Response to Cambridge Local Plan Consultation 2012


Saturday, July 28th, 2012. 5:30pm


Cambridge Local Plan Issues and Options Document.

Cambridge Local Plan Issues and Options Document.

I have responded to the current consultation on Cambridge’s Local Plan, the document against which future planning applications in the city will be assessed.

Many of my representations relate to issues I have discussed previously on my website. In many cases I have simply tailored my previously expressed views to the current consultation.

Summaries of some of the points I have made:

  • The council should adopt a policy of requiring fibre optic to the premises to be installed in new developments; and should encourage its installation across the city. The city ought strive for a truly world class telecommunications infrastructure.
  • Planning policy should not push house sharers out of the city, or seek to restrict which properties are available to house sharers.
  • Open space on new developments should be adopted and run by public bodies; be open and accessible to all; and maintenance ought be funded through taxation not service charges.
  • A cohesive city should be one of the aims of planning policy. Divisions, disputes, and even hatred exist between groups such as students and other residents and drivers verses cyclists. Planning policy should seek to address, and certainly not exacerbate, the underlying issues.
  • The council should make clear where conservation area restrictions are intended to be used, and seek to reduce unintended and undesirable costs and restrictions of liberty. This follows applications we have seen for pruning fruit trees and trimming hedges.
  • Potential negative impacts of conservation areas on things like making homes energy efficient, and installing cycle parking ought be considered and addressed. Other impacts of conservation areas, for example on the mix of rented and owner-occupied homes, and accommodation costs need to be considered.
  • The vision expressed in the plan should express an aspiration to create a safe city naturally and organically. through design rather than for example through extensive policing and intrusive CCTV.
  • The region’s water supplies need to be sufficient to provide for the needs of new developments. New developments should not be permitted if the extent of their demands would be expected to result in demand for water in the region to exceed supply.
  • I think recent developments have lacked diversity in terms of property values and sizes; control of this mix, is a key way planners can ensure homes people can afford, and desire, are built.
  • As the city expands I would like to see more rights of way providing access into the surrounding countryside. Many of the footpaths surrounding the city should be made available to cyclists
  • Buses in the Bridge Street, Jesus Lane, and Round Church Street area cause a hazard to cyclists and pedestrians, they regularly mount and overhang the pavement and generally come into conflict with those walking and cycling.
  • I support the idea of using some, or all, of the Market Square space more flexibly; and would particularly like to see it reinvigorated in the evenings.
  • Much of the city centre is taken up by University of Cambridge Colleges. I would like to see more public access.
  • The potential for a new access to the railway station via a bridge from the Cambridge Leisure site ought be included in the plan.
  • I oppose the creation of enclaves or quarters within the city where people in certain jobs live. I think this would be divisive. I am concerned that when people’s homes are tied to their jobs that reduces their freedom and gives their employer greater power and influence over them. For example a someone living in university accommodation might not whistle-blow and challenge corrupt practice if they risk not only losing their job, but their home too. Providing accommodation tied to a job does not help employees in the long term, as it keeps them out of the wider “real” property market.
  • I think it is important that planning policy does not deny trainee teachers living in the city and traveling well out of Cambridge on placements, and trainee doctors with placements all over the region, or those working in other fields with a need for a car the ability to have and use one practically. Planning policy should reflect the fact a certain fraction of graduate students want and have a need for, cars.
  • The Chisholm Trail should feature in the plan.
  • Affordable and practical parking needs to be available on the [Addenbrookes] site for those staff and visitors who need it.
  • We mustn’t build poor quality sprawling housing around the edge of the city, genuine mixed use extensions of the city are what I think is required.
  • I oppose the creation of further private enclaves and gated communities such as St Bartholomews Court
  • I think it is important new developments are quality places to live early on. They should not remain building sites for years on end. Street lighting and parking restrictions need to be installed and in operation as residents move in, and the streets need to be safe – free from dangerous holes and other hazards.
  • There should be a greater focus on designing out crime; a more rigorous approach should be taken. Planners should actively seek out good practice from elsewhere especially where there is evidence suggesting aspects of design reduce crime, and ensure it is brought to Cambridge
  • I would like to suggest the council consider maintaining a record of memorial trees and similar, so decisions relating to such trees are properly informed.
  • The city’s tree lined streets should be identified with a view to protecting them in the long term. Plans should be developed for planting cycles/strategies to maintain avenues of trees both alongside roads and on the city’s green spaces.
  • Cycle parking provision is insufficient in many places in the city, as evidenced by the numbers of fly-parked, insecurely parked bikes on many of the city’s streets. Cyclists like to park very close to their destinations, and parking provision should reflect this.
  • Public art should be designed to last as long as the development it is associated with.
  • Safe cycle routes from new developments to the city centre and other key sites ought be a primary factor in determining if a site is suitable for development or not.
  • Public toilets ought feature in the plan. Toilets need to be available into the evenings, in the city centre and on green spaces.
  • The current selective policy relating to new business premises ought continue, but be changed (relaxed) slightly to allow, and encourage, high tech manufacturing and headquarters functions, which relate to, serve, or show a need/benefit to being co-located with Cambridge’s existing academic and commercial skills and expertise.
  • The airport site, and surrounding area used by Marshall, ought be designated in the plan to remain in its current uses. Astonishingly this wasn’t an option put forward by officers in the consultation document.

