Cambridge City Council election 2016 – the city’s housing crisis

handwringing08:11 Tuesday 3rd May 2016
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: Cambridge City Council is under Labour control at the moment. How much do you think local politicians can do about this housing crisis?
SOPHIE BARNETT LABOUR: Well I think Cambridge City Council has already done quite a lot, but there’s obviously the national restrictions that we’re facing. So in terms of council housing, not being able to build enough. But what Labour have managed to do in thr two years that they’ve been in is to build a lot more council housing. They’ve bought back some land that had previously been sold and built council housing on it.
DOTTY MCLEOD BBC: So when you say a lot more council housing, how many properties are we talking about?
SOPHIE BARNETT LABOUR: I think it’s around 100, but I’m not sure of the exact figure.
DOTTY MCLEOD BBC: That’s nothing though is it, in the context of the number of people who want affordable homes.
SOPHIE BARNETT LABOUR: No and I think it’s really unfortunate with the national policies that we’re unable to borrow against the housing stock that we’ve currently got. So it means that you can’t get the finances up to build more housing.
DOTTY MCLEOD BBC: And you blame who for that?
SOPHIE BARNETT LABOUR: The national government really.
DOTTY MCLEOD BBC : OK. Let’s go to Roy then standing for the Conservatives. Sophie says it’s your party’s fault.
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South Cambridgeshire Local Plan changes approved

“I am very concerned about the flooding on that site, for surface water and for the ecology aspects of that site.”

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?
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Milton Road trees at risk from Cambridge City Deal plans

There are plans to completely redesign both Histon and Milton Roads to improve access for buses and bikes

blossom07:08 Thursday 4th February 2016
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DOTTY MCLEOD: If you live on Milton Road in Cambridge you’ve probably seen these signs that have appeared all the way down the street saying “SAVE OUR TREES”. The notices have been put up by members of the Milton Road Residents’ Association, as they believe plans to change the road could mean four out of every five trees there are lost. We went out and asked people what they thought of the plans.
PUBLIC ONE: We live in the area. We feel very very strongly we want to save them at all costs. Many times they have tried to demolish the trees, and they have failed. And I think they should be preserved. It makes this place look really beautiful, especially in the Spring with the blossom out.
PUBLIC TWO: I’ll get on to my pet subject. I know the last project they did here was actually create the cycle path, to save actually doing other amendments to the road. But then the next problem is the cyclists don’t use the cycle path. That would save one of the traffic problems and help save our trees.
PUBLIC THREE: Well I think things have to progress. As long as it doesn’t become a motorway.
PUBLIC FOUR: You come in May, the blossom here is beautiful. It makes this road beautiful. So ..
PUBLIC FIVE: I understand Cambridge has got to expand. I understand that. This is a key route in and there’s a lot of traffic on here, but the changes that are proposed aren’t going to benefit the residents. We’re just going to get stuffed basically.
PUBLIC SIX: it depends really on how much it’s going to change the road and make it better, and how much we lose more of the trees, environmentally for oxygen and that, and also for looks.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Well our reporter Julia Greenaway is on Milton Road for us this morning, and Julia, you’ve been taking a look at these plans for changes to the street.
JULIA GREENAWAY: Yes. You can probably hear it’s actually quite busy along Milton Road this morning. Anyone driving this way just can’t help but notice those signs that you’ve mentioned. They’re attached to most of the trees down here using a piece of string. So this is one of the key routes into Cambridge that the City Deal board is proposing to develop, to improve congestion and access into the city. There are plans to completely redesign both Histon and Milton Roads to improve access for buses and bikes. Here on Milton Road one of the ideas is to have two bus lanes running down the middle of the road, with cars on the outside of those, followed by raised cycleways and then finally pavements. But in order to put in these extra lanes the road here would need to be widened, so that means getting rid of most of the trees and verges, which many of the people living here aren’t happy about, hence the “SAVE OUR TREES” posters. They’re also concerned about the extra noise and vibrations from the traffic, and argue that they won’t see any benefit from the buses coming down Milton Road.
DOTTY MCLEOD: And Julia, the save Our Trees campaign, it has got some backing from local politicians.
JULIA GREENAWAY: The Labour Party in Cambridge who are the ruling party on the City Council has produced a leaflet saying “City Deal – we are listening”. The leaflet says they agree two bus lanes aren’t needed on Milton Road, and trees and green spaces should be kept. Although this is a good endorsement for the campaigners, it’s not the City Council’s decision. That’s down to the City Deal executive, which is also made up of councillors from South Cambridgeshire Council and the County Council too.
DOTTY MCLEOD: And when can we expect some kind of decision on this?
JULIA GREENAWAY: Well the proposals are out for consultation at the moment. If you live in the nearby areas you’ve probably had a leaflet through your door explaining all the plans, and inviting you to have your say. That consultation will end on Monday 15th February. The results will then go back to the City Deal board to be discussed. We’re not expecting building work to start on any of these projects until next year at the very earliest.
DOTTY MCLEOD: And there is actually a meeting to talk about these issues tonight.
JULIA GREENAWAY: It’s the North Area Committee Meeting. This type of meeting happens regularly all over the county, and they’re an opportunity for people to raise concerns to the police and to the Council about what’s happening in their neighbourhood. But there is only one item on the agenda at this evening’s meeting, and that’s the City Deal plans. Councillors and officers will be there to take part in a public question and answer session for both the Histon Road and Milton Road proposals. That starts at six o’clock tonight at Chesterton Community College. And if previous meetings on this subject are anything to go by, we can expect a full house and plenty of interesting debate.
DOTTY MCLEOD: Julia Greenaway, thank you very much. On Milton Road for us this morning. Well Gerri Bird is the vice-chair of the North Area Committee, which is holding its meeting tonight, and joins me now. Morning Gerri.
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Council will deliver on its own terms

