Cambridge Local Plan – get your views in

Residents of Petersfield ward – we have just five weeks left to comment upon, and insist on change, to the Cambridge Local Plan before it becomes set in stone and LEGAL carte blanche for developers until 2031. The deadline is 5pm on 30 September 2013. The Government recently passed legislation saying that any Local Plan becomes the MINIMUM developers are allowed to do! The Local Plan boasts that it is overseeing a change in levels of planned growth unmatched since the interwar years: but we are deeply disturbed by the resulting impact on our area, and by the lack of real democratic support or mandate, or accountability. The Local Plan is available for you to view online or (theoretically, but NOT in practice!) at Mandela House.

Below, and in the attached PDF and Word document, are some of the issues PACT feels most concerned about relating to this area. If you agree, then THERE IS NO TIME TO LOSE: please email/write to the addresses below with your concerns. Alternatively, add your details to the letter below, & write “I AGREE” on it before signing and sending.

Send your comments:
By email:
By phone: 01223 457000
By post: Draft Local Plan Consultation, Planning Policy, Cambridge City Council, PO Box 700, Cambridge, CB1 0JH

Please copy them to:
Our councillors:;;;
Our reporters:;;,
Our public servants:,,,
as well as our MP: Julian Huppert,
and PACT at

Dear Councillors, planners, and civil servants:

1. More and more people live in the Petersfield area. Yet this area of Cambridge has the LEAST public green open space per person in the entire City. This is even despite the inclusion of Fenners sports ground (NOT open to the general public, nor available for general open air activities such as picnics, ball games etc) & the cemetery in calculations. While we value these sites and agree that they must be protected open spaces, we do NOT feel that they should be the basis for calculating our available public green open spaces. The only real area which qualifies as public green open space locally is St.Matthew’s Piece.

We therefore call upon the City and County Council to use the opportunity of the Local Plan to ensure a greener future for this area of Cambridge by committing to provide us with specific sites – viz., the Howard Mallett (HMC) site – for protected public open green space.

2. The Howard Mallett (HMC) was built on land given to US – local residents – for rest & recreation IN PERPETUITY. That means for ever and ever. To you and me. Our children. Our children’s children… Yet the Local Plan aims to replace a chunk of that land with 3-storey residential or office buildings. Moreover, p.200 (Policy 73) of the Local Plan states that:
Loss of facilities
The loss of a facility or site that was last in use as a community, sports or leisure facility will only be permitted if it is demonstrated that:
i. the facility/site can be replaced within the new development or relocated to at least its existing scale, range, quality and accessibility for its users.
For leisure uses, it should satisfy peak period need; or j. the facility/site is no longer needed.
So we request & require that the former Howard Mallett Centre (HMC) which was our community, sports & leisure facility for this area, on our land, be EITHER restored to its original use OR that, in view of the desperate need for green open space in this area, the site be returned to protected public green open space, and the facility REPLACED AND RELOCATED nearby to at least its existing scale, range, and quality for this area, with consideration given to the fact that the residential density is more than 4x what it was when the HMC was first built.

We therefore fundamentally and utterly oppose the proposal to replace the site with residential or office buildings as part of the “Opportunity Area for Major Change.” This designation MUST therefore be changed.

3. Just because your neighbour declared that they needed to expand, would that give them the automatic right to take your house and garden? No? Well, the Local Plan allows ARU to grab an additional 6,000 sq m (yes. 6000m²!) of this area for additional faculty space for its East Road Campus – and that’s on top of the 600 student dwellings ARU intends to add here within the next 18 months. We believe that this is wrong: if they want to expand they should do so elsewhere, NOT by carving up this crowded residential area just because they want to.

We therefore require the Local Plan to STOP ANY FURTHER STUDENT development AND ARU expansion in the Petersfield area. Enough is enough!

4. The Local Plan repeatedly refers to the need for affordable housing and community
facilities – yet the City Council’s track record in enforcing this (e.g. in the Station Road
developments) is exceedingly poor. We therefore request and require that specifics be
committed to within the Local Plan – including their enforcement within current developments such as the Station Road area. We find it scandalous and unacceptable that developers are being allowed to “ignore” their way out of their LEGAL REQUIREMENTS for minimum open space, community facilities, and affordable housing. Therefore this needs to be addressed and redressed BEFORE giving a green light to further developments.

5. The Mill Road Depot (MRD) site (site R.10 in the Local Plan): politicians promised it would include public green open space AND community facilities… yet the Local Plan STILL labels this site as suitable for 167 new dwellings: a density of 62 dwellings per hectare (dph). This is vastly higher density than other developments (e.g. Travis Perkins at 35 dph) and is out of keeping both with local densities (e.g. Sturton St 40dph) AND with government-recommended densities of 30dph for sustainable developments. Remember the new law which says that any numbers in the Local Plan become the MINIMUM built? So 62dph would become the MINIMUM in this site! We also heard today that open space & community facilities are NOT guaranteed in the site – despite the LEGAL obligation to do so.
We find this UNACCEPTABLE.
a.    Access should ONLY be via Mill Road, not Hooper Street.
b.    A specific and stated proportion should be dedicated to green open space in this development rather than the current vague promise of including “some”
c.    Community facilities must be similarly specified and guaranteed
We also believe that the MRD site should be developed by residents for residents, NOT by developers for maximum profit and density. It could be made a flagship car-free development, with monies from the developers subsidising local bus tickets to ensure that residents are encouraged to use public transport. We believe that there may also be a conflict of interest for the Council as being both the owners and developers.
d.    The trees & space next to Mill Rd bridge should be retained along with the library.
e.    The garages to the south of Hooper St should be retained: this area is already too short of parking spaces.

7. Hotels. No further hotel developments should be permitted in this area – those on the corner of Coldham’s Lane/Newmarket Road are unattractive and have grossly insufficient car parking. This is already overwhelming local streets and residents’ car parking. Any further hotels should be sited in industrial areas e.g., close to the airport.

8. We are concerned by the wording in Policy 22 that “The character of the area will be enhanced by creating a block structure and developing building forms which moderate the scale and massing of new development in a manner that is responsive to their context and reflecting the finer urban grain of the area.” What EXACTLY does this mean? We require clarification – and power of veto. By residents, not only by developers.
Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,