Azara Blog: The NIAB site gets approval for more homes

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Date published: 2009/07/06

The Cambridge News says:

A controversial scheme to build nearly 1,200 homes on the north-west fringe of Cambridge has been given the go-ahead by a Government inspector.

Despite fierce opposition from residents and councillors, plans for homes on the former National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) site, off Huntingdon Road, were backed by planning inspector Robert Middleton in a report published on Friday.

He ruled the new homes would not harm the Cambridge green belt and recommended the area near the A14 should be allocated for housing.

He added the new homes would help South Cambridgeshire District Council to hit its target of building 20,000 new homes by 2016 following the delays to the Northstowe project.

The decision has been condemned by Cllr Belinda Brooks-Gordon, who represents Castle ward on Cambridgeshire County Council and has led the fight against the NIAB scheme, where plans for a further 1,780 homes are already in place.

She said: "I am appalled by this decision. Air pollution is only just below recommended levels at the moment, so this will only add to the problems.

"I don't think it's the right place for a large housing estate. Like Orchard Park, these houses will be right alongside the A14 and even with a barrier, the noise will be terrible."

Cllr Sian Reid, executive councillor for growth at Cambridge City Council, said: "Cambridge just can't cope with this extra growth.

"The county council hasn't yet worked out how it is going to deal with the traffic generated by the existing growth programme and now it has backed building these extra homes."

Cambridge can perfectly well "cope with this extra growth". Especially if the academic middle class people who run Cambridge could actually get around to designing an integrated transport system instead of just an anti-car one. And it would help if they could also get around to considering the interests of the future residents of this site, instead of the narrow, partisan interests of the existing relatively rich residents of the Huntingdon Road area. The relatively poor residents of the Histon Road area are, not surprisingly, being completely ignored, although they will, if anything, be more impacted by the development. But given past history, the residents of Arbury and Kings Hedges would probably be more supportive of this new development since they do not have the in-built hysterical reaction to change that the academic middle class seem to have.

The idea that air pollution, or the noise issue, are major concerns for Brooks-Gordon is a joke. Her main concern is that some peasants will move within spitting distance of the precious residents of Castle ward, and, even worse, those peasants will have the nerve to sometimes drive a car through Castle ward.

The logical plan is to develop the entire Histon Road, Huntingdon Road, A14 area into a beautiful new estate, with a commercial district along the A14 to help shield from the noise. Unfortunately the Cambridge ruling elite will spend their entire effort on trying to oppose this development and making it not work, rather than trying to make it a worthy addition to Cambridge.

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