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