MP launches petition against 25,000-home new town
- Credit: Archant
A petition to stop 25,000 homes being built as part of the Greater Cambridge Local Plan has been launched by South Cambs MP Anthony Browne.
The proposed development, which was put forward by Thakeham housebuilders, will see homes forming a new town on land around Barrington, Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth, Foxton, Meldreth, Orwell, Shepreth, Whaddon and Wimpole.
The original plans for the development, revealed in December last year, said the town would be the UK's first 'zero-carbon community', which would include 10,000 affordable homes and biodiversity net gain of at least 20 per cent.
Thakeham chief executive Rob Broughton described the development as "a zero-carbon place with green transport links, where school and work are readily accessible and community facilities are owned by the local residents".
However according to the petition statement, the proposal will cause 'huge environmental damage', add more traffic to already congested roads, and destroy the character of the area's villages and landscapes.
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Mr Browne also stated that there is not enough water to support additional housebuilding on this scale, which was confirmed by analysis by Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service.
Last month, Thakeham confirmed their intention to submit a proposal to the Local Plan after a meeting with Mr Browne, who then launched a campaign to ensure the government was not supporting or planning for another new town in South Cambs - which has already seen three new towns approved at Cambourne, Northstowe and most recently Waterbeach.
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Since the campaign began, the Treasury has eliminated plans for a new town from the Budget, and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government confirmed they have not undertaken any analysis on proposed new towns in the South Cambs constituency, nor do they have plans to do so.
Mr Browne said: “I have done all I can to ensure the Government does not support this development, but I cannot vote against this development – only district councillors can do that. But with your support for this petition, I can ensure they hear the voice of our community.
“By not including these proposals in the Greater Cambridge Local Plan, South Cambridgeshire District Council can send a strong signal to their residents that they are listening to their residents.
“This is an issue that crosses political divides and parish boundaries. By speaking with one voice, we can put a stop to this development.
"Whatever the context, a new town is both unwanted and unsustainable. So lets come together and make our views clear - no one wants this development!"
The petition was launched in a public meeting on Thursday, March 18 to discuss opposition to the proposals, which was attended by local parish councils and the South West Cambridgeshire Action Group. More than 300 residents tuned in to watch the meeting live and answer questions.
If the site is not adopted by the Local Plan, which offers a blueprint for planning policy across South Cambridgeshire over the next two decades, then it becomes much harder for developers to secure planning permission.
The district council's lead cabinet member for planning, Cllr Tumi Hawkins, said: "We're aware of the petition and we always welcome feedback from residents.
"Thakeham's suggesting of a new town is just one of many large site proposals, and as we've said before, we have far more of these than we need. None of them have any planning status now.
"The council will follow the clear processes set by the government to produce a Local Plan for Greater Cambridge.
"That includes receiving and reviewing comments from residents, parishes and others. After considering all comments and evidence for every site selection, we will be publishing details for those that could be taken forward later this year.
"It is worth noting that we have not yet received this Thakeham proposal as part of our call to sites, which is an important part of the Local Plan process."
The petition will be presented to the district council on Thursday, March 31.
To sign the petition go to https://www.anthonybrowne.org/form/thakeham-petition