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Northeast Cambridge Community Forum

Northeast Cambridge Forum

Alongside Cambridge City Council, we have been running community forums for several years. These are open, public meetings bringing together stakeholders, residents, planners and developers to discuss and disseminate information regarding the development of specific major growth sites. They have no powers, funding or voting rights, but help dialogue between those building and those most affected by the development. They have been chaired by local, or relevant Councillors, and assisted by senior officers at the meetings. Notes and presentations of the meetings are recorded and posted on the local authorities' webpages.

Northeast Cambridge (NEC) includes 182 hectares of brownfield land, just a 15-minute cycle ride from the city centre. Funding from central government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund to relocate the Cambridge Waste Water Treatment Plant creates a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the area and create a significant new city district. The Greater Cambridge Shared Planning service are developing an Area Action Plan for the North East Cambridge area to guide all development in the area over the next 20 years. 

Due to the cross-boundary nature of the proposed developable area, we are working together with City Council to facilitate this community forum, which aims to provide a space for local residents to engage with developers and public sector bodies about NEC.

The forum has an alternating Chair and includes representatives from:

  • South Cambridgeshire District Council
  • Cambridge City Council
  • Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service
  • Cambridgeshire County Council 

Sign up to hear more about Northeast Cambridge

The forum event on 28 February has been moved to a written update - This will be published below,  in the week commencing 26 February. 

Next Meeting: Wednesday 17 July

Time: To be confirmed
Format: To be confirmed

If you would like to ask a question or would like a specific topic or theme discussed, please email this request to north@scambs.gov.uk

Aims

  • to provide residents and stakeholders with regular updates regarding strategic development sites
  • to provide an opportunity for residents and stakeholders to share their interests/concerns with relevant council officers, including those from the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service (‘Planning’) and Sustainable Communities and Wellbeing (‘Communities’) teams, Elected Members, developers and other key stakeholders such as Cambridgeshire County Council and Anglian Water


Scope and purpose

  • The developments covered by this forum those comprising the wider North East Cambridge Area Action Plan site
  • To provide regular, accurate and timely information to residents regarding the above developments
  • To offer an opportunity for residents to raise issues of interest or concern for existing and new communities with a view to enhancing the quality of community life and the environment in the wider North East Cambridge area
  • For council officers to share issues raised by residents with relevant parties and report back responses and/or that appropriate action has been taken
  • To provide information and signposting on planning and growth matters
  • To provide an opportunity for developer/s, residents, community groups, elected members and council officers to engage with each other
  • From time to time, to provide opportunities for residents to be consulted and involved in the planning, co-design and management of associated facilities and services
  • The forum does not have decision-making powers and cannot be held accountable for growth and related issues
  • Minor developments may be covered by this forum from time to time, but the developments listed above will take priority


Structure, management and format

  • The forum will have alternating facilitators representing South Cambridge District Council and Cambridge City Council
  • There will be a maximum of 4 ‘open to all’ formal meetings a year, where appropriate, and other forms of engagement where necessary
  • Venues, where appropriate, will be spread around the different catchment area/s for the new development(s) to ensure all residents have an opportunity to attend
  • The frequency and format of individual meetings will be determined by senior Planning and Communities officers in consultation with the Chair based on the progress of each specific development
  • Meeting dates will be set, wherever possible, on a rolling basis a year in advance
  • Where development sites straddle Local Authority boundaries, the tasks of organising and chairing the events will be shared between South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council (‘shared forums’)
  • A range of methods will be used to deliver the forum. The most appropriate format will be chosen for the meeting in consultation with attendees and in accordance with the circumstances and government guidance available at the time, that is to say in person forums (which will include drop-ins), virtual meetings or a hybrid of these. For virtual meetings Zoom Webinar will be used


Communication and publicity

  • A range of measures will be used to communicate to residents about the forums, including local advertising via flyers, web page, existing parish publications, email and social media
  • For shared forums, online content will be available on both South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council’s websites
  • Where possible and practicable, officers at each Council will upload content within 10 days
  • A rolling agenda will be posted online so residents are aware of proposed future topics for discussion
  • Questions will be posted online so that attendees can see the issues that have been raised and addressed at past meetings
  • Presentations, notes and recordings of the meetings will be published online
  • A distribution list will be developed and maintained based on registered forum attendees and any others wishing to be kept informed
  • A registration form will be available on the relevant forum’s web page/s
  • Surveys and feedback mechanisms will be employed from time to time to ensure forums are meeting residents’ needs and to facilitate continuous improvement
  • Agendas will be published no later than 7 days prior to the meeting


