News and Updates
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the government's planning policy for England, and includes new housing development.
New alterations are being proposed for a revised NPPF which aims to protect airfields and add them to the list excluded from the definition of previously developed land. These changes may come too late to protect Bourn Airfield from unwanted development but could help save other airfields similarly under threat throughout England.
The changes are proposed by the All Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation (APPG-GA). StopBAD supports these alterations and we encourage you to do the same. As they say, it can't hurt and could be helpful.
You don't need to be a pilot to take part in this consultation which is open to all. You can add your support by clicking on the link www.generalaviationappg.uk/nppf/
The APPG-GA is supported by by our local MP, Heidi Allen, who is a member of the group.
We have been made aware of a recent letter from Conservative MP Grant Shapps to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid.
In the letter written on 6th December 2017, he draws attention to the apparent contradiction between the government's stated intention to preserve airfields and their support for housing development on the same sites. Writing as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation, Mr Shapps says,
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on General Aviation has dismissed claims from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government that “the current [planning] approach remains appropriate” when considering airfield sites for development.
He goes on to list 15 airfields, including Bourn Airfield, which are threatened with closure for development out of just 96 now remaining in the UK.
To see the full correspondence, click here.
What are your views? We'd love to hear what you think.
In the second of our series of updates, the following is our response to the Inspector's question regarding the site capacity and housing density afforded by the Bourn Airfield site. This was included in our submission to the Inspector on 16 February. [If you would like to download a copy of the full submission, see below].
iii Does the area of land identified on Inset I of the Policies Map provide sufficient capacity to achieve the quantum of development associated with the new village?
StopBAD's original submission in October 2013 questioned the site’s ability to accommodate the 3,500 houses to be built. We pointed out that the council made significant mistakes in their calculation of the site’s capacity.
Questions concerning the site’s capacity are not new. In 1992 when Bourn Airfield was being considered as a potential site for the new settlement of Cambourne, the Planning Inspector, Mr T Kemann-Lane, submitted a report in which he drew particular attention to the “generally small and cramped nature of the site”. He observed “the Bourn Airfield proposal does lack sufficient room within its boundaries to give adequate separation (from Highfields Caldecote)”. Similarly, he thought the proposal (for only 3,000 dwellings, rather than the currently-proposed 3,500) “would produce a tight development”. This was prior to the building of Cambourne, and Highfields was less than half its present size. In addition, the A428 was not a dual carriageway in 1992, which has also reduced the size of the Bourn Airfield site by 10 ha.
Figure 4: Schedule of Yields, Proposed Development at Bourn Airfield by Rummey Design 
Figure 5: Overview of StopBAD's original analysis
The updated land yield allocated to residential parcels (93.82 ha.) by Rummey Design (see Figure 4) on behalf of Countryside Properties comes close to StopBAD's estimated figure from our 2013 Submission of 85 ha (Figure 5). However, the yield of 93.82 ha. comes at the expense of the employment land on the Tallent site and the loss of the access spur on the North East on the site. The subsuming of these areas into the MDA means that the proposed new settlement is effectively conjoined to Caldecote Highfields. Clearly, there are now insufficient distances to achieve an effective buffer zone and visual separation between Upper Cambourne, Bourn Airfield and Caldecote Highfields.
In addition, building 3,500 houses on an area of 93.82 hectares produces a housing density of 37 dwellings per hectare (dph). A density of 37 dph is well in excess of the densities in the original Cambourne Masterplan, and closer to urban than rural density levels.
4 RD/FM/013, Additional Evidence Relating to Bourn Airfield, Appendix 1: https://www.scambs.gov.uk/sites/default/files/rd.fm_.013_-_app_1_landscape_led_settlement_part_2.pdf
Essential reading from South Cambridgeshire District Councillor Tumi Hawkins' blog - for link see here.
Do let Tumi and Cllr Des O'Brien have your comments.
Brilliant news and a great interim result for StopBAD!In a letter issued by the Inspectors last week, SCDC and Cambridge City Council have been asked by the inspectors to carry out more work on the testing of alternatives to the development strategy. This will include ensuring that alternative options of building extra homes on the edge of Cambridge have been considered in the same way as proposed allocations for additional homes at new towns and new villages – a strategy more people preferred during early public consultation. South Cambs Lib Dem leader Cllr Bridget Smith described the inspectors' letter as suggesting "a planning disaster".
The councils will now need to comprehensively test the alternative development strategy for building on the fringe of Cambridge and fairly and even-handedly compare the sustainability of that model against the new settlement model.
This is as good a result as the StopBAD campaign could have expected from the EIP. Had the inspectors not provided these preliminary findings, and the EIP had continued uninterrupted to its conclusion, they should certainly have found the Local Plan unsound. The Councils have been given a reprieve. They need to fix the problems - chief among them the unsustainability of the new settlements model as outlined in the current Local Plan. They also the need to revisit the decision to build only 6% of proposed houses in sites on the urban fringe - the 2nd tier option from the Sustainable Development Strategy.
LibDem District Councillor Tumi Hawkins said, "I am not entirely surprised by the preliminary conclusion that the Inspector has reached. Whilst it puts SCDC in a difficult position of having to go back to the drawing board on some issues, it vindicates the arguments that those of us who have raised questions about the suitability of BAD, especially in relation to transport and infrastructure issues. We told SCDC, but it would not listen.
StopBAD have campaigned long and hard, and we should appreciate the work that all the volunteers have done to date to put forward the case for Stopping BAD".
Cllr Des O'Brien said "I see a new public consultation and a more rigorous, open and honest debate on the Green Belt looming". In an interview for the Cambridge News earlier he said, "Cambridge can't have its cake and eat it".
Further meetings are now scheduled this week to address these issues and we will continue to keep you posted.