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Wort’s Causeway: future development

by Amanda Taylor on 13 May, 2019

We’ve just come from a briefing session with This Land, the housing development company that is owned by Cambridgeshire County Council and which will be making plans to develop 230 homes on the site between Worts’ Causeway and Babraham Road (known as GB2).

The proposed site for the new development

We’ve been expressing concerns on behalf of local residents but we’d also like to invite you to speak directly to the This Land team at their consultation events at The Netherhall School from 4-8pm on Tuesday (tomorrow) and Wednesday this week.

This is a very early stage public engagement event and no detailed plans have been made without local input first, and no planning applications have yet been made. They really do want to hear your ideas of how to build a community on our doorstep that will enhance the area, adding much needed affordable and market rate housing while improving biodiversity rather than harming it.

We made clear some of the most often expressed concerns and were happy to receive a number of important assurances:

Firstly, This Land told us that no financial viability study will be sought with the aim of building any more than 230 homes on the site. In the past this has been where things can start to go very wrong. They pointed out that 230 homes on a site this size is a lot fewer than previous developments in the area. Compared to Clay Farm for instance, there will be far more green space and far fewer homes in the same space.

Secondly, it’s your area, so grab a pencil and some paper and draw what you think should be there. A pub? A shop? A village green? A children’s playground? All together in the middle or spread out? There are some design restrictions of course (a gas main being one) but your ideas really can be included.

And as well as the big picture, we talked about the kind of detail people will be asking about. How will people access the site by road, cycle and foot? How many parking spaces will there be per house? What about visitors? What about uninvited parking and enforcement? We asked a lot of questions!

We will continue to engage with This Land on your behalf, but we’ll have failed if we don’t get your ideas into the project, so please do come along tomorrow or on Wednesday.

Outline planning applications are due this summer followed by a public consultation and more detailed local engagement on the designs before final plans go to the City Council in summer 2020. This is followed by a further period of statutory consultation with building work unlikely to begin before late next year or early 2021.

We hope to see you tomorrow or Wednesday.

   1 Comment

One Response

  1. I am writing to you concerning the proposal to remove at least 50m of the double hedgerow on Wort’s Causeway to provide vehicle access to the This Land development at Newbury Farm. This is unnecessary as there is already a cycle and footpath there, which will be expanded anyway, and will cause devastating loss of habitat to bats, endangered birds including barn owls, skylarks and grey partridge and damage to their habitat and food sources. There are 7 species of bat living there, one of which is extremely rare in the UK. Details on numbers and distribution of flora and fauna are contained in the environmental impact assessments, submitted with the plans, which identifies the northern hedegrow being of particular importance to wildlife and recommends retaining it completely.

    Despite the attempt to deliver a net gain for biodiversity in the plans the loss of the uninterrupted corridor between nesting sites and food sources in the Beechwoods and local PRV and SSSIs will not be able to be reversed.
    The council has a commitment to encouraging residents to use sustainable transport means and this would only encourage car use. They also recognise that Cambridgeshire has one of the lowest percentages of land designated for protecting habitats and species in England.

    I cannot find any justification in the transport and travel plans for a second road into the site, there is commitment in the recent local plan under Policy 27 to provide a crossover point for residents of the forthcoming GB1 development. A local planning officer has given me written reassurance that this does not have to be for vehicles.

    Would you be able to use your local network to make this issue known and to ask them to comment on the proposed plans so that they can object to this if they wish?


    with kind regards

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