This article was published in 2020, in Magazine 147.
20/01972/OUT – Netherhall Farm, 200 dwellings
Work is underway on plans for two new housing estates on the north and south sides of Worts’ Causeway, totalling 430 homes. The site north of the road (GB1) has been named Netherhall Gardens, while the south site (GB2) is to be called Newbury Farm. Local campaigners are dismayed at the lack of facilities available for residents of these two sites (and those in the newly-built Ninewells development of 162 homes) and the impact of the developments on local traffic and the environment. Walking and cycling access is also a major issue.
In April we objected to the plans for Netherhall Gardens. The developer claimed that pedestrians and cyclists would come first but, looking at the details, we could see a development straight out of 1972, making many of the same old mistakes that give priority to cars over people at every opportunity. This is a summary of the issues we raised:
Problem: poor quality access for cycling and walking
Despite the freedom the developers had to come up with a really good design, access proposals are extremely bad. The western access (see top right) is basically a shared-use pavement at the side of the road with two 90-degree turns rendering them inaccessible to most larger cycles.
Solution: redesign to be accessible for all
Make sure off-road cycle routes are properly designed cycleways, separate from pavements, that take into account all aspects of design for wheeled vehicles including navigable curves, easy road crossings and good forward visibility.
Problem: access to Netherhall School
The new site is approximately 600m away from Netherhall School, but no walking and cycling link is planned. Instead, children will have to travel nearly 2km to get to school along segments of roads with long-standing speeding problems, such as Worts’ Causeway and Queen Edith’s Way.
Solution: include a direct route to school
A direct, high-quality and fully-accessible walking and cycling route to the school should be secured, for example by following the edge of the neighbouring field, or by linking to Beaumont Road.
Problem: off-road routes on site
The developers have proposed an offroad shared-use network within the site, featuring paths with unbound surfaces which run behind houses and hedges.
Solution: redesign as a primary network
The cycling and walking routes must be designed as primary movement networks, with building frontages facing them, open spaces drawing people to use them, and natural surveillance tools used to keep them safe in an unobtrusive and sensitive way. Surfaces must be suitable for use in all weathers, at all times of year and hours of the day. Busy routes should have adjacent, dedicated, kerb-segregated footways and cycleways of ample width.
Problem: access to Queen Edith’s
The only reasonable walking and cycling route to the Queen Edith’s neighbourhood is the cut-through via Bowers Croft, which is in poor shape.
Solution: improve Bower’s Croft
Widen the route and install flush drop kerbs, in addition to adding a new link to Netherhall School.
Problem: dangers on Worts’ Causeway
There is a severe speeding problem on Worts’ Causeway, at the front of the site.
Solution: keep cyclists safe from traffic
Either Worts’ Causeway needs to be significantly traffic-calmed to 20mph using physical interventions in ways that protect people cycling from motor traffic, or else a separate and protected cycleway needs to be constructed along its length.
Problem: cycle parking provision
Just one cycle parking space has been allocated per home for dwellings with 1-3 bedrooms.
Solution: go beyond the minimum requirements
The minimum requirement for cycle provision under the Local Plan is for one cycle parking space per bedroom. We recommend that the developers plan for more than this, given that they wish to prioritise cycling as a mode of transport. They should include larger spaces suitable for cargo cycles in both homes and shared parking areas.
Problem: primary streets and shared-use pavements
The proposed design for the main road is very wide and will invite motorists to travel at excessive speeds in front of homes. Having the pavements directly adjacent to the carriageway guarantees that they will be used for pavement parking.
Solution: redesign as a place for people
A better design could feature a narrower carriageway, separated from pavements and segregated cycleways by generous verges. The fully accessible design would give priority for cycling and walking wherever driveways or side roads joined the main road.
18/0481/OUT – Land North of Cherry Hinton
Outline planning permission was granted at a meeting of the Cambridge Fringes Joint Development Control Committee on 27 May for 1,200 homes and two new schools just north of Cherry Hinton.
Camcycle spoke at the meeting to object to plans to put a through-road in the middle of a new neighbourhood and straight past a primary school. We believe that it is impossible for the street to meet the two incompatible goals of trying to be a low-speed street meant to encourage active travel, but also acting as a bypass road to relieve Coldhams Lane and Church End. Many motorists will be trying to push through as quickly as they can, even while families attempt to walk and cycle on the same street. This combination is a recipe for disaster that will be locked in for generations to come, pumping pollution right into the heart of the neighbourhood.
- Find out more and join the discussion about the Netherhall Farm application on Cyclescape thread 5217 Discussion on the development site south of Worts’ Causeway is on Cyclescape thread 4754
- . Local campaigners Sam Davies (sam4qe.com) and Chris Rand (queen-ediths.co.uk) have several posts about the developments on their blogs.
- Find out more and join the discussion about the Land North of Cherry Hinton on Cyclescape thread 3931
- We welcome new volunteers to help us respond to planning applications. To get involved or find out more, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Cyclescape thread 4290