communities are upheld and that their undertaking to mitigate the impact of the development is honoured.
The SPD should be all about ensuring that people's worst fears - voiced so strongly and coherently during the Local Plan Examination consultation and the subsequent Examination in Public - are not realised.
Paragraph 87 of the Inspectors' Final Report on the Local Plan states;
We are mindful of the significant levels of opposition to the Bourn Airfield proposal expressed by the local community and others, including fears of coalescence and traffic implications, including local traffic management issues relating to the Broadway. There is a degree of scepticism from the local community about whether their concerns can be adequately addressed. But there is nothing to indicate that these concerns cannot be satisfactorily addressed through the development management process and further guidance provided by SPD.
The SPD process then should, at the very least, moderate local scepticism about whether our very real concerns about BAD are going to be addressed. Does the draft SPD - currently out for consultation - do this? I don’t see that it does. Where in the SPD are the provisions that address the fear of coalescence? Where are the provisions that address the issue of traffic generation and management?
One issue in particular highlights the shortcomings of the SPD and that’s the issue of a direct access from the Airfield development onto the A428. The Planning Authority have been quick to shut down this debate despite a growing coalition of supporters demanding that serious consideration is given to this option.
The District Council's own Scrutiny and Overview Committee addressed the issue in their May 2019 meeting and made a recommendation to Cabinet to include the option of a direct access in the SPD:
The committee had severe reservations regarding transport. Committee members felt that there needed to be access from Bourn Airfield to the A428. The committee was concerned that the scale of modal shift desired was highly unlikely to be achieved.
https://scambs.moderngov.co.uk/documents/g7562/Printed minutes Tuesday 21-May-2019 17.20 Scrutiny and Overview Committee.pdf?T=1
In spite of this clear recommendation, SCDC Cabinet chose to ignore the Scrutiny and Overview Committee. Stephen Kelly, the Joint Director for Planning and Economic Development (who, as a public servant, works for us) came up with the following lame arguments against considering a direct access to the A428.
Access for cars. The basis for resisting the formation of a new access onto the A428 was three-fold –national policy, the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s proposals for quality public transport between Cambourne and Cambridge, and South Cambridgeshire District Council’s aspirations for a low-carbon future.
https://scambs.moderngov.co.uk/documents/g7545/Printed minutes Wednesday 05-Jun-2019 09.30 Cabinet.pdf?T=1
Weak, non-specific and frankly insulting arguments like this need to be resisted.
For example, representations (including from StopBAD and Bourn Parish Council) on the A428 direct access issue have met with the response that national policy guidelines indicate that junctions may not be placed too closely together. Yet there are many examples where these guidelines have not been applied, as the illustrations below show.
Examples of closely spaced junctions on existing local A roads
PLEASE MAKE SURE THE COUNCIL KNOWS THAT WE WILL NOT BE PATRONISED WITH THE OFFER OF FAKE CONSULTATIONS, NOR FOBBED OFF WITH SPECIOUS ARGUMENTS.
CALL THEM TO ACCOUNT AND RESPOND IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS TO THE SPD CONSULTATION.
WE WANT A FULL AND VIGOROUS EXAMINATION INTO THE VIABILITY OF A DIRECT ACCESS FROM BOURN AIRFIELD ON TO THE A428.