Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Guest Post: "Andrew Lansley MP Wades Into Debate To Stop Bourn Airfield Development" by Cllr Tumi Hawkins

The debate about the suitability or otherwise of the proposals in the new draft Local Development Plan (LDP) for the Bourn Airfield Development goes up a notch as Andrew Lansley MP wades in with his views.

StopBAD (Stop Bourn Airfield Development) the campaign being led by Des O’Brien, is working hard to get this site removed from the LDP, and the group recently went to see Andrew Lansley MP for South Cambridgeshire at his Hardwick Consitituency office to ask for his support.

As the StopBAD website announced on 20 July 2013, Anne, Giles and Paul from StopBAD along with Eddie Blair (Caxton Parish Councillor) and Alison Elcox (District Councillor for Bourn Ward) had a very positive meeting with Cambridge South MP Andrew Lansley on 19 July. They were only supposed to have 15 minutes of Andrew’s time he actually gave them 45 full minutes!

Andrew agreed to and has written a letter of support to SCDC on behalf of the campaign and also confirmed he will submit a formal consultation response in due course.

Mr Lansley agreed that:
  • The Local Development Plan needs substantial review – especially in light of AstraZeneca’s move to Cambridge necessitating 2,000 new homes in next 2 years – an announcement that came after the sites in West Cambridge were selected. Andrew suggested that well-paid pharmaceutical staff would be seeking family homes in pretty villages, a need that would clearly not be met by new builds on Bourn Airfield or West Cambourne. 
  • Waterbeach development was being fatuously delayed to ensure Northstowe and A14 developments were prioritised. He suggested that developing Waterbeach would remove the need for further building on Bourn Airfield and West Cambourne as well as supporting the successful key worker strategy. 
  • Development at Bourn Airfield and West Cambourne was ‘undesirable’ (Giles did push for a more forceful word!) – as it would lead to coalescence of villages and a strain on existing infrastructure. He noted the strength of local opposition demonstrated in the BAD forum, the village hall meeting and e-petition. He said that news of BAD had even reached the corridors of Westminster! (corridors today – PM’s question time tomorrow?!) 
  • To offset the need for extra family homes within South Cambs he felt that the District Council should contact all Parish Councils to invite them to consider accommodating 30-40 new homes per village (in SE-SW Cambs). 
All in all, the campaign group considered it was a very successful meeting and I rather agree with them.

Andrew Lansley’s letter goes ahead of his formal consultation response as the e-petition organised by StopBAD is being presented to South Cambridgeshire District Council at is full council meeting to be held on Thursday 25th July 2013, at 2.00pm at the Council Chamber. I would strongly urge residents of the affected villages, in particular Bourn and Caldecote, to support the petition presentation on Thursday.

Please share this article with your friends and neighbours and anyone else you know who has an interest in this matter.