Update 21st September 2021

Dear All,

Supersize Cambridge 

Cambridge is growing fast – but is this sustainable?

FeCRA AGM Online Event – Thursday 7th October 6.00 – 7.30pm


We are hearing increasing concerns from many residents about the pace of growth in and around Cambridge, and the impact it is having on many aspects of our lives.

The context in which much of this is happening is the ‘Ox-Cam Arc’, five counties from Oxford to Cambridge that have been selected by central government for massive growth in buildings and infrastructure.

Our speaker, David Rogers, a distinguished Professor of Ecology at the University of Oxford, has described this as ‘an environmental catastrophe’  that will benefit the developers, including Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and global interests, but not the vast majority of the 3 million people in the area.

It will entail a huge increase in carbon emissions and threatens the survival of our rivers and streams through over-abstraction and pollution.

What will be the impact here on our river, green spaces, city centre, communities and quality of life?

Residents from different parts of the city will give their views on key aspects of the plans for Supersizing  Cambridgeand the ‘growth agenda’ and the implications they have for our future.

Planning and housing update


Greater Cambridge Local Plan

This will go out to consultation 1st November



Tues, 28th Sept, Planning and Transport Scrutiny Committee Meeting 5.30, Guildhall

Greater Cambridge Local Plan: Preferred Options

Creating a vision for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc – response to consultation and OxCam ARC Environmental Principles


The Cambridge Independent has covered the row between South Cambs Lib Dems District Council and South Cambs Conservative MP Anthony Browne about South Cambs and Cambridge City Council Joint Local Plan


MP Anthony Browne argues that building more housing will not enable more people to buy their own homes: See link below.


Cll Leader Bridget Smith says building more housing is needed to “support the economic environment.” https://t.co/UZGpsLx4QDat approx 23 minutes.

Cambridge Ahead modelling and CPIER strategy 

See Report on Cambridge Ahead event “Future of Cambridge” link below



Cambridge City Council and South Cambs Joint Local Plan draws on the conclusions of the report below and the assumptions made by Cambridge Ahead modelling and the Cpier strategy which include major growth in employment (Cambridge Ahead’s Cpier Secretariat included Council officers p.3 https://www.cpier.org.uk/media/1640/cpier-terms-of-reference.pdf )

See 9.71. Link from Local Plan documents below.


Speaking to BBC World at One about the government’s plans, Dr Gemma Burgess, a Cambridge University housing expert from the Dept of Land Economy, who chairs Cambridge Ahead’s Housing Group, said the pause would “create period of uncertainty” and developers and house builders are likely to get “nervous” because “we don’t know what’s coming next”.



Regional Water Plan

The board of Water Resources East, the brainchild of Peter Simpson, CEO of Anglian Water, includes the region’s biggest abstractors who are working on water management which will include plans for nature tourism for the River Cam Corridors.

“Producing the WRE regional water resources plan by 2023 will require many trade-off and compromise discussions between our members, and will be an iterative and adaptive process”

“These one-day online workshops will help us create the first draft of the Water Resources Regional Plan for Eastern England – to be published in January 2022 for informal consultation”

Water Resources East have said there will be no public consultation about the regional water plan.

Cambridge University and global interests 




Cambridge University has a heavy and growing involvement with Chinese organisations
linked to the Chinese government. A recent article in the Spectator by Ian Williams , a
former Channel 4 News journalist with long experience of China, set this out:


The article describes the ‘smart cities‘ joint research project in Nanjing at the Cambridge
University-Nanjing Centre of Technology and Innovation. According to Williams, ‘smart cities
(or ‘safe cities‘ as China calls them) bristling with sensors might well improve urban living in
different ways, but in the context of China they are primarily instruments of surveillance and

Another Chinese organisation referred to in Williams‘ article is Envision, a Shanghai-based
renewable energy company which is providing much of the funding for the new premises of
the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

Worryingly, Envision is one of Cambridgeshire County Council‘s technology partners for developing Smart Cambridge and the data that will support further City Deal Funding.

GCP Board meeting 30 Sept, Corn Exchange


Agenda papers include City Centre Access; Smart Cambridge see Appendix 3 p 67 under Quarterly Review

Oxford-Cambridge Arc


If you want your say on the 1,000,000 homes across the OxCam Arc and their water complete and share this 5-minute survey. Link below.


The government is currently asking for your views on a vision for growth between Cambridge and Oxford, and this may also influence the plans for our area. We would encourage you to respond and to highlight the importance of the environment in the vision.


Stop the Arc and other environment groups have provided information regarding the survey.


Views of Cambridge City Council Leader Lewis Herbert and South Cambs Leader Bridget Smith

‘Councillor Smith commented that the view of the Arc was generally more positive in Cambridgeshire than in Oxfordshire.

Councillor Herbert commented that he saw the Arc as a significant opportunity for the whole of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and paid tribute to the work being done by Councillor Smith. By making progress on its own non-statutory spatial plan the Combined Authority would be well-placed to inform the work on this being led by MHCLG. There was a need to be good partners in this project with the opportunity to attract Government investment.’

(See 611: Oxford Cambridge Arc in Combined Authority Board Minutes, Nov 25/27, 2020)

For a Development Sector view

Oxford-Cambridge Arc: Building a new economic powerhouse (pbctoday.co.uk)

Funding the Ox-Cam Arc 

The Councils together with the University and business interests are working together on gathering evidence for funding bids.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1013050/DIT-Inward-Investment-report-2020-to-2021.pdf https://www.cambridgeindependent.co.uk/news/why-we-must-be-sceptical-of-those-pushing-the-growth-agenda-9210783/

Best wishes,



Wendy Blythe

Chair, FeCRA




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