PACT’s response to the Cambridge Local Plan

Cambridge City Council recently consulted local residents on the council’s Local Plan, ending on the 18th February. The consultation included plans for development of residential sites within Cambridge. Petersfield Area Community Trust submitted a representation, which is copied below.

Cambridge Local Plan: towards 2031

Dear Councillors and Planning Officers, City Council and County Council,

On behalf of local residents, we are writing to request that you take formal note of our comments.

As you are aware, both from recent East Area Committee meetings, and from dialogue with PACT (Petersfield Area Community Trust) and other residents, we feel strongly that the Local Plan should take into consideration historical inequalities whereby S106 monies gleaned from developments in this area have been diverted to other districts of Cambridge; and make restitution.

This includes restoring the Howard Mallett site to open green space (on the land granted in perpetuity to local residents for rest and recreation), for which planning approval was granted; creating more green open space; tackling (rather than exacerbating!) the dire traffic and parking challenges, and creating a community centre facility to replace the one “lost” as a result of the questionable deal with CityLife/FutureBusiness/Allia.

PACT is moreover deeply concerned that the extensive Eastern Gate Development Framework has not been taken into consideration in the Local Plan. This goes against both what the local area was assured when the Framework was created, and what you claim on your website. It has been ignored in recent planning applications such as the motels on the corner of Coldham’s Lane, and has clearly not been incorporated in the Local Plan. PACT therefore formally requests that this be corrected.

Of enormous local concern is also the forthcoming development of the Mill Road Depot site. The Local Plan’s suggestion that 167 dwellings be shoehorned into that site is unacceptable overdevelopment. Similarly, PACT feels that the Local Plan’s proposal to remove vital garages/parking areas in Hooper Street, and closing off the Mill Road access to the site, is also ill-conceived and unacceptable, creating major issues for the capillary backstreets (eg., Hooper, Sturton, and York Streets) which are already overburdened.

PACT supports the redevelopment of the site, but only if it is done sensitively and ethically and within the character of the Petersfield Conservation Area.

PACT therefore supports the proposals of the Argyle Street Housing Cooperative that the Mill Road Depot site be used to create another Housing Cooperative – dwellings by local people for local people, including families and single people – with proper provision of green open space and community facilities. Care must also be taken to ensure that multiple exits to the site will not create a rat run for drivers keen to take shortcuts.

PACT therefore requests that :
1) the Howard Mallett / FutureBusiness site be restored to green open space and/or a community centre
2) the Eastern Gate Development Framework be respected and incorporated.
3) that the Mill Road Depot site be developed as a Housing Cooperative, as proposed by the Argyle Street Housing Cooperative group, complete with sustainable number of dwellings, open green space, and community facilities, and
4) that access to the said site continue to be primarily via Mill Road, NOT via the overburdened streets round the back.

We look forward to hearing from you, and to seeing our deep concerns respected and incorporated into a revised version of the Local Plan.

Yours sincerely,

PACT (Petersfield Area Comunity Trust)