Northstowe – Comments on Outline Planning Application


Wednesday, March 19th, 2008. 4:00am

I made some comments on the Northstowe Outline Planning Application before the 30 March 2008 deadline.

On the Transport Assessment:

Section 5.6.7 : “Journey times are predicted to be approximately 20 minutes … The proposals include on-street running in Huntingdon and Cambridge with the on street sections having appropriate bus priority measures. ”

I am concerned that before the Chesterton transport interchange is built and before adequate “bus priority measures” can be established, the on street sections of the guided bus in North Cambridge will involve the bus becoming part of the congestion on Histon or Milton Roads. I believe the development and occupation of Northstowe should be tightly co-ordinated with getting the Cambridge end of the Guided Bus sorted out.
I do not think traffic chaos in North Cambridge, even for a relatively short period should be part of the plan, and am concerned that if that does occur it will be used as a argument to drastically remodel Milton and or Histon Roads.

Section 8.5.4 “20% of Northstowe inhabitants that will work in Northstowe (a further 10% will work from home)”, I think this is overly optimistic based on a comparison with Cambourne just under 5% of employed adult residents of Cambourne work from home and 15% work in Bourne/Cambourne according to the results of a survey.

Section 5.7.3 I am concerned that there is not tight enough coordination between the development and occupation of Northstowe and the upgrading of the A14 between Northstowe and the Girton Interchange to a dual 3 lane carriageway, I believe there should not be significant occupation of Northstowe before the A14 is upgraded, this should not just be sought, it should be required.

Utilities:
3.5.9 States “Virgin Media are able to offer a full fibre-optic service ”
Virgin media have described their broadband internet service as being delivered over fibre optic cables when in fact the section to the home is via traditional metallic wiring. (http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudications/Public/TF_ADJ_43928.htm )

I would like to suggest caution is taken with regard to taking Virgin Media’s statements at face value. I support the broadband internet cabling either being fibre optic to homes or failing that conduits be laid in such a way as to enabling the easy laying of fibre optic cabling to homes in the future.

3.5.13 I would support networking Northstowe in such a way as to promote a choice of service providers for consumers if possible.

I don’t think there was really an appropriate place to comment on the Quality of Design / Quality of build. I do not think the quality of new builds we are seeing in and around Cambridge are anything like as good as those I have seen elsewhere in the country for example in Oxfordshire and Dorset., or on the excessive height (6 stories) of some of the proposed buildings so rather than not say it I noted this with the “Design and Access Statement” though I am aware it probably really a matter for the next stage of the planning process.

As submitting the above I had to summarise my representations to the transport section in 100 words which I did as follows:

5.6.7 Prior to the Chesterton transport interchange and adequate “bus priority measures” being established I am concerned the guided bus will become part of the congestion on Histon or Milton Roads. The occupation of Northstowe should be tightly co-ordinated with getting the Cambridge end of the Guided Bus sorted out

8.5.4 20% Working in Northstowe plus a further 10% working from home is optimistic cf. Cambourne where 5% work from home and 15% work in Bourne/Cambourne

5.7.3 There is not tight enough coordination between the development and occupation of Northstowe and the A14 upgrade

One comment/update on “Northstowe – Comments on Outline Planning Application

  1. Richard Article author

    Following the consultation a response document has been prepared by South Cambs District Council:
    http://www.scambs.gov.uk/Environment/Planning/NewDevelopments/Northstowe/NSresponse.htm

    Apparently as a result of my comments the following was included in the council’s response to the developers:
    ” The Northstowe application relies heavily on improvement to the A14 announced by the government. It is important that the proposal ensures that the impact on the county roads is manageable prior to the improvements being completed.

    Recommendations:
    • Discussions should continue with ‘Costain Skanska’ and CCC to ensure improvements are delivered on site within a timely manner
    • A condition on the number of dwellings to be occupied prior to completion of the A14 works will considered if no schedule is agreed. ”

    Other elements of the response, including the section on telecommunications/internet connections clearly showed my comments were being taken on board.

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