City to challenge Government plan for extra 4300 dwellings

July 19, 2006 6:00 PM

The Liberal Democrats on Cambridge City Council are set to challenge an additional 4,300 units of housing proposed for the City by a Government planning panel.

The panel set up by the Government Office for the East of England has reported on the Draft Regional Spatial Strategy for the East of England (RSS). The panel has recommended an increase of 4,300 in housing targets for Cambridge above that in the RSS. This would lift the total proposed between 2001 and 2021 from14,700 to 19,000 - a increase of nearly 30%.

Leader of Cambridge City Council, Councillor Ian Nimmo-Smith said:

"The City Council is a strong supporter of sustainable growth in Cambridge and the sub-region.

"We are signed up to the already ambitious housing target of 14,700 to the year 2021 in the Draft Regional Spatial Strategy and were working through Cambridgeshire Horizons to deliver these.

"These figures had been based on exhaustive capacity studies and are consistent with the allocations which are enshrined in the Local Plan that the full Council is set to adopt on Thursday 20 July.

"Those allocations and plans had been robustly defended through the Structure Plan and Local Plan processes and upheld by inspectors.

"I am therefore very concerned that the Examination in Public Panel is recommending a near 30% increase to 19,000, particularly as there does not appear to be an adequate explanation of how this changed figure is derived.

"It is all the more puzzling that there has been no change in the South Cambridgeshire figure -- not because we are advocating any more for South Cambridgeshire (their allocation is already much larger than ours) -- but because it is not possible to look at issues of capacity and deliverability in Cambridge in isolation without considering South Cambridgeshire.

"Provision of new sites on this scale before 2021 would require a further complete review of the green belt, as it cannot be achieved without cramming in further housing on sites already identified, and risking creating the slums of the future along with the traffic jams and pollution of today.

Ian Nimmo-Smith

Leader, Ian Nimmo-Smith, set to challenge extra houses plan

"I will be raising these matters on Friday at the East of England Regional Assembly when the Examination in Public report is to be discussed."

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