Update 4th May 2020

Dear all,

Update 4th May, 2020

North East Cambridge – Community concerns about NEC Area Action Plan

After a Zoom catch up meeting on the plans to consult on the draft NE Cambridge Area Action plan from July-Sept, members of the NEC Area Action Plan group reiterated concerns to Greater Cambridge planners about the proposals for this Northern Fringe Area listed as a development opportunity.


  • 7,500 homes means 18,000 people – the size of Ely.
  • The density of development is very high for the area.
  • As it is often referred to as the “sewage works site” people think that this is the area of the project. They are unaware of the doubling in office space in the Science Park and that there will be developments along Milton Road and around the station etc.
  • As the plan is referred to as starting in 4 years time people were not aware, until now, that development has already started  in the area, e.g. the hotel at the station and will continue.
  • heights of up to 13 stories and most of it 10 stories.
  • increase in “journeys” of nearly a factor of 3 down Milton Road.
  • Impacts already overcrowded local facilities – schools, doctors and citywide facilities such as hospitals, social services.
  • The consultation needs to be clear about what the planners actually have control over.
  • Even if the infrastructure  is provided residents are concerned  there is no mechanism for subsidising them e.g. community rooms are too expensive and buses are not subsidised.
  • People in the less affluent wards consider that they get the thin end of the wedge and spending billions on a development next to them when they will get little out of it.

A topic at the recent UK Innovation Corridor Conference attended by business and council leaders was the ‘Left Behind’ in London and the UK Innovation Corridor. How local government responds to Covid 19 and builds on community resilience was the subject of a recent paper.


Plans for the St Matthew’s Centre, Sturton St CB1 2QF “Ugly structure will monster our beautiful park”


Residents say the proposals for 5/6 storey student accommodation on St Matthew’s Piece will impact St Matthew’s Piece a much loved park in this high density conservation area. The design requires the felling of two London Plane trees and may require crown reduction of other trees. Residents ask if this is appropriate when demand for student accommodation is likely to be down after Coronavirus. The developer is a leading investment manager, Federated Hermes (formerly Hermes Investment Management). For more information or to join the Friends of St Matthew’s Piece email Friends.of.st.matthews.piece@gmail.co

Environment Agency – Response to questions about Abstraction

A report for the Department of the Environment entitled ‘Consultation on measures to reduce personal water use’ published in July 2019, found that the UK is heading for trouble. Due to climate change and increasing population we are already using too much water.

In some parts of the country the volume of water taken from the environment is damaging our ecosystems. The Water Industry National Environment Programme 3 estimates that water company abstraction volumes need to be cut by over 700 million litres per day to address environmental problems.  In a recent report the National Audit Office says some parts of England, especially the south-east, are at risk of running out of water owing to decreased rainfall and a need to cut the amount taken from natural waterways.


Knowing from Cam Valley Forum that the River Cam and the Cam Valley is in trouble, FeCRA  asked the Environment Agency to clarify the situation in Cambridge. A FOI request revealed the reduction in abstraction required here is a staggering 55% to current licensed volumes.  See the response from the EA. It is worth reading. Link below.


Click under FeCRA Documents for the more technical data.


WINEP 2020 Update
WINPE Sustainability Changes

The issue of abstraction has been raised before. See Stephen Tomkins (Cam Valley Forum)  https://www.fecra.org.uk/workshops/past-workshops/

Water Resources East (WRE) is a project for water management described by WRE Communications manager Martin Collison as ‘the brainchild of Anglian Water CEO Peter Simpson’. It has been set up ‘to ensure we have the water needed until 2060 for new houses, farming and the environment, from the Humber to the Thames’.


Water concerns and Nine Wells featured in feedback from FeCRA, University and River networks on the University of Cambridge Biodiversity draft Action Plan.


University of Cambridge Biodiversity draft action plan


See links below under Documents for comments.



County Council petition

At a recent meeting the County Council’s Constitution and Ethics committee voted through a proposal to abolish the Cambridge Joint Area Committee (CJAC) comprising Liberal Democrat and Labour members from the City and County – all Cambridge Councillors – which addresses matters of residents’ parking, local highway initiative grants/projects (LHI) and traffic regulation orders (TROs) relating to Cambridge.


The proposal will now go forward to a full County Council meeting on 19th May for a final decision.  If it is voted through then all decisions about Cambridge highways and transport will be decided by a committee at Alconbury dominated by councillors from outside the city, who will not have the same local knowledge and input from local councillors and residents.


The abolition of this committee will make it much more difficult for city residents to make their views on transport issues heard at the County Council, particularly when the County Council’s main activities move to Alconbury.


This is a significant change being pushed through during Covid lock-down at meetings with very limited opportunity for public participation. Many groups across the city do not see this as democratic, and are calling for on the County Council to delay and allow time for a proper consultation. For more information and to sign the petition see:


Cambridge Virtual Community Centre

At the moment all community facilities are closed, so the City Council has created ‘Cambridge Virtual Community Centre’, which is an online page, hosted via Facebook initially, offering ideas and information on:

  • Older People – solutions for loneliness and long-term self-isolation, sharing local information, knowledge and skills.
  • Arts & Culture – things to see and do online, including national and local creative content such as activities from Cambridge museums, galleries, venues and festivals.
  • Mental Health & Wellbeing – positive activities to sustain healthy bodies and minds, as well as healthy relationships and lifestyles.
  • Families, Children & Young People – advice and opportunities for parents and carers, ideas and activities, information about staying safe.


CVCC will focus on promoting positive health and wellbeing messages, encouraging people to explore new activities, access resources and develop skills as well as sharing practical information (local and global). There will be a weekly theme.


Best wishes,



Wendy Blythe

Chair, FeCRA




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1 Response

  1. Valerie Neal says:

    Thank you Wendy, for highlighting the terrible: Plans for the St Matthew’s Centre, Sturton St CB1 2QF “Ugly structure will monster our beautiful park”! Pleaase add a link to our new information leaflet, https://pactcambridge.org/wp-content/uploads/Friend-of-StMP-leaflet.pdf This provides historic background & advising how to respond to the proposals. Note also the very strong motion of support by Trustees of PACT (Petersfield Area Community Trust) https://pactcambridge.org/?page_id=1937 Many thanks!

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