Sewage Works Development Update - the NECAAP forum


As residents will hopefully be aware, the Councils are in the process of preparing for the potential development of around ~7000 homes on the current site of the sewage works near to Cambridge North.

How wil this happen?  How will decisions about the shaping of this take place?

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The early steps are to develop what is called a "planning framework" - link here to the formal Council page - and we are ensuring that we input into this, both from our own perspective and to get input from you.

The first step was whether or not a Councillor chaired the meeting - setting the agenda, running the meetings - or whether this was left to officers.

Lib Dems feel strongly that we are there to make sure the process is transparent and residents views are properly representd, so proposed a Councillor chair.  At this point Labour decided they wanted one too.  After some arguing, I (Cllr Ian Manning) proposed a joint chair to reflect that this should be party neutral work.

Eventually this was accepted and Ian Manning and Kevin Price (Labour, City) were selected as joint Chairs.

Officers presented on otherall situation:  

Answers on initial questions:

1. Need land ownership - apparently exists in AAP - point us to it please.

A map and accompanying table showing the land ownership extents and general land use is provided in the Issues & Options draft of the AAP at pages 60 - 62https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/media/7003/north-east-cambridge-area-action-plan-issues-and-options-consultation-report.pdf

2. Map of Area overlaid on wards/divisions

Again, there is a map in the Issues & Options draft of the AAP that shows the Wards on and surround NEC on page 63.

3. Time schedule for everything in the process

We will share with the Forum, ahead of the next meeting, a programme showing the high level programme for preparation of the AAP alongside the Development Consent Order process for relocation of the Waste Water Treatment Centre.

4. Aggregate noise reduction - Fen Ditton

While a noise assessment is being undertaken, this focuses on road and rail noise and is being delivered inhouse by the team in Environmental Services.  We are discussing with landowners that neighbour the aggregates railhead about the commissioning of a specific environmental study, which would consider noise, vibration, dust, HGV movements etc and potential options for mitigation. We will keep you updated on that and will bring the findings of both studies to a future Ward Members Forum.

5. Comparison to CB1 - need to follow up what was different

Agreed. We are discussing with colleagues an ‘internal review’ of CB1 to add to the lessons learnt log. We may then broaden this out to include a further critique by members of the design review panel.

6. How to prevent selling off plan in bulk and remaining empty

We understand there are national initiatives being advanced that seek to deter foreign investment in UK homes. This follows the closing of the loophole that enabled avoiding the paying of capital gains tax. Other initiatives being considered include the Australian model that requires referral to a foreign investment board and/or rules that require new homes to be marketed to local buyers first alongside a doubling of council tax for long term vacant homes and second homes. Unfortunately, anything in the AAP would have to be voluntary upon developers.

If selling housing off-plan in bulk and/or properties remaining empty is an issue across Greater Cambridgeshire, then this may be better raised and addressed through the Combined Authority or by the Housing Strategy for Greater Cambridgeshire, providing a solution to matter across the area rather than just in respect of NEC.

7. Car parking - assumptions/issues/learn lessons of Orchard Park

The assumptions on car parking is set out in the Mott’s Transport Study for the AAP.  This is will be the subject of a specific briefing with you. The draft AAP will provide the detail on how parking is to be implemented, managed and enforced. We have the lessons learnt log, which includes Orchard Park and we will have regard to this in the AAP policies.

8. More details on school place planning - which led to no secondary school - do we want to push for a secondary school?

There is a sequence of events that needs to happen before we have a more definitive picture of the school requirements to serve the new development at NEC, including determining the quantum of residential development to be provided, the mix of housing, its phasing in relation to school place capacity forecasts in the surrounding area, and final numbers of school places required overall.  We continue to discuss schools provision to serve NEC with County colleagues, including investigating more innovative approached to design and delivery. A paper is being prepared on education and we intend to circulate this for your consideration and discussion before it is finalised.

9. List of when the points in the evidence list will be available

We are preparing a more detailed work plan for each of the evidence base documents which we will circulate before the next meeting. However, this will be a ‘working document’ as changes to the timetables are typical due to numerous matters such as procurement issues, resourcing, scope creep, and ensuring input and engagement of stakeholders etc.  


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