Lead Officers

Ryan Coetsee - Development Officer (North), South Cambridgeshire District Council
Julian Adams - Growth Project Officer, Cambridge City Council

Valuing diversity

All delegates attending Forum events must undertake to:

  • Treat all people with respect and act in a way which does not discriminate against or exclude anyone
  • Act in a fair and responsible way to all

Collective responsibility 

All people coming to Forum events agree by their presence that they will:

  • Observe the authority of the Chair or facilitator at all times
  • Listen quietly to and respect the views and experiences of other people contributing
  • Agree to and follow the standard of behaviour expected at each event, according to what is happening at that event (e.g. no interrupting or shouting)
  • Allow others to have equal opportunity and time to share their opinions
  • Not use inflammatory language or behaviour of any kind

If the above values are not met during a meeting or event, the Chair, facilitator or nominated officer may take one or more of the following steps with the objective of restoring order.

Any person making offensive, insulting, threatening, provocative, slanderous or obscene remarks, or who becomes boisterous, or who threatens or harasses any person or property while at a Forum event, will cause the event to be suspended for the shortest period needed to allow order to be restored.

Any person or people causing an event to be interrupted by reason of behaviours identified above, who does so more than once, can be asked to leave the event by the Chair or staff at the event. This can be for a specific length of time to allow the person or people to cool off or for the rest of the meeting or event, depending on the judgement of the Chair or staff present.

Where the Chair believes that:

  • The event has become unmanageable, unnecessarily interrupted, harassed or hindered more than once by the same person or people
  • There has been behaviour which threatens the safety of him or herself or others present, the Chair may opt to suspend the meeting or event until order is restored or to end the meeting, or event, if they feel that it is appropriate
  • Any person or persons causing through their behaviour, any other individual or individuals present at a Forum event to fear for their personal safety may be subject to immediate removal from the event and/or the event premises

Previous meetings 

Q and As and recordings will be uploaded within 2 weeks following each event. Presentations are available on request using the contact email below.

Where: Virtual meeting - Zoom

Attendance: Approximately 20 people

North East Cambridge Community Forum

 

All presentations are available on request, please email this request to north@scambs.gov.uk

Where: Virtual meeting - Zoom

Attendance: Approximately 20 people

North East Cambridge Community Forum

All presentations are available on request, please email this request to north@scambs.gov.uk

Where: Virtual Meeting via Zoom

Attendance: Approximately 30

North East Cambridge Community Forum

Unanswered Questions:

 

Planning

Merlin Place: It is for lab space/café, whereas the parameter plans in the emerging NECAPP say this area is allocated for housing-led development. Do you intend to follow the parameters of the NEC Area Action Plan? Or are you proposing something entirely different?

A: The Proposed Submission AAP has not yet been the subject of publication and consultation; it therefore currently attracts “limited” (for example, little) weight as a material consideration in planning decision making and advice. The Merlin Place application would therefore be determined in accordance with the Council’s development plan, which for this site is the Cambridge City Local Plan (2018) and the County Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2036 (July 2021).

Since hitting net zero by 2030 is the no.1 strategy for the council, why have you not analysed the whole life carbon cost of alternative sites which would not involve blowing up a functioning, recently upgraded sewage plant and replacing it with another one down the road on the most unsuitable site above a chalk aquifer, on Green Belt, at a terrible cost to our planet? Please also note the council acknowledges in the Cambridge City Information pack, dated 20 October 2022 that NECAAP will increase the housing deficit by not furnishing enough houses for the jobs it plans to create. 

A:To be confirmed

Trinity Estates / Cambridge Science Park (CSP)

Residents of Milton are worried that by densifying the employment development at CSP by reducing the parking on site. Milton will be at risk of displacement parking. What will you be doing to prevent your employees parking in Milton?

A: Densification at Cambridge Science Park will need to respond to planning policy regarding the level of car parking.  This is the same for any sites coming forward within North East Cambridge, where sites need to respond to the existing adopted policies in the Local Plan, and in future the AAP.  As part of the wider Greater Cambridge Local Plan process, existing infrastructure is being looked at to determine whether there is a need and opportunity to improve it as part of development proposals.  The evidence base for the emerging AAP sets out a series of transport initiatives and measures which will help to encourage employees to use active and or sustainable transport rather than single occupant car journeys. 