Deadline

The deadline published, and indeed still given on the council’s website was 5 pm on Friday the 27th of July. However the online system says the consultation ends at 11:59PM on the first of August. The council has tweeted, via an @ reply, to say:

People are encourage to respond today, but the online system will accept responses until the start of next week

The Online Comments System

The system for making comments isn’t terrible; but its far from ideal. One problem is it is not designed to encourage discussion, and for people to respond to others’ points and suggestions. If a more deliberative online system was used I think that would be beneficial. The moderation delay is one thing which prevents people building on each others’ ideas. Only three or so of my comments have as yet been made publicly available online.

My Representations

I am including a full copy of all the representations I have made below, along with links to the representations on the consultation’s website. The copy of the representation on the official website contains links to the section of the document being commented on and others’ comments on it. The links become active once the representations have been approved by moderators.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 8 – Conserving and Enhancing the Historic & Natural Environment, Option 68 – Protection and enhancement of Cambridge’s historic environment

Currently applications are seen in conservation areas in Cambridge for things like pruning fruit trees and trimming hedges. See: http://www.rtaylor.co.uk/permission-prune-apple-tree.html

As I understand it in conservation areas consent may also technically be required for things like painting a back gate a different colour.

My view is such restrictions amount to excessive bureaucracy. I would like to see the city’s planning policy make clear where conservation area restrictions are intended to be used, and seek to reduce unintended and undesirable costs and restrictions of liberty.

When proposing the introduction of a new conservation area I would like to see the council assess the impact of proposed conservations area on:

  • The ability of residents to modify their homes to make them suitable for the way they live their lives.
  • Making improvements intended to make properties more energy efficient, and reduce energy bills, including replacing windows and installing external cladding, solar panels or wind turbines.
  • The ability of residents to install secure bike parking on their property.
  • Housing costs, the fraction of properties which are rented vs privately owned, and the make up of population in the area in terms of residents’ ages, occupation, and wealth, and types of property use eg, shared houses, family homes etc.
  • Potential future changes to the road environments, eg. signage, cycleways, etc.

To-date reports on introducing conservation areas have omitted these key aspects, and in my view have not provided councillors with all the information they needed to take a balanced decision. The reports have been biased in favour of the introduction of a conservation area, and potential drawbacks have not been considered and addressed.

I am generally opposed to the extension of conservation areas to the whole city; which appears to be the current direction of travel.

The impact of introducing a conservation area on sites where work is in progress, or applications have been submitted needs to be made much clearer; as does the timetable for introducing conservation areas.

Decision notices should be produced following meetings at which councillors decide to implement a conservation area.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 11 – Promoting Successful Communities, Option 165 – Update the standards in line with the Open Space and Recreation Strategy 2011

I think it is important that public open space on new developments is adopted and run by public bodies and open and accessible to all.

Where open space on new developments is privately maintained, and paid for out of service charges, we have residents of new developments paying twice for open space maintenance, once through their council tax, and again privately through their service charges, this situation should be avoided.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 11 – Promoting Successful Communities, Question 11.52

I would like to see a publicly accessible ice rink in Cambridge.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 12 – Promoting and Delivering Sustainable Transport and Infrastructure, Question 12.2

I think it is important to consider that the location of improvements to infrastructure to make it safer for walking and cycling often need to be made some distance away from a development; for example on the routes between developments and the town centre or major employment sites.

The proposal states: “Continuing to favour development in locations where there is already an existing walking, cycling and public transport route”, however if, in enabling a development improvements can be made to a popular route, that could result in a development which brings wider public benefits to the city and so also should be looked on favourably.

While I agree a priority ought be given to pedestrians and cyclists; I think it is also important to retain the possibility of vehicle access throughout new developments and the wider city. It’s important Cambridge is a practical place to live. Motor vehicles can be very useful, and at times essential. Cambridge should not just be a place for those who are fit to walk and cycle.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 12 – Promoting and Delivering Sustainable Transport and Infrastructure, Question 12.33

The council should adopt a policy of requiring fibre optic to the premises to be installed in new developments; and should encourage its installation across the city.

