17:18 Thursday 13th March 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
[C]HRIS MANN: South Cambs Local Plan was passed today, in spite of a vigorous campaign by people in Cambourne and Bourn, because of the development that is planned there. It’s a plan to provide 22,000 new homes, and it’s said 19,000 much needed new homes right across the county. It’s been submitted to the Government for independent examination. Pippa Corney is the Cabinet Member for Planning on South Cambs District Council. Hello Pippa.
PIPPA CORNEY: Hello.
CHRIS MANN: What have you agreed today?
PIPPA CORNEY: Well we’ve basically agreed the Plan, that it’s sound, and it will now go forward to the Inspector. So as you said, this is for 19,000 new homes around South Cambs.
CHRIS MANN: Very ambitious.
PIPPA CORNEY: Well it is, but we are an area that’s growing, and we’ve done the figures, and this is the number we think we need.
CHRIS MANN: What about the opposition? You’ve not taken into account their objections? Or have you?
PIPPA CORNEY: We have absolutely listened, and I think the vote today you will see was quite close. And no Member makes this decision lightly. It is a big decision to take. We’re always going to get opposition where we’re talking about large numbers. But I have to say I take my hat off to Stop B.A.D. I thought they mounted a brilliant campaign.
CHRIS MANN: And how has it changed what you’ve done though? In what way have you listened?
PIPPA CORNEY: Well we have listened. We can’t always agree with everybody. At the end of the day, we’re never going to get a consensus. Wherever we’re talking about large development, it will always bring up some large response, or large numbers of responses.
CHRIS MANN: Des O’Brien from that campaign is with us now. Hello Des.
DES O’BRIEN: Hello. How are you?
CHRIS MANN: I’m fine, thank you. What about you? You’re disappointed, presumably.
DES O’BRIEN: Disappointed yes, but not entirely surprised. One thing I’ve learned over the course of the last nine months being involved in this campaign is that nothing is what it seems.
CHRIS MANN: Why do you object so strongly?
DES O’BRIEN: For many reasons. And I am not absolutely, and nor is the Stop B.A.D. campaign group absolutely against the number of houses that South Cambridgeshire Council tell us that they need. I think that it would be wrong of us to make suppositions about the number of houses that are needed, because we would need to go into that. But it’s where the houses are going to go that we have a problem with. I think there’s a lot of talk about sustainability. There’s a lot of talk about the requirement to reduce the need to travel in cars. But these plans are just going to increase the need for people to drive in cars. That may suit …
CHRIS MANN: Well isn’t this just nimbyism?
DES O’BRIEN: .. people would be in traffic jams longer.
CHRIS MANN: Isn’t this just nimbyism Des?
DES O’BRIEN: It’s not at all nimbyism, because Cambourne has been so close to Bourn. We’ve accommodated Cambourne. It’s the biggest new development that South Cambridgeshire has seen, 4350 houses. So to be accused of nimbysim is I think completely unfair. It’s about putting the houses where they’re needed. This part of Cambridgeshire isn’t going to get any new jobs. Papworth is going to close. The new jobs are in Cambridge city, and the new jobs are to the south of the city.
CHRIS MANN: Well let’s put that to Pippa. Your response to those accusations there?
PIPPA CORNEY: Well we have already taken large chunks of Green Belt out. There’s no doubt about it that the edge of the city would be more sustainable. But most of it is sitting in Green Belt, and actually there was even more opposition to us removing any further great chunks out of the Green Belt.
CHRIS MANN: And what about the jobs? Are they really going to be in your area?
PIPPA CORNEY: Well that are in the area. They’re not all in Cambridge city, but yes, some of them are.
CHRIS MANN: Des O’Brien?
DES O’BRIEN: The truth is that they’re looking to increase the number of houses and people in this area. In the ward of Bourn in 2001 there were 2,800 people. By 2031 we’ll have 20,000 people.We will not have anything like that number of increase in jobs. We’ll be talking about increases in job numbers in the hundreds, not in the tens of thousands. So putting all the people where the jobs aren’t means that all those people have to get into their cars and drive to work, because the transport infrastructure doesn’t allow for trains. It doesn’t allow for any substantial upgrade ..
CHRIS MANN: Let me put that to Pippa. Is that something you looked at? Is that a concern?
PIPPA CORNEY: It’s absolutely what we looked at. Talking about the transport infrastructure, we are going to be looking at trying to improve the .. what we will be improving the (A)428, and getting a more sustainable mode of travel into the city.
CHRIS MANN: OK. We have to leave it there. Thank you both for joining me.