Eco-town plan could put Northstowe "at risk"

THE announcement of a new eco-town at Hanley Grange in South Cambridgeshire could compromise development of the 9,500-home new town of Northstowe on the site of Oakington airfield. Cambridgeshire Horizons, the not-for-profit company set up to deliver the

THE announcement of a new eco-town at Hanley Grange in South Cambridgeshire could compromise development of the 9,500-home new town of Northstowe on the site of Oakington airfield.

Cambridgeshire Horizons, the not-for-profit company set up to deliver the £4billion infrastructure for 50,000 additional homes in the Cambridge sub-region, which includes much of Huntingdonshire, reacted with fury to the Government's announcement.

Hanley Grange, near Hinxton, is one of 15 shortlisted eco-town sites announced today (April 3) by Caroline Flint, the Government Minister for Housing and Planning. Up to 10 are expected to go forward following a consultation period. Ministers want five of them built by 2016, with the other half completed by 2020.

Commenting on Government plans for the 8,000 home eco-town, Sir David Trippier, chairman of Cambridgeshire Horizons said: "We are already working hard to deliver an unprecedented scale of growth in the Cambridge sub-region, which is extremely resource-intensive.


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"Hanley Grange, like Northstowe, is within the South Cambridgeshire District Council planning area, and is a bridge too far in the current circumstances. We will be taking advantage of the consultation period to put our reasoned views firmly to Ministers and officials in Government."

Alex Plant, Horizons' chief executive added: "We understand the Government's policy objectives around delivering additional housing, and the importance of ensuring this is environmentally friendly.

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"However, there is a real risk that a new town at Hanley Grange would impact on our ability to deliver new homes in Cambridgeshire over the coming years. This is because it would divert resources away from the existing planned sites, particularly Northstowe, which are further advanced through the planning system.

"In addition the scheme has no obvious sustainable transport solutions given its remote location and apparent reliance on the M11 and car-based journeys. It is therefore hard at this stage to see how it could meet the Government's objectives on environmental grounds.

"We are also concerned that there is a risk that the strong partnership working across local authorities in Cambridgeshire and genuine desire to deliver high quality growth could be affected by a proposal such as this coming in from left-field, rather than through a carefully considered plan-led process."

Gallagher, the Northstowe developer, said it would not be appropriate for the company to comment at this stage.

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