The council needs to encourage a competitive market in provision of services over the infrastructure so that residents and businesses can obtain reasonably priced services under reasonable contract terms.

This would make the city attractive to those working in technology, boost the city’s economy, and potentially reduce the amount of travel people need to undertake.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 12 – Promoting and Delivering Sustainable Transport and Infrastructure, 12.33

“Broadband” is not specific enough. The council should adopt a policy of requiring fibre optic to the premises to be installed in new developments; and should encourage its installation across the city to upgrade the existing infrastructure. The council needs to encourage a competitive market in provision of services over the infrastructure so that residents and businesses can obtain reasonably priced services under reasonable contract terms. The council’s plans and strategy in this area need to be developed in much greater detail.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 2 – Vision, Option 1

“Affordable Housing” is mentioned. I think use of this term introduces confusion and the vision statement would be better without it. I would like to see a clear distinction between requiring the provision of social housing, and requiring the provision of more affordable properties for sale on the open market. I think both types of housing provision are important, but it is not useful to address them as one. The council has the opportunity to improve the supply of cheaper housing through regulating the range of property sizes and styles on new developments.

I would like to see a vision included expressing an aspiration for the city to have world class telecommunications infrastructure accessible to all its residents.

I would suggest a further vision be added, that we need to have a cohesive city. There are a number of divisions in the city, which come to the surface in relation to planning matters, conflicts, and often even hatred is expressed towards groups such as house sharers and students. The city’s planning vision should aim to address and resolve these issues, and ensure planning policy does not exacerbate them.

I would like the vision to express how planners aspire to create a safe city; ie. naturally and organically eg. through design rather than for example through extensive policing and intrusive CCTV.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 2 – Vision, 2.3, 2

“To ensure that all new developments have a neutral impact on water” sounds like nonsense to me. I suggest spinning out a separate objective that the region’s water supplies need to be sufficient to provide for the needs of new developments. New developments should not be permitted if the extent of their demands would be expected to result in demand for water in the region to exceed supply. I agree with the elements of the current objective on water quality and flood risk.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 2 – Vision, 2.3, 9

I think this is important; and is one of the key ways the planning policy can ensure homes people can afford are available. I think recent developments have lacked diversity in terms of property values and sizes at various points on the spectrum.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, 4.9

As the city expands I would like to see more rights of way providing access into the surrounding countryside. I would like to see permissive paths and tracks become public rights of way. Many of the footpaths surrounding the city should be made available to cyclists and thereby making them more accessible to a greater population. I am suggesting making cycling legally permissible on footpaths surrounding the city, and in places upgrading gates and styles to make them more cycle friendly. I am thinking of recreational use, and not suggesting hard surfaced cycle ways should replace rural footpaths. I think a policy of enabling greater cycle access to the surrounding countryside would reflect the way Cambridge residents get around.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, 4.37

For clarity, this section should make clear the BID scheme involves a proposed new tax. I suggest using the term: “Cambridge Tax”

Given the long term nature of the plan, I question if Love Cambridge and the BID might be relatively transient and not suitable for inclusion.

I think Love Cambridge lacks openness, transparency and democratic accountability; it has failed to engage with the city’s residents. If there is to be a section on City Centre management I think it should set a clear aspiration to address the failings of Love Cambridge.

Decisions relating to the public realm in the city centre should be taken democratically by elected councillors in public.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, 4.35

Buses in the Bridge Street, Jesus Lane, and Round Church Street area cause a hazard to cyclists and pedestrians, they regularly mount and overhang the pavement and generally come into conflict with those walking and cycling. I think the problem is serious enough to warrant action such as redirecting buses.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, 4.36

I support the idea of using some, or all, of the Market Square space more flexibly; and would particularly like to see it reinvigorated in the evenings.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, Question 4.16

Much of the city centre is taken up by University of Cambridge Colleges. I would like to see more public access, and even more access for students from other colleges. Currently arrangements for access appear very arbitrary and unclear. Perhaps the council could negotiate this when discussing new developments?

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, Question 4.28

The potential for access to the station via a bridge from the Cambridge Leisure site ought be included.

