Housing quota fears increase
PLANNERS across Cambridgeshire – even in areas such as Huntingdonshire and South and East Cambs that have escaped additional house-building plans – are concerned the entire county will suffer if new proposals go ahead. Original Government plans were for 8
PLANNERS across Cambridgeshire - even in areas such as Huntingdonshire and South and East Cambs that have escaped additional house-building plans - are concerned the entire county will suffer if new proposals go ahead.
Original Government plans were for 89,300 new homes across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough by 2021 - including 11,200 in Huntingdonshire, 23,500 in South Cambs and 8,600 in East Cambs. But a new report, following a months-long public examination, insists the area can take 9,000 more homes.
The number is fewer than the Government wanted but the additional homes may become the "straw that broke the camel's back" for transport, utility and social infrastructure, according to Cambridgeshire County Council.
And Huntingdonshire planners are concerned that, although no additional homes are earmarked, they will have no control on the extra dwellings in neighbouring areas - 900 in Fenland and 3,500 in Peterborough - and their impact on traffic, services and employment in this district.
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County councillors are also furious that the report wants to see Cambridge city expand by 19,000, compared with the 14,700 originally planned for the 20 years from 2001.
The report's authors stress the increases are the maximum achievable without adding unrealistic numbers and damaging the environment. But even these will not fully satisfy predicted demand.
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The report identifies the planned major expansion of Huntingdon as a "key centre for growth" and does not completely rule out expansion onto brownfield land at the former RAF bases at Alconbury and Wyton - although HDC planners say it effectively endorses their view that residential development at Alconbury would be socially and environmentally unsustainable.
Northstowe - the planned new settlement north-west of Cambridge - could be even bigger and further homes could be built near the former St Ives-Cambridge railway line - the route of the planned guided bus link that is now expected to open in 2009 - even though much of it runs through areas colonised by protected plants and animals.
There could also be further expansion of Cambourne, the three emerging linked village developments between St Neots and Cambridge.