4 Replies to “Voting to fight Green Belt development”

  1. I feel that our area has given more than enough of the green belt by surrendering it to the building of Addenbrookes and all their extensions plus a hotel, etc, etc.

  2. I am passionate about protecting our environment. The land designated “green-belt” is part of this environment, especially if it is highly bio-diverse or is home to rare species. But “green-belt” is not the only part – we must reduce carbon emission and pollution too, and reverse the habitat erosion for so many species. Many of our native species are in steep decline – almost all of our butterflies and bees for example, and many birds.

    Let’s not forget that we are already building on “green-belt” all over south Cambridgeshire, in many villages and towns – those living there don’t like it either. The core problem we face is the unprecedented growth of jobs in and around Cambridge. The jobs bring families for which there are not enough homes. This results in house prices that prevent our children, and many vital poorly paid workers in Addenbrooke’s, from living here. This, in turn, is causing long commutes, local air pollution and road grid-lock, parking problems and much more. Any solution is complex and involves difficult balances.

    The only viable green solution is building more local houses. The nearer these are to the jobs, the less the pollution and carbon emission. We are unable to control the job creation, and have built (or are building) on almost all the brownfield sites available. Our homes are already being replaced with flats and higher density housing. The greenest solution may be to build dense high rise apartments where some of our existing houses are – but we don’t like that idea. So what viable and acceptable solutions are left?

    The green questions are:
    1 “Which green land do we build on now the brownfield sites are exhausted?” not “whether we build”.
    2 “How do we maximize the benefit from this green land by building as densely as practical?” not “ignoring our local housing problem which results in un-green solutions that are out of our sight”
    3 “How do we reduce pollution and carbon emission?”, not “how do we export the house building to villages and towns away from Cambridge so that they loose more of their precious green belt, and their new residents are forced to commute to Cambridge causing unnecessary pollution, excess carbon emission, and grid lock in Cambridge.”
    4 “How do we protect and enhance our existing biodiversity, and help it to thrive once again?” not “fight to save the green belt right beside us and forget that our houses were build on green land half a century ago”.
    The balance is difficult for us, and it is uncomfortable. We ignore the tide of change at our peril. We don’t have the power to hold it back. So our best option is to manage it as best we are able and help make the wisest and most balanced decisions available to us. What practical feasible green alternatives are there at this time?
    Dr Tim Moore, City Councilor Queen Edith’s Ward

  3. Chris – Tim Moore’s contribution to this discussion rather belies the fact that the Liberal Democrats offer no guarantee to protect our Green Belt – in Queen Edith’s or elsewhere. Instead it demonstrates a ‘green-lite’ understanding of the issues and effectively a ‘green light’ to continued development and inevitable loss of areas of natural interest and quality of life that supports. I don’t see Labour offering anything different either. Whilst I can appreciate your argument that the Conservatives are the only viable option in the Parliamentary elections in South Cambs for those concerned about the Green Belt, this is not the case in this local byelection. Here, a vote for the Green Party is the only definitive guarantee of a vote against further development on the Green Belt land in Queen Edith’s.

    Indeed, you should not underestimate the potential for a Green Party councillor in Cambridge. Not only have we established our presence nationally – with a Green MP and overtaking the Lib Dems in the European Elections this year – but locally our membership has more than doubled in the last 12 months. There is an instinctual affinity in this fast-expanding City for a Party that places highest value on sustainable growth and making the most of the resources we have. People can see that continued development will only bring the City to a standstill if we are not building in measures to alleviate that pressure rather than encouraging it. We cannot just keep getting bigger and more densely populated.

    And this calls for a holistic view that avoids the trap of localities competing against others to keep their own green space. The Green vision for Cambridge is of a city supported by and supportive of self-sufficient villages with the best communication and transport networks. Contrary to the view put forward by Tim Moore, we need to take the courageous decision to take control of the City’s growth and ensure that the rural communities around are well-resourced for businesses and families as well as those who are left isolated by an erosion of public services. This means good broadband, and good local services, facilities and jobs, NOT just housing. The time is ripe now for voters to prioritise the long-term view, to celebrate the wealth of the City without keeping it all to itself.

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