I think there is potential to disperse drop-off/pick up traffic if there was better access to the station from different directions.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 9 – Delivering High Quality Housing, Option 99 – Employment related housing

I oppose the creation of enclaves or quarters within the city where people in certain jobs live. I think this would be divisive. I am concerned that when people’s homes are tied to their jobs that reduces their freedom and gives their employer greater power and influence over them. For example a someone living in university accommodation might not whistle-blow and challenge corrupt practice if they risk not only losing their job, but their home too. Providing accommodation tied to a job does not help employees in the long term, as it keeps them out of the wider “real” property market. I strongly object to this proposed policy, its not in the interests of the staff who would be offered such accommodation, or in the interests of the wider city.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 9 – Delivering High Quality Housing, Question 9.19

I think its important to stress that control over the housing mix, is one way we can through the planning system influence the value, and therefore affordability, of homes built. This is a key leaver to use to ensure affordable housing is provided, not just what is most profitable for developers.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 9 – Delivering High Quality Housing, Question 9.39

The questions surrounding HMOs have not been addressed or discussed sufficiently. The section needs to be substantially expanded.

For clarity I think the document should refer to “shared houses”, and not only use the technical jargon of “HMO”.

I would strongly oppose any reduction in the threshold for a shared house requiring planning permission. I certainly would not want to see it reduced to three or more people in two or more unrelated households as has been debated recently in full council.

The effect of a reduction would be to push up housing prices for many of those in Cambridge who find it hardest to afford even remotely suitable accommodation. The pool of properties available to students and working sharers would be drastically reduced the council adopted a policy of requiring planning permission for shared houses with three unrelated people living in them.

I think house sharers should be free to choose from the entire property market, in relation to unmodified residential homes with up to five bedrooms. I think planning regulation should only be involved where properties are rented by the room or are much larger shared properties.

I am concerned about planning policy entering into areas where to enforce the council would need to start looking into who is sleeping where within a property.

The vast majority of shared houses cause no problems whatsoever, and I am sure that many residents would not be able to identify which properties on their streets are occupied by sharers. There is a need to separate the planning issues from matters of enforcement.

I would like to see the council adopt a strong policy in favour of protecting house sharers in Cambridge. Planning policy needs to reflect the great value shared houses provide the city, in giving many people who would not otherwise be able to afford to live in the city a place to live. Many of those living in shared houses are professionals making substantial contributions to the life of the city.

I do not think caps on the numbers of smaller shared houses should be introduced either city wide, or on specific streets. I think it is right that planning regulation does though apply to larger properties, especially those rented by the room, but think it right for councillors to consider applications in relation to those on a case by case basis depending on context; I don’t think there’s a need for an overarching policy.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 9 – Delivering High Quality Housing, Question 9.58

I think the council should seek and consider evidence of who is actually living on “travellers” sites. It appears to me that they are becoming sites providing poor quality housing for economic migrants from Eastern Europe, Russia and elsewhere.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 9 – Delivering High Quality Housing, Question 9.58

I think there ought be more diversity in moorings. I don’t think the council should restrict its moorings entirely to full time residential boaters. I would like to see more recreational and visitor’s moorings.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 10 – Building a Strong and Competitive Economy, Question 10.50

Often during planning debates there is a lack of clarity about who graduate students are and what they do, particularly when parking is discussed. If think it is important that planning policy does not deny trainee teachers living in the city and travelling well out of Cambridge on placements, and trainee doctors with placements all over the region, or those working in other fields with a need for a car the ability to have and use one practically. There is often incorrect information presented to committees considering applications for student housing on the University of Cambridge’s and its colleges’ rules for graduate students on car use/ownership. I do not think students should be discriminated against simply because they are labelled “students” rather than say “apprentices” or “trainees”. Planning policy should reflect the fact a certain fraction of graduate students want and have a need for, cars.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 10 – Building a Strong and Competitive Economy, Option 149 – Speculative student hostel accommodation – limited to Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Cambridge

Planning policy should reflect the fact a certain fraction of graduate students want and have a need for, and are permitted by the universities to have cars. Planning policy should not discriminate against these individuals, who are often effectively doing a job as trainee teachers, doctors, scientists, etc. and ought instead actively seek to ensure their needs are provided for.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, 4.62

I think corridors connecting the Park and Ride site, Science Park, and Cambridge Science Park Station ought be protected to enable future transport options to connect these areas; for example perhaps driverless pods as seen at Heathrow Terminal 5, more vehicles making use of the bus way, or even light rail, or a monorail. Planning in this area should leave options open.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, 4.64

This section should be rewritten with the bridge and cycle way taken as part of the proposed Chisholm Trail off road cycle path to connect the Science Park area with the main railway station and beyond:

http://www.camcycle.org.uk/campaigning/cycleroutes/chisholmtrail/

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, 4.60

Any assessment of relocation of the treatment works should consider the need resilience of any alternative and any potential for increased use of energy for pumping waste.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, Option 33 – Northern Fringe East

Currently the principles state: “Improved access for cyclist and pedestrians”. I think this should be extended to also stress improved safety.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, Question 4.35

Affordable and practical parking needs to be available on the [Addenbrookes] site for those staff and visitors who need it.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 6 – Sustainable Development, Climate Change, Water & Flooding, Option 47 – Establishment of a Cambridgeshire Community Energy Fund

I am happy to see that there is a move away from on-site provision of technologies to seek to achieve so called 100% efficiency. My prime concern was on site provision may result in higher energy costs in the long term as residents will have to maintain economically inefficient equipment for generating heat and power and would not be free to benefit from the open market competition available to those on the grid.

