'This dreadful decision will change our community forever' - Bassingbourn residents speak out after plans to access ski slope down narrow country lane are approved
PUBLISHED: 08:35 15 September 2016
Danny Loo Photography 2016
People in Bassingbourn have spoken of their disbelief at the decision of South Cambs District Council to grant access to a ski slope leisure facility, based at Bassingbourn Barracks, via the narrow country lane they live in.
The approval – more than three years after the Snowsports Centre was closed following the withdrawal of army personnel from the barracks – was made subject to conditions which include a community liaison group to monitor traffic after concerns were raised, but this brings little comfort to those who live in Guise Lane.
Retired Les Ames led the residents’ action group.
“I just find it absurd,” he said. The village is already congested and this is a single track road.”
Expectant parents Steve and Emma Pickering have just moved to the lane.
“We have a dog and are expecting our first child in the new year,” said Steve.
“We chose our property because of its quiet location and to avoid traffic directlyoutside our home.”
Bryn White lives in the lane with his wife Margaret.
“We are absolutely dumbfounded that this application has passed,” he said.
“We really have no problem about the ski slope being used but we do not want the traffic coming though our village and lane – the ski slope is a leisure facility, but this is where we live!”
There is no pavement or street lights in the road and Pauline Willindale is concerned about the safety of pedestrians.
“Families walk it with prams and pushchairs during weekends and evenings, children ride it on cycles and scooters, people walk dogs and, others just enjoy the peace and quite and wildife all in the knowledge they will be safe. The lane will no longer be quiet so people are at risk.”
And resident Patricia Moore said: “This is a dreadful proposal which will change our little community forever – the planning department knows this but seem not to care.
Parish councillor Steve Sams said: “The amended application by the Snowsports Club contradicts their previous application and indicates an alarming increase in traffic.”
District councillor Nigel Cathcart said: “I regard this as the wrong decision and I argued for refusal at the planning committee.
“There is a perfectly usable entrance through the main gate of the barracks which would avoid causing inconvenience to the residents and even though the Barracks is currently mothballed the ski club should have continued to pursue that option.”
The Crow contacted Bassingbourn Snowsports Centre’s vice chairman Martin Middleton.
“I am very sympathetic to the residents’ plight as we are changing the nature of the lane, but many of their concerns won’t happen or couldn’t happen,” he said.
“Coaches won’t be allowed in as we won’t be able to get them in the car park. “Entry is via a strict booking system, speculative customers won’t be allowed to ski so this would limit the number of vehicles.
“In regards to flooding, if there is bad weather the ski slope wouldn’t open.
“Our busiest times would be Wednesday evenings and Saturdays. Throughout the week, people with disabilities tend to come along for a quiet lesson so it won’t be a constant flow of traffic.
“I was relieved that we have an outcome after more than three years of hard work. It’ll be around 18 months before we are up and running again.”