Massive development advanced for the Waterbeach Airfield site

waterbeach07:41 Thursday 18th September 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: A meeting in Waterbeach this evening will give residents the chance to find out more about proposed development in the village. Members of South Cambridgeshire District Council, the Ministry of Defence and developers Urban & Civic will be at Waterbeach School to talk about plans for thousands of homes on the site of the former barracks. Michael Williamson is the Chair of Waterbeach Parish Council. Michael, why did you call tonight’s meeting?

MICHAEL WILLIAMSON: Yes, well I think we really want to get answers. We’ve known about proposals for development at Waterbeach Airfield for a very long time, and in fact in the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan there are proposals to put eight to nine thousand houses on Waterbeach Airfield, plus the surrounding Green Belt land or green field land, but not for another twenty years. Now we discover that the Ministry of Defence have brought in a development manager, who are wanting to put six and a half thousand houses on the Airfield site and actually put the planning permission in within two years, which is a very very different kettle of fish from what we were expecting. We’re not very happy about this size of development right on our doorstep anyway. The village and the local community are very much against a development of this size, which is getting on for the size of Ely, north of our village and indeed on a road which simply cannot cope with the additional traffic which will be generated by such a development.
DOTTY MCLEOD: You’re talking about the A10 there.
MICHAEL WILLIAMSON: The A10. Absolutely. It’s already a car park virtually every morning. And we really want to get answers, so we’ve asked these people along to come and talk to us and tell us what their plans are, so that we can react in the way that the community wants to react.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Oh gosh, that sounds a bit ominous. I hope none of the other people who are going to be there are listening Michael.
MICHAEL WILLIAMSON: (LAUGHS) I think this meeting is very much finding out, getting the facts, understanding what the plans are, and then we can, as a community, decide how we want to respond to all of this pressure on putting development so close to us.
DOTTY MCLEOD: It would be good to have information, wouldn’t it? Because it’s always worst when you don’t know what you’re staring down the barrel of.
MICHAEL WILLIAMSON: That’s exactly right. We only discovered .. I think Urban & Civic who are the developers, and they’re the people who are currently developing Alconbury Airfield, they were only appointed probably a couple of weeks ago. So it’s all very very new to us. These are new plans of much earlier large development, and we simply want to find out as a community what’s going on, so that we can understand how we need to respond to these huge pressures of development.
DOTTY MCLEOD: What is the feeling like in the village about these new plans?
MICHAEL WILLIAMSON: There’s been proposals for developing Waterbeach Airfield for twenty years, and consistently the village has said we do not want to see development of this size so close to us. It will completely dominate the current village, and it will as I say cause major problems of transport on the A10. I think that we did say when the Army vacated the Airfield that we would be prepared to see a small development, maybe a thousand or so houses there on what was currently the built-up area. But these vast developments really give us huge concerns about the future of our community and the nature of the community in the future.
DOTTY MCLEOD: And the meeting tonight Michael, can anyone come along?
MICHAEL WILLIAMSON: Yes, it’s an open meeting for residents of Waterbeach. In the School at seven thirty. And hopefully we’ll be able to get some facts then.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Michael, thank you for coming on. And that takes place at Waterbeach School at seven thirty. That was Michael Williamson the Chair of Waterbeach Parish Council, holding a meeting tonight. And the man wants answers from these people. He wants answers from the District Council, the Ministry of Defence and the developers Urban & Civic.