Government creating "second class" housing for city

August 19, 2009 9:58 AM
Cllr Ian Nimmo-Smith

Ian Nimmo-Smith

Cambridge City Council leader, Ian Nimmo-Smith has warned that the government is creating "second class" housing in the city after it gave the go-ahead for hundreds of new homes on the northern fringe.

He has attacked the decision to back building 220 additional houses at Orchard Park and 1,100 on the NIAB "extra site", between Huntingdon Road and Histon Road, claiming residents moving into the new homes risk having to "make do with a second class environment".

Cllr Nimmo-Smith claims that the high standards for sustainable housing that the city council is striving for in other parts of Cambridge are being ignored on these sites.

He said the endorsement of these sites by a government inspector was based on "a short term view, too much influenced by the current economic climate".

"The inspector takes an over-optimistic view on how easy it will be to overcome problems of road noise and atmospheric pollution, and acquiesces in inadequate provision of public open space on-site," he said.

"There is a risk that future residents will have to make do with a second class environment on these sites."

Addressing the issues of noise and pollution with regard to Orchard Park, the inspector's report says that air quality results are within "health-based standards". The widening of the A14 will reduce congestion on the road and "car emission levels generally are falling", it says.

The widening of the A14 might potentially increase noise, the report says, but this will be "accommodated by the provision of a quieter running surface".

The report does not address the issue of noise or air quality in relation to the NIAB "extra site" but acknowledges that there will be added traffic congestion. This can be minimised by improvements to the local road system, the inspector has decided.

"These sites fall well below the standard we would expect for Cambridge," added Cllr Nimmo-Smith. "But the government has turned a blind eye to the risk factors to satisfy its own agenda and I deplore its actions."

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