Where car journeys are undertaken, Milton Park and Ride provides an alternative.  Travel from the Park and Ride in the future will be markedly better and more convenient than is currently the case.  The Waterbeach to Cambridge Busway proposal will upgrade Butt Lane to enhance cycle connectively and provide a direct bus link to CSP via the existing Busway, avoiding the A10, A14 junction and Milton Road. Mere Way will be upgraded to provide a highly direct and usable cycle connection.

Question for Jane Hutchins - do you know how many of the companies on the CSP offer apprenticeships (rather than post graduate training), and what proportion of the total work force this represents?

A: Apprenticeships are arranged privately between the employing company, the apprentice and the appropriate college, university, or training provider. The management team of Cambridge Science Park has no visibility of these contracts so, unfortunately, it is not possible to provide an accurate answer to this question. However, it is an interesting point, and we shall be raising this with universities and colleges in the Cambridge city region as and when we meet with them. We shall also consider asking companies about apprentice numbers in our next survey.

Anglian Water

The hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon released as a result of the demolition of the existing waste water treatment plant, decontaminating the site and rebuilding the new plant makes Northeast Cambridge the least sustainable location for a development you could possibly choose. Mott MacDonald has published figures for the carbon emissions for the transfer tunnel alone at 40,000 tonnes of CO2, equal to driving a car 99,000,000 miles. Could you please explain why you persist in claiming that this development has, and I quote, ‘responding to the climate emergency at its heart.’  and will, and I quote, ‘support the transition to a zero-carbon society by 2030’, when this is blatantly not true? 

We have submitted a Carbon Assessment as part of the Environment Statement (ES). An Outline Decommissioning Plan for the existing Cambridge WWTP will be included within the Application. We have worked with the master developers of the existing Cambridge WWTP to help them understand what assets and infrastructure will remain in place. The Carbon chapter of the Environment Statement includes decommissioning of the existing Cambridge WWTP, construction of the proposed site WWTP (embedded carbon in materials), land use change (the net impact land permanently required for the Proposed Development), and operation of the proposed WWTP. Demolition of the existing Cambridge WWTP is not included within Carbon chapter of the ES. The demolition of the existing Cambridge WWTP is not part of the scope of this project, that work will be completed by the future developer and considered as part of a separate planning application. It is likely to include the effects of emissions from plant used in demolition and should consider the re-use of materials including secondary aggregate, recovered steel and other equipment. The wider effects of changing the existing Cambridge WWTP are covered by a separate strategic assessment included as part of the DCO application.

Where: Virtual Meeting - Zoom

Attendance: Approximately 30 

North East Cambridge Community Forum

Unanswered Questions:

TOWN

It wasn't clear if TOWN as an organisation, were acting as general designers, or are specifically interested in promoting facilities for disadvantaged sectors of society.

TOWN are acting as master developers, alongside U+I, and they are responsible for creating the vision for the Core Site. Together with U+I, TOWN will be developing proposals for a site, informed by engagement with the local community, and are responsible for securing planning permission for a project. Once planning permission is obtained, the master developer team will deliver key infrastructure and oversee the delivery of the new buildings on the site, which will likely be delivered by other developers. Both U+I and TOWN are experienced in creating communities that have character – and places that people are passionate about. They are committed to sustainable regeneration, high-quality design, and wide-ranging community engagement.

Their ambition is for the Core Site to be inclusive and diverse, providing a place to start, and a place to stay, with homes for those just starting out, those raising families, people downsizing and others in the later stages of their lives. They want the neighbourhood to reflect the needs of those who often don’t get heard and are committed to delivering a minimum of 40% affordable housing across the entire site. That means delivering over 2,000 new homes, classified as affordable, in Cambridge.

Anglian Water

We desperately need a fixed connection to Fen Road, Chesterton. Since you are already providing a new pipeline between the existing and new site, PLEASE can you consider providing a new pipe from Fen Road, Chesterton. There are approximately 600 residents who rely entirely on septic tanks. This is completely unacceptable when they are 'neighbours' to both existing and new treatment works.

With regards to the enquiry about the possibility of connecting the Chesterton Fen site into the sewerage system as part of the CWWTPR. This has been raised before and the position is unchanged.

Any application for a first-time sewerage connection would need to be made as part of a first-time sewerage, section 101A Water Industry Act 1991 process, rather than as part of the project. To do otherwise would be contrary to our regulatory position and unfair on others who seek to apply for first time sewerage and are required to meet the criteria.

Anglian Water has a statutory duty to consider any new application that is submitted. Previous applications for Chesterton Fen have been rejected at the appraisal stage. The most recent rejection at detailed appraisal stage was appealed to the Environment Agency, and they published their determination of duty report on 10 June 2011. This found that the classification of a “permanent structure” for section 101A purposes does not include static caravans, the existing package treatment plants remain suitable (if they are properly maintained), the existing septic tanks (where possible) can be replaced with cess pools and the overall costs of public sewerage is greater than the alternative private options.

