Plans for ‘Newbury Farm’ development released

The planning application by ‘This Land’ for the southern half of the huge new housing estate off Worts’ Causeway, formerly known as ‘GB2’, is now available for our inspection. There’s a lot to read, but I think many residents will want to do so, and thoroughly. We have until Thursday 17 Oct 2019 to comment on the plans.

‘Newbury Farm’, as GB2 is to be called, stretches from Worts’ Causeway down to Babraham Road, the lower right hand area in the illustration below. It will contain 230 homes.

One of the first things you’ll notice is the arterial road running right through the site. This is to provide access all the way from Babraham Road to the northern of the two Worts’ Causeway developments (‘GB1′), shown in yellow. It’s planned to forbid entering or leaving either estate onto Worts’ Causeway at ‘restricted times’, using some sort of numberplate recognition system. During these times, the entrance on Babraham Road will be the only way in or out of both estates.

As GB1 is similarly sized (although its plans are still to be detailed), this means there’ll be a lot of traffic on Newbury Farm’s arterial road in the ‘restricted times’. Dozens, if not hundreds, of cars might be trying to get out of the one entrance on Babraham Road during the morning peak, many of them wanting to turn right and join the solid queue heading into Cambridge. It worries me that whatever the Worts’ Causeway no-entry times are, they could eventually be amended or cancelled, letting traffic use that route instead to slightly relieve the chaos.

The road crossing Worts’ Causeway will require significant hedgerow to be removed, which is concerning a number of people for serious environmental reasons. You can read some of these comments already on the council planning application website (details below). One local resident tells me: “This Land’s plans do not make the environmental impact very clear as the documents are not all labelled on the online portal. Without reading several huge documents you can’t see the effect that the removal of such a large section of essential green corridor, habitat and food source would have for the 7 species of bat and 14 bird species on the RSPB Birds of Conservation Concern red list. The Environmental Impact Assessment, which many local residents requested be included during the scoping phase, says that the northern hedgerow in particular was identified as being important, supporting the greatest bat activity and species diversity of the site.”

The Netherhall Link

I have an issue with the isolation of both GB1 and GB2 from Netherhall and Cherry Hinton, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists. This is because the children of GB1 and GB2 are expected to go to school there, as Sam Davies has explained.

Obviously cycling or walking to Netherhall and Cherry Hinton via Addenbrooke’s or the Lime Kiln Road hill are both non-starters. There’s a cut-through from Field Way and Bowers Croft to Almoners Avenue and then Queen Edith’s Way, which would probably be the preferred route for most of the 200+ children on the two estates, but it’s still circuitous, and it would not be popular with residents.

Creating a cut-through from GB1 to Almoners Avenue looks possible. But best of all by far would be a new cycleway tracing around the back of the Beaumont Road housing, marked in yellow below. While this would probably be best pursued as part of the GB1 development consultation coming later, good separated cycle access from any part of GB2 to Worts’ Causeway (from where it can continue through GB1 to the new cycleway) would be an intrinsic part of this route, and should be raised now.

It’s important that as many of us as possible have a read of the Newbury Farm planning application.

On that page, scroll down to DESIGN AND ACCESS STATEMENT PART 1 and DESIGN AND ACCESS STATEMENT PART 2 and read those to begin with. The two documents should give you plenty to think about. However, there are many other more detailed documents to study, depending on your area of interest.

One Reply to “Plans for ‘Newbury Farm’ development released”

  1. 13 days to read that lot is not long. I absolutely agree that good quality cycle and pedestrian access out the back towards town and Cherry Hinton is absolutely vital. _And_ must be competed before anyone moves in, not after everyone moves in (see Nine Wells where one cycleway still isn’t built, one isn’t connected and a 3rd is a) crap, with no drop kerb and b) only connected a few months ago). It’s still too easy for developers to build the road first and the cycle route second, which is just wrong.

    I have already made both these points to both GB1 and GB2 developers, but it needs repeating until they commit to them (the second needs planning enforcement).

    A road through the middle is fundamentally the wrong way to design new housing – the cycleway should go through the middle – the any main/through road round the edge, but that argument seems lost already.

    Note that as well as the yellow line you’ve drawn, there is a gap in the housing alongside Beamount Road which could also get cycle/pedestrian connectivity. That and/or the Almoner’s avenue connection is really needed as well to get community connectivity otherwise it’s a long way round (and uphill) to get to the park or a load of neighbours, or the pub or QE school.

    Will there really be hordes of people driving into Cambridge from GB2 if you give them decent cycle connectivity (and the bus service into town is pretty good here too)? Away from Cambridge makes sense. Don’t let them put in a 3-lane junction (2 out, one in). Wide junctions like that prioritise cars over bikes both by making it more convenient to drive than bike/walk and by making the crossing from Babraham P&R less safe and convenient (see Eddington on Huntingdon Rd as an example of getting this wrong).

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