08:26 Thursday 24th March 2016
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
DOTTY MCLEOD: Mayor developments including a new town at Waterbeach and a new village at Bourn Airfield could now be started quicker. It’s after alterations to a major plan that aims to create thousands of homes and jobs in and around Cambridge were approved. South Cambridgeshire District and Cambridge City councils are jointly working on the Local Plan, which will guide developments up to 2031. Extra work had to be completed on the document after Government inspectors questioned whether the original draft contained plans for enough new homes. Joining me now is the South Cambridgeshire District Council Cabinet Member for Planning Robert Turner. Morning Robert.
ROBERT TURNER: Good morning Dotty. How are you?
DOTTY MCLEOD: I’m very good thank you. So what are the biggest changes that were made to this plan which have now been approved?
ROBERT TURNER: Well actually the Plan is now going to the next stages. The work that we had already done, and then we got our expert consultants to have a look at the work we’ve done again. And it turns out actually that the work that we had done previously is very similar now to what the consultants are saying. It’s actually sound. I think we’ve got to find an extra 500 homes across the two districts, on top of what we needed to do before. So now it’s 33,500 for Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire. And the other piece of what we have to look at was a piece of Green Belt land by the Biomedical Campus near Addenbrookes site. So those are the real two main differences really.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Now let’s talk about that parcel of land first, because that’s the land near the Ninewells Nature Reserve. And plenty of people have said if you allowed Addenbrookes campus to expand onto that land, it will really spoil the nature reserve. So what’s been decided there?
ROBERT TURNER: We are actually going to defer that for further work to be carried out. Our expert consultants put that back into the Plan to say that we need to have a look at that. And they think it is an area which could be developed for the Addenbrookes Biomedical campus site. That actually .. I am very concerned about the flooding on that site, for surface water and for the ecology aspects of that site. So further work needs to be done. It is being deferred at the moment until that work comes back for us, and then we’re going to have another look at that. And then I’ll go back to our Full Council in due course to make a formal decisions whether we d include that in the work, or whether we keep it out.
DOTTY MCLEOD: OK. So that’s still in the works. What about then these big new developments, the new town effectively just on the outskirts of Waterbeach and also Bourn Airfield? It sounds like they could now happen faster. Why is that?
ROBERT TURNER: Well they can start happening faster. We’ve wanted to put some more flexibility actually into the scheme that’s going forward. That is the recommendation again from the independent consultants. So we are looking at maybe bringing those forward. The previous dates were for Bourn Airfield 2022, and for Waterbeach 2026. But the developers are keen to get on there, and one of the reasons I believe is that we haven’t got a five year land supply at South Cambridgeshire District Council, and they can see an opportunity of bringing housing forward. At the end of the day these houses are greatly needed for our area, and as long as we work really closely with the parish councils and local residents, we want to get good schemes coming forward.
DOTTY MCLEOD: OK Robert. Thank you for joining me. Councillor Robert Turner there who is the Cabinet Member for Planning at South Cambridgeshire District Council. I can imagine that that might not exactly be music to your ears if you live in Waterbeach or indeed in Bourn. But yes, those planned new developments could now come about quicker.