I think that the focus ought be on the national picture, and on the resilience and affordability of energy from the grid; I don’t think developers, and those seeking to buy a house to live in, ought be specifically taxed to fund improvements to our energy system, this is something society as a whole ought pay for, through general taxation and energy bills.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 3 – Spatial Strategy, Question 3.12

We mustn’t build poor quality sprawling housing around the edge of the city; we mustn’t repeat the mistakes of Arbury Park. Genuine mixed use extensions of the city are what I think is required. We must not allow developers to cherry pick the profitable elements of developments; on Arbury park the proposed commercial units weren’t built, on the CB1 development we’re seeing developers attempt to make a quick buck from the highly profitable student accommodation avoiding making their due contributions to the city’s infrastructure. We shouldn’t allow the current economic conditions to push us into building poor quality housing, we should wait, until we can afford to expand the city in a way which does it justice.

When we build new homes they need to form part of the same market as the existing properties in the city. I think recent developments have failed this test.

We need to tackle the underlying problems of property prices being too high as multiple of income. Supply and demand is only one factor in making housing unaffordable. Excessive borrowing driving up prices is another. Simply building houses alone is not going to be enough to solve the city and country’s housing problems.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 7 – Delivering High Quality Places, Question 7.2

I think new developments ought be public spaces. I oppose the creation of private enclaves and gated communities as I think they create divides in the city. I think they result in people living more fearful and disconnected lives. I think there should be planning policies against developments such as the literally gated St Bartholomews Court, and other private if non-gated developments.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 7 – Delivering High Quality Places, Question 7.5

I think it is important new developments are quality places to live early on. They should not remain building sites for years on end. Street lighting and parking restrictions need to be installed and in operation as residents move in, and the streets need to be safe – free from dangerous holes and other hazards. To-date new developments around Cambridge have been failing on these scores.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 7 – Delivering High Quality Places, Option 62 – Criteria based policy for delivering high quality places

I strongly support many of the proposed criteria including the orientation of buildings to overlook public spaces and promote natural surveillance and designing out crime. These are relatively vague aspirations though; I would like to see the city’s planning policy address these areas in more detail, and think planers should actively seek out good practice from elsewhere especially where there is evidence suggesting aspects of design reduce crime, and ensure it is brought to Cambridge.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 8 – Conserving and Enhancing the Historic & Natural Environment, Question 8.40

I would like to suggest the council consider recording memorial trees, and other trees with special significance. One a number of occasions the history of a tree is lost, or those who know it find out late about proposals which affect it. Knowing the background of a tree is important so well informed decisions can be made.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 8 – Conserving and Enhancing the Historic & Natural Environment, Question 8.40

The city’s tree lined streets should be identified with a view to protecting them in the long term. Plans should be developed for planting cycles/strategies to maintain avenues of trees both alongside roads and on the city’s green spaces.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 8 – Conserving and Enhancing the Historic & Natural Environment, Question 8.40

I think care needs to be taken to ensure that trees with substantial value are protected; but still enable action to be taken against those which are causing a problem – eg. a fast growing conifer tree or hedge which has got out of control and is overshadowing a street.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, 4.29

I support and strongly agree with this vision of the role of Cambridge City Centre. It has a function in supporting the many activities which go on in the city; including providing a place for those involved in small businesses to meet and work collaboratively.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 12 – Promoting and Delivering Sustainable Transport and Infrastructure, Question 12.16

Requirements for planning permission to install secure cycle parking in-front of houses, in a manner much less intrusive than a parked vehicle, are I think a problem. The city’s planning policy ought be supportive of those wishing to install secure cycle parking facilities at their homes.

