Former Councillor weighs in with Wort’s Causeway criticism

His former local party colleagues currently on the city council may have not had the courage to vote against their “party line”, but former Queen Edith’s county councillor Geoff Heathcock has condemned the approval of the Wort’s Causeway development in no uncertain terms. In a letter to the Cambridge News (below), he writes:
“As a resident of Queen Edith’s for over 32 years, and a former councillor for 20, I am absolutely gobsmacked that despite very reasoned protest and argument against opening up Wort’s Causeway to a development of over 400 houses ? and the very real damage this will do to the green belt surrounding this part of the city ? the city council see fit to still proceed and keep “this site” in its sights for development and thereby eventually opening the floodgates for significant development, right up to the Beechwoods and behind Lime Kiln Hill ? an environmental disaster if ever there was one.
“No one can argue that truly affordable housing is not required ? but not on green sites when brown sites remain around Cambridge ? and who has assessed in proper detail the transport impact on what is effectively a country road at present leading to Hills Road, already choked with traffic often at a standstill twice a day at the very least ? or is it the same old story?
“A developer has come along who will give a good price for this prime land ? make a very significant buck or two …and then leave our part of Cambridge with a soul-less development with no facilities and dump the ensuing problems on already saturated roads, health centres on Wulfstan Way and local schools!
“If Localism is to mean anything, local councillors of whatever persuasion should listen and respond properly to the worries of local people or deserve to be thrown out at a future election since they only hold office to represent local people while they retain local support!”

The last paragraph is intriguing. It may give further encouragement to local residents who have already said they will be voting against the current councillors in future elections, and who have since discussed the possibility of standing themselves, as a “residents’ candidate”. We shall see.

geoff heathcock letter to cambridge news

One Reply to “Former Councillor weighs in with Wort’s Causeway criticism”

  1. This is an excellent letter from Geoff who remains passionate for the area that he represented so ably for 20 years. As a ward Councillor for Queen Edith’s I have consistently advocated for residents on the proposals to build on sites GB1 and GB2 [my latest letter on this was published in the CEN on the 4 july]. I have followed the planning process through and share other residents frustrations. At the Planning and Development Scrutiny Committee – I raised residents concerns that the housing needs figures are based on false premise, that the consultation was meaningless and that the sites have been undervalued in terms of biodversity, ecological and historic value. At the Environmental Scrutiny Commitee – I asked for a reassessment of the sites as they were graded amber [red would have meant that they could not be built on] – my request was refused. At a meeting on Saturday with residents associations and the Principle Planning Officers – I raised the question of affordable housing as recent discussions relating to the Bell School Development have revealed that a much smaller percentage of the 40% allocation is actually set aside for much need social rented accommodation with the rest being shared ownership with a starting price in the region of 300K. The Local Plan will be examined by the Planning Inspectorate, including the assessment and allocation of green belt sites for building and it is to be hoped that this is a thorough examination. In the meantime, consultation is ongoing from this month until September and as ever – it is important that residents continue to engage in spite of their reservations so that there is a full paper trail for the Planning Inspectorate to take into account.

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