Azara Blog: Clay Farm development gets outline planning approval

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Date published: 2008/05/18

The Cambridge News says:

A major new development which forms part of plans to extend Cambridge to the south has been approved.

Clay Farm will see 2,300 homes, a new secondary and primary school, a community centre, healthcare centre, library and 120 acres of parkland built on land between Long Road and Shelford Road.

The development is described as "a new sustainable garden suburb" by developers Countryside Properties which is promoting the scheme and forms part of the Cambridge southern fringe.
Work will now start on the detailed design of the new neighbourhoods, which will be the subject of further local consultation later in the year, and a start on site is expected in 2009.

John Oldham, director and group chief town planner for Countryside Properties, said: "This planning consent is the green light for a much needed and sustainable extension to Cambridge.

"At Clay Farm the majority of the new homes will be family houses with gardens to counter the shortage of family housing in Cambridge.

"Our plans have been strongly guided by local residents and stakeholders so community ideas and aspirations have been built into the proposals."
Approval of the outline planning application was given by the Cambridge Fringes Joint Development Control Committee.

It is quite good that this is going ahead. For one thing, the city could do with more housing near the hospital. For another, it means that the horrible access road from the M11 through Trumpington to Addenbrooke's will look a bit less like a brutal swipe through the countryside, and more like a conventional road with sensible development along the side, at least on the northern half.

On the other hand, all developments claim to be "sustainable", it is one of those dreadful buzzwords that has come to haunt the English language. Unfortunately it is usually taken to mean that the new residents will be given poor access by road to the city (but presumably not back down the access road to the M11 to escape the city).

Further, most of the plans for new developments in Cambridge "have been strongly guided by local residents and stakeholders". Unfortunately these people are not the people who will be living in the new housing, and needless to say not only will the former have put their interests above the interests of the latter, but the academic middle class people who dominate these kinds of proceedings do not have a clue about urban planning. This does not forebode well, although ultimately this gush from the developer is probably just part of the game to get planning permission, rather than any real sentiment.

And although "the majority of the new homes will be family houses with gardens", this apparently means only 60%, which is still far below the historic average for housing in the UK. So another way of stating this is that another 1000 flats are going to be dumped on the city.

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