Update 17th February 2020

Dear all,

Update 17th February, 2020

Q & A meeting with the Director of Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service

Following the concerns expressed by many of you regarding the Local Plan Issues and Options consultation, members of the FeCRA Committee and other reps had an informal Q & A meeting with Stephen Kelly. Questions (below) were submitted in advance. We will post minutes of the Q & A discussion on the FeCRA website shortly.

There is a lot of concern from residents about the lack of vision, and what appears to be a piecemeal and growth-driven interest-led approach to development which lacks coherence and strategy and doesn’t acknowledge the need to address the biodiversity and climate emergencies. These have now been recognised in Council policies, but plans seem to be going ahead which pay only lip service to them. 

Growth

  1. a) What has been the evidence on which the strategy of intensification of population growth has been selected instead of dispersion of growth, e.g. to surrounding small towns? 

The CPIER report gave no systematic evidence in favour of doubling the population of Cambridge without commensurate expansion of infrastructure. There was simply an assertion that tech firms will leave the UK if they cannot be located within Cambridge. Evidence? Other than that proximity used to be a benefit to businesses in the early days of the Cambridge Phenomenon. Is there current evidence to support this assertion?

  1. b) How much growth is it realistic to plan for beyond what is already envisaged in the existing local plan? In particular, how far can office development and the growth of tourism be contained at a level where economic, social and environmental well-being isn’t prejudiced?

City Centre

With the proposals for extensive growth and increased housing, what are the strategies for developing the public realm?  How can the centre of Cambridge grow and develop in a way that complements the growth of the city and includes all residents including students?

Eg Market Square, Cambourne busway ending at Grange Road, Silver Street

What are the key conservation and heritage issues, related to public open spaces that must be taken into account?

What are the strategies for sub-centres to be developed and enhanced to take pressure off the City Centre?

Consultation

There are numerous on-going consultations and widespread concerns about engagement and stakeholder feedback. There seem to be many private meetings convened by non-statutory interest groups which involve officers, councillors and NGOs – eg growth, housing, water, natural capital and call for green sites.

The minutes of these are not easily available for public scrutiny, and the remit of many of these groups is not transparent.

There are concerns that strategic decisions are being made by those who have a vested interest and benefit financially.

How will you ensure that these perceived conflicts are managed in a way that makes clear that decision-making is independent and transparent, and gives people confidence that proper governance is in place?

The questions and concerns you have raised will form the basis of FeCRA’s submission on the Local Plan Issues and Options Consultation. Please let us know your views.

David Taylor, retired architect and the former Assistant Chief  Planner for Cambridge has asked the Committee to share with you a letter that he has sent to key Cambridge local government leaders and the two Cambridge MP’s concerning the Local Plan Consultation. (His letter is posted on our website).

Others, have highlighted that there has been no thorough assessment of significance, vulnerability to change, and capacity for change. Concerns raised include:

1) the way Cambridge has been made a total hostage to fortune by the devolution deal (acceptance of massive growth without any serious assessment of the implications)

2) The failure to engage with strategic environmental capacity issues as a vital part of the evidence base for the new Plan. Many of you are saying why aren’t they assessing impacts and issues arising from current and already approved growth at this stage?

3) The fact that the City’s current work on evidence is considering only housing. There is nothing on environmental capacity, cumulative impact of transport proposals (city centre and outside), cumulative impact of current growth ambitions, climate change adaptation and mitigation, historic environment etc before credible issues and options can be identified.

 

We encourage all RA’s to submit a response on the Local Plan Issues and Options Consultation. Deadline 24 Feb.

 

Local Plan Big Debate Corn Exchange 18th February

FeCRA has a slot, support is appreciated.

See link below to book a place.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/greater-cambridge-local-plan-the-big-debate-tickets-88648697641?aff=basiclink

This starts at 6.30 and runs till around 8.30-9pm, with time for drinks/mingling before and after. There will be Q & A.

Greater Cambridge Partnership – Executive Board meeting 19th February 2020

2:00 p.m Council Chamber at Shire Hall, CB3 0AP

For agenda see link below.

https://cambridgeshire.cmis.uk.com/ccc_live/Meetings/tabid/70/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/397/Meeting/1423/Committee/26/Default.aspx

Best wishes,

Wendy

 

Wendy Blythe

Chair, FeCRA

www.fecra.org.uk

www.facebook.com/CambridgeRAs

www.twitter.com/fecra2

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