Azara Blog: Labour doesn't want homes to be built on Marshall site

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Date published: 2007/11/30

The Cambridge News says:

Labour city councillors claim plans to build 12,000 new homes could cause transport chaos in Cambridge.

And it wants more assurances from the county council about how it would deal with the extra homes.

Cambridge City council and South Cambridgeshire District Council have drawn up a blueprint for the homes on the eastern edge of Cambridge, called the Cambridge East Area Action Plan.

A planning inquiry has since been held to decide whether the scheme is workable.

But the city Labour group believe the validity of the inspector's report is marred by lack of evidence that the transport implications have been addressed.

Labour councillors will be presenting petitions to both the city and county councils objecting to both the contents of these proposals, and the way in which they are being handled.

Coun Ben Bradnack, deputy leader of the Cambridge Labour group, said 1,600 names have been collected for the petition which calls for the plan to be abandoned until other options have been examined, to solve existing congestion problems first and to rule out new transport or guided bus routes over open spaces such as Coldham's Common.

Coun Bradnack said: "We believe Waterbeach Barracks would be a better option. It has existing transport links, such as the railway station, and there is enough space.

This is not currently included in the local development plan.

"We just cannot see how the Marshall plan can be positive.

Routes into Cambridge are already congested daily and building this many homes is only going to make things worse."

Coun David Bard, South Cambridgeshire District Council portfolio holder for growth and sustainable communities, said: "I am pleased that the inspector has declared the Cambridge East Area Action Plan sound.

"This now enables us, in collaboration with Marshalls airport, Cambridge City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, to move forward on bringing forward this major urban extension of Cambridge, which is an essential component of the growth identified in the structure plan.

Labour has been harping on about this for several years now, but of course they are being ignored because the Tories and Lib Dems have decided this is the way forward. It's unlikely to be quite the disaster the Labour people are predicting, except that the transport planners of Cambridge are dreadful and will almost certainly design the situation such that it ends up being far, far worse than it needs to be. (The transport planners of Cambridge, after all, are responsible for the current dreadful situation on Newmarket Road. Like most transport planners in the UK, they hate their number one customer, drivers. And the rest follows from that.)

What nobody is asking is whether all these homes really are needed. Cambridge is stupidly asking one of its biggest and best employers, Marshall, to get lost. And in place of those jobs it is placing thousands of homes. Go figure. It's possible that the hospital and the university between them will expand enough to justify the new homes, but don't count on it.

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