Waterbeach New Town Community Forum: 25 September 2018

This Waterbeach New Town Community Forum meeting took place on 25 September 2018.


1) South Cambs District Council - Waterbeach Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) and Local Plan

2) Waterbeach Parish Council - Initial Response to SPD

3) Waterbeach Community Land Trust


Cllr Anna Bradnam opened the meeting by welcoming everyone to the forum and introduced the officers in attendance from both the district and county council.

Supplementary Planning Document

David Roberts, Principal Planning Policy Officer, South Cambridgeshire District Council gave an overview of the local plan and Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) explaining that this had been found to be sound by the planning inspector subject to amendments and would that it would be taken to Council on the 27 September.

There is a requirement for 19,500 homes to be built between 2011 and 2031 and through consultation a hybrid approach has been taken whereby some of these will be built in villages and some in new developments. The new plan requires an SPD for Waterbeach, the SPD supplements policy SS/6 and must be consistent with the local plan.

The draft SPD sets out how the new town will be a place where people want to grow up and live in, while being a good neighbour to the existing settlements.

The new town is proposed to provide a mix of housing type; in terms of heights, the lowest will be in the area nearest to the existing village and the highest will be in the town centre. There will be areas of green space, including the waterpark planned for the lake area and space for sports provision.

The phasing would take place over the longer-term and the council will be working to bring this forward in line with the local plan.

The SPD is open for consultation until Friday 26 October, there is an Exhibition at the Salvation Army Hall on Station Road, Waterbeach on Monday 8 October from 12.30pm to 7.30pm. Please help to improve the SPD but sending your comments in by email or writing. The question has been asked why the station needs to be moved now when in ten years time there will only be the same number of houses in the new town as are in the existing village now. The timings for the station are not set out in the local plan and are still to be determined, however, it was explained that the station does need to be future proofed to provide a greater level of service.

Initial Response to SPD

Brian Williams and Kate Grant of Waterbeach Parish Council gave a presentation on their initial response to the draft SPD, acknowledging that it is valued and needed and that they will be formally responding to the consultation. Key points included:

  • They are concerned at the number of dwellings proposed, the density and the heights which they feel are not compatible with the fenland setting or comparable with other Fen Edge towns. They felt a figure of 40 dwellings per hectare is more comparable with policy which would equate to 9,000 dwellings.
  • The lack of provision for emergency services within the new town was also raised as a concern by the parish council.
  • The parish council would like to see a green buffer added back in between the village and the new development and that all development traffic must enter the site via the A10. The new access routes from the A10 should be in place before development begins.
  • While supporting active travel there must be recognition that people will need cars, especially the ageing population.
  • Chittering is part of Waterbeach and this must be taken into consideration, the parish council feel that this is being ignored and they also question why no routes for autonomous deliveries are being considered.
  • The parish council would like to be a signatory of the S106 agreement and want to see investment in the existing village facilities recognising that the early residents of the new town will be using them.
  • They are encouraging residents to read and comment on the SPD and send comments to them so they can be included in their response.

Questions were raised around the timings of the planning applications and permissions. We have a view that delivery will be at a rate of 250, however, the developers believe they can deliver more. Clarification was asked as to the meaning of ‘approximately 8 to 9,000 dwellings’. It was explained that the new National Planning Policy Framework states that land must be used well and the density levels proposed are similar to Cambridge. High density should not be considered low quality.

Clarification was requested as to why access from the A10 to the railway station was considered “an overly onerous condition” for the railway station. The representative from Cambridgeshire County Council advised that highways engineers have looked at the model and are satisfied that the arrangements planned for the existing village are acceptable. If the proposed development comes forward then access will be provided off the A10 and there was discussion regarding alternative options including interim improvements at the existing station that could be put in place as well as safety mitigations that would be necessary in the longer term to address safety issues at the existing site. Access from the A10 would require development across land not in ownership of the developer.

Waterbeach Community Land Trust

This was followed by Ian Bracey of the Waterbeach Community Land Trust who outlined the aims of the Community Land Trust explaining that it has been set up to help address the issue of affordable housing for local people or people with a local connection.

After initially scoping a vision they received over 60 expressions of interest and are currently going through the process of legal incorporation. They have 60 members and would like to expand this, requesting that people get in touch if they are interested or to express their views.

It is not just about houses they also want to look at the possibility owning and building local facilities and are beginning the process of engagement with local land owners.

The question was asked as to what is the definition of the local area and if Horningsea could be included. The possibility was also raised as to if there is scope for either RLW or Urban and Civic to provide some land to the trust. This was being explored.

At the end of the meeting there was a period of further questions and Cllr Bradnam also asked what items people would like included on the agenda at future forums. Items suggested include; Transport, Education, Emergency service provision, A10 update, Greenways, A10 cycle path works.

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