Don’t play Bob the Builder with the Green Belt!

BobLast week, the Tory-led Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet voted to start putting together a business case for developing housing on Wort’s Causeway. The County owns 8.5 hectares of land to the south of Wort’s Causeway, known in the Local Plan consultation as GB2, GB1 being a slightly smaller parcel of land to the north.

I think this was premature. Both sites are still in the green belt, despite the fact that the City and District Councils’ Local Plans have proposed that they come out so they can be built on. As the Local Plan has not yet been decided, I think the County Council should wait before it starts playing Bob the Builder. To do otherwise is hugely disrespectful to the hundreds of people who have made representations about these sites. It is also speculative, making assumptions about the outcome of the Local Plan.

Although the County Council Cabinet takes major decisions, backbencher councillors are able to call in decisions and have them debated by overview and scrutiny committees. That is what I did, along with colleagues from Histon & Impington, East Chesterton and Fulbourn.

The paper was discussed at the Resources scrutiny committee this afternoon (download hereHousing call-in). Histon councillor Mike Mason and I addressed the committee and expressed our concerns regarding the prematurity of the decision, the principle of the County providing housing, and whether the business case development is properly provided for in the Council’s budget. I am pleased to say that the committee voted to refer the decision back to the Cabinet, who will now need to take a fresh look.

Watch this space.

Here is a transcript of what I said at the meeting today:

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A11 trunk road closure

conesNext Monday, September 2, the Highways Agency will be carrying out overnight repairs to the A11 Trunk Road between Junction 36 of the A14 and Fulbourn and the road will be closed on one side. The works will involve patching to worn out sections of the carriageway and refreshing road markings.

The works are scheduled to start on the evening of Monday 2 September. The working hours will be between 8.00pm and 6.00am, Monday – Friday nights.

The southbound carriageway will be closed between 2 September and 4 September inclusive and the northbound carriageway will be closed between 9 September and 12 September inclusive.

A signed diversion route will be in place for traffic wishing to travel on the A11.

Through traffic wishing to travel southbound on the A11 will be diverted to carry on the A14 westbound to join the M11 southbound at Junction 31 (Girton Interchange). Traffic wishing to return to the A11 will need to continue to junction 10 (Duxford) on to the A505 eastbound to re-join the A11 northbound.

Through traffic wishing to travel northbound on the A11 will be diverted to carry on the M11 northbound to join the A14 eastbound at Junction 31 (Girton) and continue on the A14. Traffic wishing to return to the A11 will need to continue to junction 37 to return on the A14 westbound to rejoin the A11 southbound.

There will be signed diversions signed for local traffic. Access will be maintained at all times for Emergency Services.

The contractors, Carillon, will do their best to do the work as quickly as possible, but allow extra time for your journey of ir possible, go a different way.

Any queries, contact CarillionWSP on 01767 684633 between 9am and 4.30pm or their Customer Care department at [email protected], or the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.