Developers encouraged to recognise that village integrity must be maintained.

waterbeach17:12 Thursday 14th January 2016
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

DAVE WEBSTER: South Cambridgeshire District Council have refused planning permission for 144 homes in Waterbeach. The decision was made when a planning committee met yesterday. That committee also turned down another planning application for up to 76 homes in Foxton, 40% of which would have been affordable housing. Well with the pressure on housing in South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge at unprecedented levels, let’s find out why, because we’re being told that new homes need to be built. In fact David Cameron recently announced that that’s exactly what he would be doing and is completely behind the project, especially affordable homes. Well councillor Lynda Harford, who’s the Chairman of the Planning Committee on South Cambridgeshire District Council and also represents Cottenham joins us now. Good afternoon Lynda.
LYNDA HARFORD: Good afternoon Dave

“..they have these loopholes as you call them to jump through and bring forward these speculative applications.”

DAVE WEBSTER: So these planning applications, let’s deal with the one in Waterbeach first of all. Why were those 144 homes refused?
LYNDA HARFORD: You will recall that the original application for that site was refused by Planning Committee, who were trying at that point to support a South Cambs policy, or draft policy in the Local Plan, which wanted that piece of land to remain green open space, to protect the integrity of Waterbeach village from any huge new development. So those original 90 were given permission at appeal by an Inspector. Yesterday Committee was asked to consider a new proposal from the developer, increasing the amount of housing there by some 60%. So going from 90 houses to 144.
DAVE WEBSTER: So did you find this was just too much, it was just pushing you over the edge?
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South Cambs invests more in housing activity to generate income

17:41 Wednesday 4th November 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

mark_howellCHRIS MANN: Plans to expand a South Cambridgeshire District Council-owned housing company are being considered. It follows an eighteen month pilot project, which revealed that hundreds of thousands of pounds could be generated and then re-invested in services for people in the district. Let’s find out more now, and speak to councillor Mark Howell, who is the Cabinet Member for Housing on South Cambs District. Mark, welcome.
MARK HOWELL: Good evening Chris.
CHRIS MANN: This pilot project, how’s it gone?
MARK HOWELL: Very well. What we’ve been doing is looking at all different strands that we can possibly imagine. We have been renting houses out, and also buying houses, selling them on, and renting them out for other people. And we’ve been generating money. It’s been very very good.
CHRIS MANN: Who benefits from this?
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Cambridgeshire budget proposals – Leaders react

10:21 Tuesday 27th October 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

SUE DOUGAN: Cambridgeshire County Council as you’ve been hearing today has announced its budget proposals for the next financial year. The authority has to save over £40 million. Here’s the savings being proposed. Over £9 million to be taken from the care budget that supports vulnerable adults and older people; £1.4 million taken from supporting bus services across Cambridgeshire; the mobile library service could be removed. That would save £160,000; over half a million to be taken from the winter maintenance budget; further cuts to school crossing patrols, libraries, children’s centres. Even things like street parking fees could increase in Cambridge. We have with us today the Conservative councillor Steve Count, who is Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council. Steve good morning.
STEVE COUNT: Good morning Dotty.
SUE DOUGAN: Good morning. It’s Sue actually. Good morning.
STEVE COUNT: Oh sorry Sue.
SUE DOUGAN: That’s quite all right. Ashley Walsh is alongside us as well, the new Labour Leader on Cambridgeshire County Council. Ashley hello.
SUE DOUGAN: We’ve got Pete Reeve joining us from UKIP as well. Pete good morning.
PETER REEVE: Good morning.
SUE DOUGAN: I thank you all for joining us here on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. Let’s start with you Steve first of all. As Leader of the County Council, what were your reactions when these budgets were announced, when this figure was achieved?
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An asset of community value

tom_pear_tree_gainsborough17:41 Wednesday 9th September 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

CHRIS MANN: A former pub in South Cambs has been saved from development as a house, after a planning inspector backed the Council’s decision to refuse it planning permission. The Pear Tree in Hildersham had been listed as an Asset of Community Value by villagers, but it doesn’t look like they’ll be getting their local back just yet. To find out more I’m joined by councillor Nick Wright from South Cambs, He’s the District Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development. Hello Nick.
NICK WRIGHT: Good evening Chris.
CHRIS MANN: And someone who’s been working to try and save pubs. So when did the pub close?
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Final approval for Cambridge North Station

cambridge_north_station17:10 Wednesday 19th August 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

CHRIS MANN: Plans by Network Rail for a new station in North Cambridge finally got the go-ahead. It means the new station will be built on land at Chesterton Sidings, and Network Rail say work will begin in the autumn. Let’s bring in councillor Aidan Van de Weyer, who sits on the Joint Development Control Committee. This involves the County Council, the City Council and his own South Cambs. Aidan, afternoon.
AIDAN VAN DE WEYER: Good afternoon.
CHRIS MANN: So you’ve approved Network Rail’s plans.
AIDAN VAN DE WEYER: We did indeed. Yes. I was very happy to do so. It’s excellent.
CHRIS MANN: Excellent because why?
AIDAN VAN DE WEYER: Because it’s a hugely significant bit of infrastructure that’s going to transform the whole of this part of Cambridge and beyond to be honest. Because it provides excellent links from North Cambridge to the villages, to London. It’s a key part of the Northstowe development, because the Guided Bus connects directly to the station, to the door of the station. And it’s just next to the Science Park, St John’s, the Business Park, with very good links to them.
CHRIS MANN: What some people are concerned about is OK, we need an extra train station and even more public transport for people. But it’s the parking. It’s the access, and what it’s going to do to the roads around it. Because you know what already happens at existing stations like both Peterborough and Cambridge. So what’s your answer to that?
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