New Northstowe Plans Mean More A14 Madness

17:17 Friday 15th July 2010
Drive BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

ANDY BURROWS: Possible changes to the Masterplan for a new town in Cambridgeshire are back on the agenda. Billed as a flagship Government eco-town, Northstowe was due to be built on land near Oakington and Longstanton, just off the A14. There could be a number of potential changes though, to the original plans, including increasing the number of homes by five to ten thousand. We could also see two secondary schools and not one. Independent councillor for Longstanton, Alex Riley, questions the development’s location. (TAPE)
ALEX RILEY: What would you say if your village was about to have a 10,000 home community on its very edge, and that that 10,000 home community was going to be built on one of your only recreational facilities, the golf course, and is going to be very very close to us. And the 10,000 homes, you should realise, are going to be fitted into about one and a half square miles. (LIVE)
ANDY BURROWS: Tim Wotherspoon is the portfolio holder for Northstowe, and Chair of the Parish Council. A meeting was held this week to talk about a number of changes to the original plans. Mr Wotherspoon attended the discussions, and said there was some excitement regarding the talks. (TAPE)
TIM WOTHERSPOON: I guess buzz is perhaps a little bit of an overstatement. Obviously no-one can be in any doubt, as you suggested earlier, Northstowe is definitely back in discussion, following the pause from the economic downturn and so on. And the joint promoters in partnership with the local authorities are looking at possible revisions to the Masterplan, and these are works in progress. And we’ve been having a series of meetings of the Northstowe Parish Forum, including a workshop to look at how the Masterplan might be moved forward, about two months ago. And on Wednesday evening we were presented with some of that work that has been done in the interim. (LIVE)
ANDY BURROWS: That was Tim Wotherspoon, portfolio holder for Northstowe and Chair of the Parish Council. Meanwhile, Sebastian Kindersley isn’t convinced about the Northstowe plans. He’s the Group Leader of the Liberal Democrats at South Cambridgeshire District Council. The main reason why he feels it won’t go ahead is because plans to expand the A14 have been shelved. And he feels the two issues are interlinked. (TAPE)
SEBASTIAN KINDERSLEY: I think you need to ask your listeners whether they would think it was a good idea to build a single extra house anywhere near the A14 at the moment, with nothing happening on the A14. The plans apparently promise the delivery of the first houses at Northstowe in early 2014. There won’t be anything, even if the Government says today let’s go ahead with some kind of proposal on the A14, it’s very unlikely that it will have actually happened by the time the first houses are proposed to be occupied at Northstowe. I really do think that people have got to actually be realistic about what they are proposing to do. These two projects are inextricably linked. So we’re talking about Northstowe, but we’re not talking about the A14. It sounds like madness. (LIVE)
ANDY BURROWS: Sebastian Kindersley that was.