Waterbeach Community Forum - 20 October 2021

Where: Virtual meeting - Zoom 

Attendance: Approximately 45 people 

Additional feedback: Following the Forum on 20 October, we did not get a very large cross-section of responses on our survey so we are running this again here and will send out the survey to our contact list. Please do complete this survey and help us to shape future Community Forums.

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

Questions from the meeting follow after the video. If there are any further questions regarding this development, please send these to waterbeach.community@scambs.gov.uk and we will do our best to answer these.

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Presentation timestamp

Questions timestamp

Planning updates: Mike Huntingdon - Principal Planner, Greater Cambridge Shared Planning 03:20 00:16:42
Urban & Civic: Caroline Foster - Senior Development Manager / Rebecca Britton - Regional Director, Communications, Communities and Partnerships 26:41 00:41:10
RLW Estates update: Chris Goldsmith - Managing Direction, Turnstone Estate / Nick Dines - Managing Director, Concilio Comms  00:55:10 00:59:06
Greater Cambridge Local Plan: Jonathan Dixon - Planning Policy Manager, Greater Cambridge Shared Planning 1:00:40 01:10:00
Better Public Transport: Amy Barnett - Senior Transport Planner, Atkins / Paul Van de Bulk - Project Manager, Greater Cambridge Partnership  01:13:52 01:18:52
Level Crossing Proposals: John Grant - Fen Line Users Association 01:27:50 01:31:12


Unanswered Questions

1. Greater Cambridge Shared Planning

A time limit planning condition would be attached to any permission which would require the haul road to cease within a certain time period, and the land restored to open space.   

There will be sewage pumping stations within the new town. Two will be located in key phase 1 of the western half of the development. If the question means Wastewater Recycling Centres (WRC), then there will be no new WRCs within the parish.   

SCDC have previously explained to the Parish Council why they will not be involved in the RLW s106 agreement talks. 

The impact of the new town on the wider landscape was assessed as part of the planning application process for both sites. 

2. Urban & Civic

None. We have already secured a gas connection on site in case it was needed for some buildings, but as part of our commitment to low carbon living and sustainable development, we are looking at no gas supply for homes on site, and house builders are making extensive use of ground and air source heat pumps, alongside site wide renewable energy sources for homes.

While we accept there is a parity aspect to your question, the work to date on how equestrian routes fit in with the wider access strategy has been evolved from our earliest discussions with equestrians at the Vision and key phase stages of the development process to meet their aspirations and needs. That was about ensuring longer loops of riding time, mostly away from more developed areas and with interconnectivity to the wider network of bridleways.

The Lake Loop is more specifically a compact route which includes through woodland and grassland areas, and the busier northern end of the lake, which will have shops and cafes and some sporting activities. This area has not been designed in detail at this stage but may not be as suitable for horses, while the informal path east and west of the lake will not preclude any users. We can perhaps discuss the opportunities and how this can link up to the wider equestrian routes in more detail when we meet on site in the next few weeks.

it is vitally important we have a robust water management system in place and the approach at Waterbeach draws on the natural and historic local approach of ditches and swales feeding into larger watercourses including the lake.

The areas of existing water on site and across the local area do not create huge problems with mosquitoes so we do not anticipate this being a large issue in the new development.

The water systems are also an important part of a natural ecosystem, and many species such as the many types of bat we are designing habitats and dark zones to support, and many of our priority bird species rely on insects like mosquitoes for food. Our blue and green infrastructure plans create a mosaic of spaces for particular habitats and species, with the water bodies particularly supporting amphibians including great crested newt and other insects/invertebrates such as water beetles, pond snails, dragonflies and a nationally scarce, pond skater. These in turn create a robust ecosystem and a net gain for nature through the course of the development.

3. RLW Estates

We are not aware of any specific proposal for a cycle path along the B1047, rather we have suggested to the County Council that they consider some measures to prevent rat-running, such as traffic lights on the Clayhithe Bridge as part of the wider A10 corridor study response. Provision is proposed through the draft section 106 agreement in this regard, as part of the £487,500 contribution for environmental improvements to the villages of Waterbeach, Fen Ditton, and Horningsea, covering pedestrian, cycle and traffic management schemes.

It is not intended that the GCP lend RLW any money. It is proposed that they fund from City Deal monies the baseline relocated railway station subject to RLW providing developer’s match funding by way of provision of land and buildings in respect of enhancements (such as a Park and Ride (P&R) multistorey car park and a station building). That arrangement allows both RLW and U&C to maximise the amount of affordable housing that can be delivered, in the context of the viability assessment work that has been undertaken and independently verified.

The Density and Building Heights Parameter Plan forming part of the basis for the resolution to grant outline planning permission for Waterbeach New Town East shows the area around the station square as “approximately 50% of developable area up to 4 storeys (17m) and 50% of developable area up to 6 storeys (24m).”

As per the full planning permission for the relocated railway station, this will initially be accessed via Cody Road, and eventually via the New Town site as the scheme progresses and the A10 link is in place. Waterbeach village residents will continue to access the station and new village station car park via Cody Road or Bannold Drove (for pedestrians and cyclists).

