Godmanchester Bearscroft Development Controversy – Fairfield Statement

godmanchester-mill08:38 Wednesday 19th June 2013
Bigger Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: In yesterday’s show we were discussing the prospect of 750 new homes being built on the outskirts of Godmanchester. The development called Bears Croft has been strongly opposed by local residents, and many of the town, district and county councillors too. Councillor Colin Hyams said yesterday he recognised that new homes are needed, but that they shouldn’t be built now, on the planned location near the A1198. This is what Colin had to say. (TAPE)
COLIN HYAMS: I moved up here about twelve years ago, into a house that was twenty three years old. And we need houses. I want my kids to have houses, and everybody else does. But let’s do it properly. Let’s not put them where .. it’s the wrong place and the wrong time, ie get the A14 up, and let’s look at how we can cope with it. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Well the developers Fairfield have finally got back to us. My producer Samantha Dalton is here. What have they said Sam?
SAMANTHA DALTON: Morning Paul. Well they sent us a long statement explaining their position, and addressing some of the concerns raised by Cllr Hyams yesterday as we were just hearing. On local infrastructure and service issues, the developers say the planning application will deliver a range of new services and infrastructure, including a new primary school with early years provision, and land for future expansion if required. In addition, they’re providing funding to increase secondary school capacity and improvements to health services locally, and new employment space, a business park perhaps, to provide opportunities for local businesses. A new centre to meet the day to day shopping needs of residents and better bus services are also on the cards.
PAUL STAINTON: Now one of the biggest concerns that Colin makes yesterday was the volume of traffic using the A14 and all those surrounding roads like the A1198. Are they addressing any of those concerns?
SAMANTHA DALTON: Well they say they have. Fairfield have been working with the District Council, the County Council and Highways Agency obviously, they manage the trunk roads, to ensure key traffic and transport issues are addressed. They say detailed technical assessments have been fully scrutinised by the relevant authorities, and show that development can be accommodated on local roads. With regard to Highways Agency, that’s the agency responsible for managing the A14, they require the development to have a minimal impact on the trunk roads, and Fairfield say they’ve agreed a strategy with the Council and the Agency to ensure that this indeed the case. And a range of safety and accessibility improvements are also being discussed for the A1198, and other key locations in the local area.
PAUL STAINTON: Colin also said that local opinion has not really been taken into account. Did the developers agree with that?
SAMANTHA DALTON: Well not really. (LAUGHS) Quite frankly Paul, no. They said they undertook an extensive programme of pre-application consultation with the Town Council and local community before they submitted the planning application back in April 2012. This included two sets of public exhibitions in 2011 and 2012. They say they put adverts in the local press, commissioned the production and delivery of flyers to over 3,000 properties in the local area to publicise those exhibitions. Three rounds of formal consultation on the planning application have been held, and there have been meetings with the Town Council and local residents group GRAB. So it seems as far as they’re concerned, they’ve done plenty to ensure the public have all the facts.
PAUL STAINTON: Sam, thank you for that. That’s what Fairfield have had to say about those proposed new homes just outside off Godmanchester