Cycle parking provision is insufficient in many places in the city, as evidenced by the numbers of fly-parked, insecurely parked bikes on many of the city’s streets. Cyclists like to park very close to their destinations, and parking provision should reflect this.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 12 – Promoting and Delivering Sustainable Transport and Infrastructure, Option 198 – Cambridge Airport Aviation development

I think the proposal is too restrictive and any adverse effect on the environment and residential amenity should be balanced against economic and wider benefits.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 8 – Conserving and Enhancing the Historic & Natural Environment, Question 8.21

I would agree with a policy requiring permeable surfacing if required; however I oppose seeking to restrict if people can park a vehicle, or anything else, on their own land, on the grounds it is a disproportionate infringement of liberties and property rights.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 7 – Delivering High Quality Places, Question 7.20

I think it is critical that public art is intended to last as long as the development it is associated with. I think spending public art funds from developments on workshop sessions for example is not appropriate as the impact of these will be lost while the developments remain standing.

I would rather have good functional architecture which is “art” itsself rather than make those looking for places to live pay even more for homes to fund add-on art.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 12 – Promoting and Delivering Sustainable Transport and Infrastructure, 12.1

I am surprised there isn’t a substantial section of this plan dedicated to covering cycling infrastructure. Cambridge’s high rates of cycling are in my view despite, not because of, the quality of the infrastructure.

I would like to see more, safer, cycle routes, and think safe cycle routes from new developments to the city centre and other key sites ought be a primary factor in determining if a site is suitable for development or not.

I think the city’s parks are key cycle routes, and the plan and the city’s policies ought reflect that.

The city centre is also an important cycling thoroughfare which needs to be retained as such, to make cycling attractive as a direct option for getting around the city.

One key area I where I would like to see improvement is Carlyle Road to Jesus Lock bridge; this is a very popular cycle route, and there are opportunities to make the area safer, including perhaps by closing Carlyle Road to motor vehicles at some point along it.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, Question 4.5

The roads adjacent to green spaces could be made into “park roads”; they could be brought within the curtilage of the green spaces, gated, and given a special coloured surface. My main reason for wanting this is the impact I think it could have on increasing safety and slowing speeds.

This appears to work elsewhere; eg. in Bath and many of London’s parks.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, 4.36

Publicly accessible toilets are important across the city, particularly in the city centre and on or near green spaces.

Public toilets in Cambridge are not open at all times there is demand for them. As I understand it there is a need to upgrade most of the city council run toilets to enable them to be open later. Toilets should form part of the plan, and public toilet provision ought be considered when new developments or changes of use of public space are considered. Toilets need to be available into the evenings if people are going to be in the city centre or on green spaces at that time, as increasingly they are already.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, 4.36

Re: Peas Hill Pedestrianisation.

It is useful to have vehicle accessible areas of the city centre which can be used to drop/off and pick up both people and things. Peas Hill provides this.

Even if the vast majority of travel is though other means, sometimes, when dealing with heavy or bulky items, or for people who for whatever reason prefer, or need to, travel by car, such access is of value.

As well as the utility of the area to the general public, a large number of students live nearby and the vehicle access is useful for dropping off and picking up belongings when they move in and out.

Access to the theatre by sometimes very large vehicles associated with shows is also important to maintain.

While I object to wholesale pedestrianisation; I would support changing the feel of the area, and making it more pedestrian friendly; for example by extending pavements and creating a more shared space feel to the roadway.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, Question 4.5

Toilets, open to the public, when people are using the green spaces are important.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, Question 4.8

Maintaining the public’s right to access, and navigate, the river, throughout the city, is critical.

Public river access points including quayside, and the public slipways at Garret Hostel lane and at Ferry Lane / Water Street in Chesterton are of public value and ought be protected.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, Question 4.52

I suggest a new option of designating the area in the plan for its current use as an airport and associated engineering etc. activities.

I oppose options 34,35, and 36.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, 4.63

I do not think a suitable site is available within the area, but there may be options near by, just outside the city. eg. in the area of the Park and Ride.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, 4.59

I think the mixed use aspect is critical. The development should include local retail, as well as commercial and domestic elements.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, 4.61

The proposed station should be part of the plan.

It has the potential to reduce congestion in a wide area; and improve transport links to the Science Park and surrounding area.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 10 – Building a Strong and Competitive Economy, Question 10.2

I suggest redrafting the vision to make clear that the “research” in: “world leader in the fields of higher education and research” includes commercial research and development (largely in some way linked to and/or derived from the academic activity in the city).

Link to submitted representation
Section: 10 – Building a Strong and Competitive Economy, Question 10.4

I support option 122, with elements of option 123.

I think the current selective policy ought continue, but be changed (relaxed) slightly to allow, and encourage, high tech manufacturing and headquarters functions, which relate to, serve, or show a need/benefit to being co-located with Cambridge’s existing academic and commercial skills and expertise.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 11 – Promoting Successful Communities, Option 173 – Safeguarding Public Houses

Comment: The Penny Ferry Pub is not included in the list to be safeguarded, this should be reconsidered.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 11 – Promoting Successful Communities, Question 11.26

I don’t think the plan should be overly prescriptive and dictate that all that will be acceptable on a pub or ex-pub site is a pub, this is what’s happening in general around the city and it has resulted in lots of boarded up buildings many of which have great, untapped, potential.