The outline planning application included consideration of equestrian users, most notably through the inclusion of equestrian routes on the Access and Movement Parameter Plan. Detailed design of routes within the Waterbeach New Town East scheme will commence once the section 106 has been concluded, in the context of the required design codes in the first instance, with contact therefore envisaged in connection with this next stage of work.

The original proposal was to secure farebox capture from the Department for Transport (DfT) to allow pay back of the cost.  It is now suggested (given the wider benefits in respect of both transport – with the Outline Business Case showing significant public benefit in relocating the station, even without the inclusion of Cambridge South - and housing delivery) that this would be better coming (in part) from direct funding through the City Deal. 

4. Greater Cambridge Local Plan

We know that water is an absolutely critical issue for the Local Plan. We have commissioned independent experts, Stantec, to produce an Integrated Water Management Study which to inform the development of the Plan. We have now published the outline water cycle study and you can read it in our document library.

We have been very clear in our First Proposals that at present, plans for new sources of water supply, including potential new reservoirs, are being developed but won’t be built quickly enough to supply housing when it is needed. Without speeding up that process and additional interim action, development levels may have to be capped to avoid unacceptable harm to the environment, including the region’s important chalk streams. This may lead to housing in the area becoming even more unaffordable so that those who work in Greater Cambridge may have to commute from further afield, increasing carbon emissions and congestion. We are hoping for quick and decisive action on this from central government and the water industry.

Policy proposals in the first Proposals consultation would continue to seek high levels affordable housing as part of new developments. Affordable housing on individual site needs to take account of viability, and the Waterbeach new town application had to consider particular costs related to delivery of the new community and the range of infrastructure it would need. For a development of this scale viability reviews are factored into the development at certain stages, to allow the amount of affordable housing to increase if viability allows.

We want to highlight the opportunities to take part in the Greater Cambridge Local Plan First Proposals consultation, which will shape development in this area over the next 20 years. We really value input from our communities into this important process.

5. Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership

Cottenham residents are able (and more than welcome) to respond to GCP consultations.

The GCP are in discussions with the Waterbeach New Town developer regarding the funding and delivery options for relocating the Waterbeach Rail Station, and associated environs including station parking. No agreement has been reached.

The developers have to fulfil their legal obligations as set out in their S106 agreements.  In addition to this, the GCP will engage with each developer to try to optimise the transport infrastructure that is built within their land.

This is not a question that the GCP can definitively answer.  However, the logical aim would be to reach a position whereby bus fares are competitive compared to rail.

5. Network Rail/General Questions

The current public consultation for the Ely Area Capacity Enhancement (EACE) programme includes proposals and options for the Burgess Road crossing. The consultation is open to everyone to respond to until 28 November to submit comments and responses to Network Rail on the proposals being presented. Feedback can be submitted using the online feedback form. Network Rail has received comments from the Waterbeach and District Bridleway Group and their feedback has been formally accepted as part of the consultation.

We expect the Bottisham Road crossing could be down for between 22 and 25 minutes per hour as a result of the Ely Area Capacity Enhancement (EACE) scheme.

We are finalising a report on the Cambridge re-signalling project, which includes proposals for the Station Road level crossing. The report is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Network Rail will share a copy of this as soon as it’s available.

The Ely Area capacity enhancement public consultation on Burgess Drove level crossing includes two options which are presented in the consultation materials. Option 1 retains access for non-motorised users. Option 2 closes the level crossing to all users. We are currently inviting feedback on these proposals from members of the public through the dedicated website.

Cambridgeshire County Council is classed as a ‘statutory consultee’ for this consultation. This means that we have engaged with them throughout the development of the scheme. We would expect the council to voice any concerns directly to us during our discussions with them.

The consultation materials have been published electronically via the project webpage though hardcopies are available upon request by contacting our national phone line 03457 114 141 or emailing elyareacapacityenhancements@networkrail.co.uk

As part of the consultation process, Network Rail is operating a consultation phone line and webchat at the following dates and times:-

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How to chat to us directly

Available between 18 October and 30 October 2021 on the following days and times

Live webchat facility

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10am to 4pm

Wednesday 2pm to 8pm

Speak to one of the team by calling 0800 160 1780

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 2pm to 5pm

Wednesday 5pm to 8pm

Saturday 10am to 1pm


In addition, we have decided to hold local events at the Queen Adelaide Village Hall to provide an opportunity to put questions to Network Rail’s Ely project team. The dates and times of the events are:

Tuesday 2 November (1pm – 7pm)

Thursday 4 November (1pm – 7pm)

Tuesday 9 November (1pm – 7pm)

Thursday 11 November (1pm – 7pm)

The venue’s address is Queen Adelaide Village Hall, 25, Ely Road, Queen Adelaide, Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB7 4TZ.

We can understand the frustration and potential confusion that arises from proposals for level crossings, especially when they are close together, being considered as part of different projects.

It’s worth noting that the different projects may have different reasons for proposing improvements to the level crossings. The Cambridge re-signalling project is considering how to make the railway more reliable by upgrading the signalling system across the Cambridge area. EACE on the other hand aims to increase capacity through Ely, so is considering which level crossings might need to be upgraded to cope with an increase in the frequency of trains.


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