News and Updates
The decision by the City Deal Executive Board to progress Route Option 3 for the Cambourne to Cambridge busway left many observers and commentators feeling bewildered.
Cambridge Smarter Transport make some very cogent points in the criticism of the decision. The sad truth is that the City Deal is being ‘hijacked’ to help support the New Development strategy at the heart of the fatally flawed Local Plan. Enormous amounts of money could now be channeled into a transport infrastructure project that has not been robustly evaluated and, worse still, is being used to justify unsustainable development along the A428.
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.
After a lengthy quiet period, the South Cambridgeshire specific Examination in Public (EIP) gets underway in December 2016. It will run into January, February and March before the site specific sessions are held.
For further details of the EIP schedule see here: http://www.scambs.gov.uk/local-plan-examination
There is a meeting scheduled for 8th November covering modifications to the Local Plan and it will specifically reference possible modifications to Bourn Airfield. We are currently trying to find out more details about this and will publicise this as it becomes available.
So, the focus and attention on opposing the proposed development at Bourn Airfield now resumes! Please continue to follow progress here, on Twitter and Facebook and let's keep the pressure up.
The Inspectors examining the Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire Local Plans have released a new programme, with dates of hearings for the first of the South Cambridgeshire only hearing sessions.
The hearings programme now includes:
Matters and Issues have also been released that relate to the first blocks of the South Cambridgeshire-only hearing sessions. These Matters and Issues relate to climate change policies, housing allocations at villages, housing policies, provision and protection of services and facilities policies, and environmental health policies.
The updated programme and the matters and issues are available online and can be found via the following link: www.scambs.gov.uk/local-plan-examination.
The Examination in Public starts again on 7th June with an examination of objectively assessed housing need. The 8th June sees a review of both Councils' 5-year housing land supply and the proposed Joint Housing Trajectory, and finally on 9 June 2016 there's further consideration of the Green Belt Review methodology.
The summer will be taken up with an examination Cambridge City’s Local Plan. Watch out for updates on the SCDC plan in the Autumn.
The area in and around Bourn has few employment opportunities. One of the biggest local employers, Papworth Hospital, will be moving in 2018 to its new site at the Addenbrooke's Hospital campus in Cambridge. There are no projected or expected new employers of any size entering the area and creating new jobs.
Over the past twenty years thousands of new homes have been built in the Bourn area (including Cambourne, Caldecote and Papworth). Indeed 37% of all new houses built in South Cambridgeshire in the last 10 years have been built in the Bourn Ward area. Given the lack of local employment, the majority of these residents commute to work by car, out of the area, typically into Cambridge, Royston, St Neots or to the A14 and M11.
Despite the assurances about transport from local planners and politicians intent on pushing forward with BAD, the county council's own data indicates just how bad, and deteriorating, the transport problems in the area are:
Last year there were over 206,300 motor vehicles entering and leaving Cambridge each 12 hour day (7am to 7pm). This represents an 8% increase over the past two years. Prior to 2014, the long-term trend over the previous 18 years had been relatively flat.
There were over 3.18 million Park and Ride journeys in 2015, representing a decrease of 10% compared with 2014. The councils pushing for BAD insist that much of the local traffic problem will be resolved by commuters taking to the bus network - yet on this evidence user numbers are dropping.
In terms of rural traffic, the highest growth since 2005 on trunk roads within the County has occurred on the A428 (23%) which is related to the development of Cambourne. Traffic density on Cambridgeshire’s rural trunk ‘A’ roads is over two and a half times the national average, and 39% above average on other rural ‘A’ roads. The density of HGV traffic on Cambridgeshire’s trunk ‘A’ roads is over three and a half times the national average, and on non-trunk main roads it is 80% above the national average.
On Barton Road, the number of motor vehicles has increased by 18% over the ten years to 2015. In Bourn over the ten years to 2015 vehicle numbers per 12 hour period have revealed a 23% increase in total vehicles and a 17% increase in HGVs on the A428 at Bourn Airfield.In one year to 2015 HGV numbers on the B1046 at Bourn have increased by 77%.
Adding cycle paths and bus lanes is clearly not going to make a dent in the problem. Local residents know too well from the increase in their own journey times into, out of and around Cambridge that the current situation is poor and getting worse. We have watched local planners, councillors and developers pitch scheme after scheme, ranging from the inadequate to the ridiculous, with which to address this problem. The point they all ignore is that this problem cannot be addressed by any means while at the same time significantly adding to traffic numbers. Building new houses miles away from the new employment centres, with a congestion hotspot in between them, has got to be wrong.
These houses will simply be in the wrong place and represent an unsustainable development.
The Examination in Public (EIP) is re-opening. Week 1 (Block 5) commences on the 7th June and covers Overall Spatial Vision, Housing Need and Green Belt. We will be making a statement for this section.
The South Cambs Strategic Sites Hearings are set for Block 13 week 1. These hearings will not be until the end of the year and participants are not listed in the Hearings Programme (Version 8). There will be an update later in the year.
Cambridgeshire County Council, on behalf of The Greater Cambridge City Deal partnership, has recently published the results of public consultation from local people regarding 'better bus journeys' from Cambourne to Cambridge.
Summary results from the consultation are as follows:
"In total 2,193 members of the public responded to this survey online or on paper.
The potential inclusion of the “world’s first ‘park and cycle’ site” was revealed this week as a further option in the City Deal’s transport plan. City Deal chairman Cllr Lewis Herbert is reported in the Cambridge News as saying “We all know how congested the centre of Cambridge can get, so if we are to continue to grow we must find ways to make it easier to move around the city. The idea of the ‘western orbital’ bus service, on the M11 or a segregated bus and cycleway next to the motorway, could provide an alternative way to work for residents throughout South Cambridgeshire.”
South Cambridgeshire District Council’s own estimate for the amount of traffic expected to be generated by the Bourn Airfield development is 29,750 trips per day. A significant proportion of that will be travelling into Cambridge – where the jobs are.
Despite acknowledging how bad traffic in Cambridge is already, the idea that this might be eased by commuters cycling alongside the M11 into Cambridge as an alternative to driving in, such that thousands of additional journeys could be accommodated, seems fantastical to say the least. Cllr Des O’Brien said “The City Deal is being pitched as the proverbial white knight on his charger wading in to slay the dragon of traffic chaos in Cambridge. My own view is that that’s very far from the truth… The City Deal should have been part of a grand vision, but instead it has been hijacked to help support a limping, strategically flawed local plan. Two of the largest schemes – the Cambourne to Cambridge busway, and now the western orbital along the M11 – are priorities for no other reason than the fact that South Cambs are hell-bent on building in the region of 6,000 houses in new settlements on the A428.”
For the full Cambridge News story see here – http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/World-8217-s-8216-park-cycle-8217-multi-million/story-28702166-detail/story.html#1
IMPORTANT - Government reply to Keep Airfields Greenfields confirms that you shouldn't develop on those areas of a site that are open land
In replying to the online petition KEEP AIRFIELDS GREENFIELDS the Government clarified the position regarding sites such as hospitals and airfields.
The definition of a Brownfield site in Planning Policy Guidance 3 included a footnote which defined curtilage and stated that “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."
This is very significant and clearly demonstrates that in the Government's opinion all of Bourn Airfield should not be developed. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/106779