My overall view on planning is that the council should generally not seek to interfere with economics, and when it decides to, as [sometimes] it should, there need to be very good reasons. Properties change uses over time as demand changes, the council shouldn’t try and set the city in stone as it is through the planning process as that constrains innovation and restricts people’s rights to do generally what they like with their property, as long as its not going to unduly go against the interests of others and the wider interests of the city.

I would not like to see a policy on pubs which would prevent their use as for example co-working business centres which would still provide a benefit to the city and promote the economic aims of other aspects of the plan. I would like to see a policy which allowed councillors to consider favourably development options on pub sites which retain some kind of community, at least semi-public, usage.

I do not think the policy should rule out mixed developments on ex-pub sites; for many sites innovative and positive developments might well include aspects of residential use, commercial use and public or semi-public use. I would like to see the plan send the message the council is open minded and invites innovative ideas, in the public interest, for pub sites being redeveloped.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 10 – Building a Strong and Competitive Economy, Option 122 – Continue with selective management of the economy unamended

This policy appears to me to be in both Cambridge’s and the wider national interest. I generally support it, but think it ought be slightly relaxed to address the concerns raised that it could prevent or deter certain related manufacturing or HQ from locating in Cambridge even though their presence would be synergistic with the city’s established businesses.

Link to submitted representation
Section: 5 – Opportunity Areas, Option 40 – South of Coldham’s Lane

I support opening up public access to the lakes [South of Coldham's Lane].

Link to submitted representation
Section: 4 – Strategic Spatial Options, Option 22 – Green Infrastructure

That green spaces form key cycling and walking routes ought be recognised.
They are part of the city’s transport infrastructure.

Improvements to cycle routes are needed not only on roads, but also
sometimes on green spaces.

6 comments/updates on “Response to Cambridge Local Plan Consultation 2012

  1. stephen ginns

    From Romsey

    I emailed the local county councillor today on a number of matters relating to the Local Plan. Many points coincide with yours, although not expresed as eruditely or professionally:

    1. Thanks for the newsletter about the Cambridge Plan. Unfortunately I missed the deadline as I was laid up but I do agree with Option 40. Even more so – why not let Romsey Beach have a station on the Cambridge-Ipswich line? This line passes right next to Romsey Beach, and carries next to no traffic. It is adjacent to St Bede’s secondary school, which as the only faith school in the county has a wide catchment area. It doesn’t have to be a Chesterton type station costing millions – a small halt will do. And while we’re at it, why not another halt in Tesco’s car-park at Fulbourn (they would probably pay for it!). And another at Teversham and/or Fulourn? And Cherry Hinton would benefit from having a halt at the level crossing next to the former pub
    2. I wouldn’t have responded to Option 37 on the protection and enhancement of the diversity and character of Mill Road. I wouldn’t trust either our elected councillors or the Council officers to be able to develop an objective approach to what constitutes “an addition to the vitality and viability of Mill Road”. I feel this is best left to market forces and local pressure.
    3. In skimming the Local Plan – all 365 pages of it – I couldn’t miss the frequent references by other parties to the deficiencies in local infrastructure. Particularly the road network. Any attempt to increase the number of housing units will only add to the problem. So – why not have a chat with the Americans at Mildenhall and Lakenheath. These two airfields would be a marvellous location for a New Town. And the railway line from Mildenhall to Cambridge via Barnwell could be reinstated- most of the track bed is still there. Until the local infrastructure is addressed (and preferably NOT by another guided bus fiasco!]
    4. I wasn’t able to get to the Cromwell Road appeal. I did object on the original application, on the basis that it was yet another “buy to let” development, with a significant shortage of appropriate car parking space, and little in the way of amenities. Cromwell Road/ Coldham’s Lane junction is already ovrburde3nbed at rush hours. Often the traffic congestion at the Newmarket Road/Coldham’s Lane junction (caused by the poor road layout and traffic light operations) stretches back past Brooks Road to the end of the airfield runway. In Cambridge, there seems to be a shortage of 3/4/5 bedroom mid-market family homes on quiet estates of the sort I was used to in Colchester. The whole town development seems to be driven by ½ bedroom apartments, which are highly lettable but contribute little, if anything, to the community development.
    5. Your latest issue of Romsey Reporter mentions redevelopment of Perne Road junction. If a car travelling south east along Mill Road wishes to turn right at the junction with Perne Road, no traffic behind them will get through the junction till the next cycle of traffic light change. If that turning right vehicle was at the head of the queue, then only that vehicle and nothing behind will get through on that light cycle. The consequent back-up of traffic extends, in the rush hour, as far as Mill Road railway bridge. Ths back-up of traffic in itself poses a danger of cyclists, who try to squeeze through between the waiting cars and the kerb. In my letter to Catherine Smart in May about Mill Road traffic, I pointed out the hazards at Sedgwick Street and Mill ROoad Broadway – nothing has been done and this month there have been three more accidents (nobody hurt, fortunately, although one bike was written off).
    6. I grieve at the wasted £123 million on the Fire Control Centre at Waterbeach. This would have come under the County Council’s mandate – how many heads will roll for the catastrophe?

