Update 11th March 2020

Dear all,

Update 11 March, 2020

Follow up:

We have just been told that the Save our Rivers March for the River Cam scheduled for Friday, 13 March has been cancelled in the light of the government moving towards the delay phase to try to limit the spread of the Corona virus. It was felt that the River Cam and water crisis are such an important topic that it would be better to wait until it is safer to gather in large numbers and postpone the march until then.

Budget Announcement – OxCam Arc

Cambridge South Station gets the go ahead; Development Corporation plans for 4 new towns, including a new town at Cambridge. See links below.

https://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/news/view/developers-lobby-for-fast-track-planning-in-oxford-cambridge-arc

Link to the Treasury Budget report.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/budget-2020-documents/budget-2020#contents

“2.20 The OxCam Arc

The government has designated the corridor of land connecting Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge (the OxCam Arc) as a key economic priority. Earlier this year, the government announced the East West Rail Company’s preferred route for the new line between Bedford and Cambridge. The government will also, subject to planning consents, build a new rail station at Cambridge South, improving connectivity to the world-leading research facilities of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus – the largest cluster of medical and life sciences research in Europe.

The Budget announces plans to develop, with local partners, a long-term Spatial Framework to support strategic planning in the OxCam Arc. This will support the area’s future economic success and the delivery of the new homes required by this growth up to 2050 and beyond. The government is also going to examine and develop the case for up to four new Development Corporations in the OxCam Arc at Bedford, St Neots/Sandy, Cambourne and Cambridge, which includes plans to explore the case for a New Town at Cambridge, to accelerate new housing and infrastructure development”

Water Resources Meeting with Ofwat 30 Jan 2020, Christ’s College

The meeting was convened by Peter Landshoff, Cambridge Ahead Regional Policy group, who has also set up the Natural Environment Planning and Policy Group for Natural Cambridgeshire.

https://www.cambridgeahead.co.uk/our-projects/regional-economic-planning/

The only minutes made available of the meeting were redacted. Full minutes of the meeting were only made available following a request by a customer to the Environment Agency Drought Project Manager for the East Anglia Area. He has made the minutes available to the public via a FOI request. See link below.

https://www.fecra.org.uk/docs/water_resources_30.1.20.pdf

Save Our Rivers March-River Cam and the chalk streams

On page 2 of their July 2019 Consultation ( link below) Defra state “The Water Industry National Environment Programme estimates that water company abstraction volumes need to be cut by over 700 million litres per day (Ml/d) to address environmental problems.” See link.

https://consult.defra.gov.uk/water/measures-to-reduce-personal-water-use/supporting_documents/Consultation on reducing personal water use FINAL.pdf

 

Many of you are asking how much of that reduction applies to the Cam? What is the figure water company abstraction volumes need to be cut by in order to save our chalk streams?

Cambridge school children say “Just like climate change, we cannot simply rely on the actions of individuals to save our river, we need real leadership from our councils and water companies”.

They are marching tomorrow, Friday 13 March, to demand a better future for the River Cam and the chalk streams.

The march starts at 9.45 at Shire Hall. At 10.15 the school children will march through the city, down Trinity St along St Mary’s St and up Sidney St arriving at Bridge Street quayside by 11.00. I have been invited to speak along with Rob Mungovan of the Wild Trout Trust and Stephen Tomkins, Chair of Cam Valley Forum. Terry Macalister, former Energy Editor of the Guardian, “The river is a voiceless victim of regulatory neglect and mindless exploitation by profit-driven firms. It needs our help”.

More info: https://www.cambschoolsecocouncil.uk/

Silver Street public toilets 19/1167/FUL and 19/1350/LBC 

At the Planning Committee last week councillors voted to defer plans for a new disabled loo above ground and renovation of those below ground.

While no-one disagrees that a refurbishment is certainly needed, the objections, including from FeCRA, see link https://www.fecra.org.uk/docs/Silver%20St%20toilets%20letter.pdf focussed on the failure to conserve water using the latest technology, a design which compromises the willow trees and which disability groups say does not meet their needs, and the inclusion of a new kiosk which raises concerns about safety in this very congested area next to a pedestrian crossing.

These issues should have been considered from the start of the project, but there has been no public consultation since the location of the new toilets was agreed in 2016.

We hope that the City Council will now withdraw these proposals and consult fully to ensure that the plans meet the highest environmental standards and provide properly for people with a disability.

South Cambs District Council facing judicial review

Fews Lane Consortium, a South Cambridgeshire community action group that advocates sustainable development within the district’s villages and promotes the principles of transparency and democratic accountability claim that the council has been having secret, unannounced meetings, from which no agenda or minutes are ever published, in violation of the Local Government Act 1972. They also say insufficient oversight by elected councillors has resulted in officers routinely issuing planning decisions completely at odds with the council’s stated position on climate change and water consumption. Greater Cambridge Planning Service is shared between Cambridge City Council and South Cambs.

https://www.elystandard.co.uk/news/south-cambridge-council-third-judicial-review-1-6541517

https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/local-news/cambridgeshire-council-completely-ignoring-law-17628964?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sharebar

Cows about Cambridge

Delivery of the plastic cow art trail round Cambridge has been delayed for the time being as a ‘precautionary measure to help minimise the spread of Coronvirus’. See link.

https://cowsaboutcambridge.co.uk/

East-West Rail plans on show in Cambridge

March 20 Ross St Community Centre CB1 3UZ, 2.30-6pm

March 30 Webb Library CB5 8B5, 11.30-5pm

Cambridge Independent article, link below

https://www.cambridgeindependent.co.uk/news/east-west-rail-plans-go-on-show-at-series-of-community-events-9099966/

Best wishes,

Wendy

 

Wendy Blythe

Chair, FeCRA

www.fecra.org.uk

www.facebook.com/CambridgeRAs

www.twitter.com/fecra2

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