Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Lib Dems Hold Onto City Vision Against Green Belt Challenge

Liberal Democrats have promised to holdfast to their vision of Cambridge as a compact city against challenges from developers who want to build on large swathes of the green belt.

Proposals have come forward for most of the green belt within the city boundaries and adjacent sites in South Cambridgeshire.

But Cambridge City Executive Councillor for Planning, Tim Ward will tell members at a full council meeting on Thursday (June 27) as he presents the city’s draft local plan : “We are proposing to retain the vision of Cambridge as a compact city, from anywhere within which you can cycle to the countryside in a few minutes, which retains the existing green fingers, and where the view of the city from high points is mostly trees.

“This is very much a recognition that the economic success of Cambridge, which of course we support and encourage, is critically dependent on the quality of life in Cambridge to attract and retain the staff needed for Cambridge Cluster companies, for the universities, and for the health sector.”

And he will say that, although the draft plan, which provides a development framework until 2031, proposes a small number of green belt releases for housing and employment use, these are on a vastly more modest scale than the those approved under previous plans in 2003 and 2006.

Cllr Ward will also remind members that much work has been done since 2006 on addressing Cambridge’s transport problems.

“We have spent the intervening years encouraging the county council to move away from developing transport plans largely as responses to central government bidding opportunities,” he will say.

As a result, the new draft Transport Strategy for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire will be consulted on alongside both areas local plans.

The draft local plan has been produced by officers working alongside representatives from other councils and teams of consultants. So far, 18,000 representations have been processed compared to fewer than 4,000 during the development of the 2006 plan.