As we have advised before, if any of these criteria has changed, there remains the option for the residents to re-apply for first time sewerage as a result of a “material change”. At present, Anglian Water are not aware of a material change in circumstances at the site. We were aware that Cllr Hazel Smith had engaged with Defra to seek to change the first governing criteria, namely the classification of buildings and permanent structures. As far as we know, no amendment has been made.

The option to apply for a new connection, via our pre-development team, always remains open to the residents. However, this would be, as for other new connections, at their own cost.

 

For those with accessibility needs, YouTube has a "captions" feature that can be enabled when the embedded videos are watched on their platform.

Where: Virtual Meeting - Zoom

Attendance: Approximately 35

Welcome - Cllr Dr Tumi Hawkins

 CCC relocation of Operational Hub – Will Nicholls (Cambridge City Council) and Q&A

 

Brookgate application - Fiona Bradley (Greater Cambridge Planning Service) and Q&A

Merlin Place development – Ian Fleetwood (Cambridge HOK for Kadans) and Q&A 

Core site up-date – Frances Wright (TOWN developers) and Q&A

General Q&A's and meeting close

Unanswered Questions:

Cambridge City Council Operational Hub

How wide is the wildlife/recreational corridor around the first public drain?

At present there are no firm plans for the future management and buffer landscape associated with the first drain.

I see trees on both sides of the drain - will there be public access on both sides?

There will be a linear park on the NEC side of the first public drain, but this is only indicative with no further detail at present. As to the Operational hub side, we are working on providing biodiversity net gain with trees and landscaping as very important components. There wouldn’t be public access onto the operational hub site (other than visiting Officers or staff as pre-arranged) as it is a working depot. 

Area Action Plan

Given that the adopted local plan has a policy on formal open space per every 1000 new residents, where will the sports pitches be for the Northeast Cambridge Area Action Plan area?

The Shared Planning Service is undertaking further work as part of the new Greater Cambridge Local Plan to identify the requirements for new or enhanced formal open space provision to meet existing and future development needs, including the development planned for Northeast Cambridge. This work will include identifying suitable locations for provision and the triggers/timescales for delivery and will extend to matters such as improvements to access.

There is no space provision for a future road bridge across the railway within the current Core Area or Outline Planning for the sidings north of the Station. The reason given was the aim of not increasing vehicle traffic through the NECAAP area. Is this correct?

Provision is to be made for a foot/cycle bridge over the railway north of the aggregates plant. This is to provide a sustainable connection between the river corridor and Northeast Cambridge and vice versa. There is no road bridge planned because the provision of additional through traffic would be at odds with the vision and objectives for NEC to be a low vehicle neighbourhood where walking and cycling are prioritised. 

The potential for a district heating/cooling system had been looked at earlier and rejected. Could a link or reference to that report be made available?

Paragraph 4.2.4 of the NEC Site Wide Energy and Infrastructure Study and Energy Masterplan provides the assessment of the feasibility of a district heating network for Northeast Cambridge.

What provision has been made for the workers and visitors to the new proposed water treatment plant to cycle to work? I see a big junction but no cycle paths. I see a road reclassification for more traffic but not cycle priority. I don’t see cycle connectivity from both sides of the plant or a connection between the villages of Horning Sea and Stow Cum Quay via cycle as a possible upside?

We have passed on these particular points to the Council’s planning case officer who is leading on our response to the Development Consent Order to ensure sustainable travel to and from the new waste water treatment facility by workers and visitors is raised and considered as part of the assessment process.

Transport

Without closing the level crossing, will it be possible to have a rail shuttle service between north and south Cambridge?

The implementation of a north-south shuttle service would increase traffic on the line and thus would certainly increase the 'down time' at the crossing. However, whether this would be considered unacceptable would depend on the frequency of the shuttle service. This would be investigated by Network Rail as part of any feasibility study into such a service.

Will Network Rail help with the cost of any bridges?

The pedestrian and cycle bridge proposed as part of the North-East Cambridge Infrastructure delivery is anticipated to be developer funded. Currently there are no other planned bridges over the railway as part of this development. However, if it were deemed to be appropriate to close the Fen Road level crossing in the future to assist in delivering a rail service between Cambridge North and South, and alternative road bridge would be likely to fall to Network Rail to fully fund.

 

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