Lib Dems fight U-turn on housing for NIAB site

September 30, 2008 9:39 AM

Conservative controlled South Cambs District Council has staged a dramatic U- turn and plans to release the second large NIAB site for almost 1,000 homes.

The move comes after the council had previously agreed to protect the land from development.

Now up to 920 homes could be built on the National Institute of Agricultural Botany site.

The decision has been made despite the fact that the district council acknowledges the flood risk of developing the site but dismisses it by claiming there is "no reason why a satisfactory drainage scheme" could not be put forward.

And the council has agreed that public transport should be extended to serve the site, yet the Conservative run county council has still not solved transport issues with the two existing development sites in Castle ward.

In fact, the county has ducked out of its transport responsibilities by farming out strategic thinking on the issue to an external independent commission

The controversial decision has left the city's Liberal Democrats reeling and they have pledged to fight the development "every step of the way".

They claim the agreed sites must be seen to be workable with decent public transport before any more development can take place in the area.

Castle Ward councillor, Tania Zmura said: "In Castle ward we are caught between the Labour Government's incessant demands for housing growth, and the Conservatives' snail like approach to coming up with and debating defensible transport solutions.

"Cambridge can't cope with more growth now. In 2006 it agreed to an ambitious set of plans including the NIAB and NW university sites, but enough is enough. We must make the agreed sites work, with decent public transport

solutions, before contemplating further pressure right next to Castle ward.

"Lib Dems will fight these proposals every step of the way."

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