    ………….

    Regards

  2. Richard Taylor Article author

    I have made a further submissions relating to the North West Cambridge, and West Cambridge, developments stating:

    To reduce traffic impact from development access to the A14 East and M11 ought be made possible without travelling into the city. This could be achieved by unrestricting the Madingley Road / M11 junction or a connecting road between Huntingdon and Histon road. The Huntingdon – Histon Road connection would prevent traffic from the North West Cambridge site having to travel into Cambridge. The Girton interchange should also be upgraded to improve safety as this area of the city is developed.

    I made this point four years ago when commenting on North West Cambridge development.

  3. Richard Taylor Article author

    I have made a further submission, this one in relation to densification of existing residential areas:

    I think strategic planning is needed to in relation to areas of the city where it is appropriate to increase the density of housing. The plan needs to consider how the evolution of places like North Street into the likes of Salmon Lane will occur. This kind of transition is well suited to a different, more proactive, approach to detailed planning – determining a detailed strategy in advance of applications.

    I would like to see a new section of the plan deal with such desertification of existing residential streets; via building in the manner seen on, for example North Street.

    For related illustrations see my article on Practical Places to Live Verses Conservation

    1. Richard Taylor Article author

      The question of proactive planning; deciding how a particular terrace (or street) of houses ought be allowed to be extended or developed has come up during a planning meeting, which has been reported by the Cambridge News.

      Cllr Colin Rosenstiel took the view the council ought “draw a line” on rear extensions, whereas Cllr Hipkin argued each application ought be considered individually.

      In terms of making a decision in front of them under the current policy Cllr Hipkin was right; however I support Cllr Rosensteil’s suggestion of “drawing a line” is one I support, but it has to be done in advance of individual applications coming forward.

      I would like to see a dramatic change to councillors’ approach to planning; with permission being proactively granted for developments along a whole street. within pre-set limits. ie. councillors ought consider how far back, how high etc. extensions (or developments in back gardens) would be acceptable along the street / terrace; with applications still accepted for consideration in relation to individual properties if development beyond what’s generally approved is proposed.

  4. Richard Taylor Article author

    I have also submitted a number of my responses to the appropriate places in response to the equivalent exercise in South Cambridgeshire.

    I have additionally commented on the difficultly of local cycling, pedestrian, horse and even some local motor vehicle travel in the area west of Cambridge, particularly referring to the boundary the A14 creates that can be hard to cross.

  5. Richard Taylor Article author

    Cambridge Cycling Campaign have published the responses they have made to the consultation:

    http://www.camcycle.org.uk/campaigning/letters/2012/C12010CambridgeCityCouncilLocalPlan2012IssuesAndOptions.pdf

    I think this is an awesome contribution, and I hope their ideas and suggestions are properly considered.

    The Cycling Campaign state:

    We support car-free developments

    My view, as expressed above, is:

    While I agree a priority ought be given to pedestrians and cyclists; I think it is also important to retain the possibility of vehicle access throughout new developments and the wider city. It’s important Cambridge is a practical place to live. Motor vehicles can be very useful, and at times essential. Cambridge should not just be a place for those who are fit to walk and cycle.

    The cycling campaign note that the city already has areas where keeping a car is impractical, it mentions Petersfield, though there is also a lot of student accommodation without parking. It notes that living somewhere without parking is sometimes a choice people make, they might sacrifice parking in return for living closer to the city centre for example.

    I think its reasonable to densify the centre of the city in-line with what’s currently in-place; and to retain the option for people to make such choices.

    I don’t think though large developments on the city’s fringes ought be built as car free developments.

    Other than that, and with some concerns about the implications of expanding 20 MPH limits / zones further (potentially leading to more demand for enforcement action, and excessive penalties (see more) I think I support all the other excellent points made by the campaign, including their headline suggestions of:

    Cambridge should be aiming for 40% of trips by cycle.

    and

    New developments must be planned to Dutch standards of provision for cycling and walking.

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