Babraham Road Traffic will increase by 15%!

The GB1/GB2 Green Belt developments in Cambridge will generate an extra 1900 car journeys a day on Babraham Rd according to an independent report. Transport Report This will increase traffic on the already congested Babraham Rd by 15% – a huge increase considering traffic is already stop-start at rush hours. This will lead to even longer commutes for Cambridge’s long suffering workers.

Shockingly, the report concludes that there are NO LOCAL AMENITIES WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE. The city council will be creating isolated ghettos that are only accessible by car. Schools, chemists, doctors, supermarkets are all further than 800m away.Map

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30 Sep 2013- Petition Handover to City Council

A copy of the petition was handed over to the Cambridge City Council at the Guildhall. 30/09/13 Save the Green Belt petition - Market, CambridgeA group of 30 Green Belt campaigners joined Peter Swallowe in handing over 2000 signatures along with a letter detailing why the Green Belt needs to be protected.

For more information see the article in the
Cambridge Evening News

For a copy of the letter to Councillor Bick see here.

Griff Rhys Jones lends support to Save The Cambridge Green Belt

Griff Rhys Jones, President of Civic Voice – and an active campaigner on civic and planning matters – has signed the Save the Cambridge Green Belt petition and sent a letter of support to the campaign group as a direct result of liaison with local charity Cambridge Past, Present & Future.

In 2012 Griff Rhys Jones visited Cambridge to speak at an event hosted by CambridgePPF about the built environment and its impact on quality of life. At the event he spoke about the changes in national planning policy; the green belt; his work for Civic Voice; and how civic societies can encourage people to engage with their local community.

In his letter to the Save The Green Belt Campaign, Griff said:

To the Cambridge Green Belt Campaign
I am today signing your petition and thereby lending my support your campaign.

For a historic city like Cambridge, the Green Belt plays a vital role in the city’s future in protecting its green setting through preventing urban sprawl. A balance needs to be struck between growth that is essential to maintain Cambridge’s success and protecting the character of the city that makes it so special.

As there are viable alternatives for development, both brownfield sites in the urban area and outside the Green Belt in South Cambridgeshire, these should be developed first. The Green Belt should not be seen as a soft option but should be the option of last resort.

Yours sincerely
Griff Rhys Jones

Monday 30th September – Petition Handover to City Council

At 12:30pm on Monday 30th September the Save The Green Belt Campaign will be handing over the petition to the Cambridge City Council at the Guildhall.

Supporters are welcome to attend and show their support.

Speaking out regarding its protection, local residents comments on the petition website included:

“I believe the volume and scale of house building in Cambridge is excessive in the extreme and completely out of control. The heart and soul of what was once a beautiful city has been destroyed. Just look at the unmanageable traffic. Don’t let the destruction of this city and surrounding area continue.”

“I have lived in Cambridge for nearly eighty years and have seen the countryside disappear at an alarming rate. The Green Belt should be kept for a corridor for wildlife and to stopCambridge from becoming like other large cities and towns, nothing but a concrete jungle.”

“Cambridge is a unique city. Its academic and historic character, its compact size and setting – surrounded by beautiful countryside – is what makes it unique. I chose to live here because Cambridge offers me all this: city amenities, beautiful countryside and thesense of belonging to a caring, ecologically responsible community. Urban sprawl will destroy the unique character of Cambridge – and once it’s gone,we’ll never get it back.”

“As a former long-time resident of Cambridge, I cannot express strongly enough how important the Green Belt around Cambridge is and should not be developed. The Green Belt contributes significantly to the beauty and character of Cambridge as a whole. Development would only bring further congestion to the city and surrounding areas, along with parking, school problems and water issues. …. I should add I was never a homeowner in Cambridge and could not afford to buy. I am acutely aware of the problem facing many people who want to live in Cambridge but despite all this I strongly disagree with any proposed further development of the city’s environs on Green Belt land. Please do not do this terrible thing.”

Peter Swallowe from the Save the Green Belt group said: “The Save the Green Belt group would like to thank everybody who signed the petition. We’re delighted to have gathered almost 2,000 signatures in just a few short weeks. The process used to object to the development of the Green Belt is so complex that many people feel unable to make their opinions and wishes clear to the City Council. We think the petition shows the strength of feeling there is against the destruction of Cambridge’s Green Belt not only here in the city, but all over Britain and worldwide. We hope local councils representatives – and the planning inspectorate – take note.”

Histon Cake Carve Up Success

Histon_cakeWed 4 Sept 2013
The Cake Carve Up event attracted a large crowd of people and the media to The Green in Histon who found out about the Councils’ plans whilst eating their free cake. The Carve Up of the cake resonated well with the carving of the Green Belt.

The event generated 80 new signatures for the Save the Green Belt petition and many people took the Save the Green Belt flyers to display in their windows. HAIVAG also used the event to direct people towards the SCDC road show taking place at the Histon and Impington Recreation Ground 2.30 – 7.30 pm on Thursday 5th September and to highlight the planning consultation currently being held by South Cambs District Council and the City Council.

Cambridge Past Present & Future – PRESS RELEASE

Cambridge PPF opposes development in the Green Belt

Local charity Cambridge Past, Present & Future (Cambridge PPF) continues to question the necessity for the release of yet more Green Belt land for development, arguing that Local Authorities have so far failed to make a compelling case. In the context of the total housing target for the Cambridge sub-region – some 35,000 new homes up to 2031 – the additional 1,000 new properties proposed for Green Belt sites could be assimilated elsewhere in the City and South Cambs.

Robin Pellew, Chairman of Cambridge PPF, said: “While we accept the need for more housing, especially affordable and social, for people who are needed to work in the district, Cambridge PPF believes that no coherent and compelling argument has been presented by either Council as to why any of this housing has to be located in the Green Belt. Both the City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council(SCDC) seem to think that the pressure for more housing in and around the city is itself sufficient evidence to constitute the necessary ‘exceptional circumstances’ needed to justify building on the Green Belt as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). We believe that the Local Authorities have yet to demonstrate what these exceptional circumstances are.”

Although it believes the Green Belt cannot be regarded as sacrosanct, Cambridge PPF feels that releasing more land from the Green Belt should be the option of last resort. The charity feels that, during the 18 years of the plan period, potential sites within the urban area may well come forward that might benefit from regeneration or from re-development and that these should be properly explored before Green Belt land is taken. It must be clear that the Green Belt sites will only be brought into consideration, if at all, when other sites have been developed. If ‘easy options’ are available on Green Belt land, they will reduce the likelihood of more appropriate but ‘difficult’ sites in the City being tackled.

Cambridge PPF also questions the basis for the split in the housing targets between the City and SCDC.
Development land in the city is highly restricted but possible sites for housing are available in the surrounding South Cambs area. A modest shift in the split would remove the need by the City Council to take more Green Belt land.

In addition, the County Transport Strategy proposes rapid transport links along all major corridors into Cambridge, yet the contribution that the nearby Market Towns might make to the housing target for the Cambridge Sub-Region is underplayed in the current thinking.

Continuing, Robin Pellew, said: “The South Cambs draft local plan includes several small areas for housing development that lie outside the boundaries of villages in Green Belt land.Clearly some villages will benefit from additional housing to strengthen their local facilities and services, but the justification for some of these Green Belt developments against the wishes of local residents is not obvious. For example, Impington has a proposal for 25 new houses and Comberton for 90. Simple common sense would dictate that the ‘exceptional circumstances’ required by the NPPF cannot apply for just 25 houses, especially when the justification of ‘limited infilling’ with social housing does not seem to apply. In the context of the overall target for the Cambridge sub-region, 25 or even 90 properties is irrelevant. So why breach the Green Belt and stir up so much antagonism for so little gain? This just looks like bad planning.”

Commenting on the ‘Save the Green Belt’ petition launched by local residents, who are opposing further development in the Green Belt, Robin Pellew said: “It is disappointing that the draft local plans up to 2031 continue to show areas of Green Belt at the City fringe and around some local villages that are proposed for development, despite the requirement of the Localism Act 2012 for local neighbourhoods to have a greater say in planning decisions. It is little wonder that local people feel frustrated. Cambridge PPF endorses the general aims of the campaign as we also oppose the further release of the Green Belt when alternative housing provision is possible. We are in contact with local residents leading the campaign, offering assistance where appropriate. In parallel our Planning Committee is scrutinising the final version of draft local plans and will be engaging directly with both Local Authorities to press our concerns. The Green Belt, although of great importance in protecting the green setting of the historic city, is one of several issues, which we will be commenting on, including business and retail development, green spaces, public transport, and the provision of community facilities. “

The public consultation on the Cambridge City Council draft local plan closes on Monday 30 September. The South Cambridgeshire District Council consultation closes on Monday 14 October. Cambridge PPF encourages everybody who is concerned about the future of the city and the surrounding area to respond to the public consultation, which can be accessed through the charity’s website, http://www.cambridgeppf.org

The “Save the Green Belt Petition” can be accessed via: http://www.greenbeltsos.org.uk