Planning applications

This article was published in 2021, in Magazine 152.

21/02326/FUL Land south of Coldham’s Lane

This is a controversial application that has already seen objections from over 500 people in addition to ourselves.

It’s tricky to know precisely what’s being proposed here as the developers have hedged their bets somewhat. Are they proposing a distribution centre? And what kind of distribution centre? Last mile or regional? Or is it just a leisure attraction to open the lakes up for visitors? It’s hard to know.

Aerial view of the site.
In their submission the developers requested outline planning for commercial development and ‘last-mile logistics hub’ at the east of the site, full planning for ‘ecological enhancements’ only at the west of the site and full planning application for the lakes area as an ‘urban country park’ (landscaping, ‘ecological enhancements’ and public access for recreation).

There are, in any case, quite a few problems with it. The application is for the area near The Tins and the old chalk pits south of Coldham’s Lane. If the developer is proposing a regional distribution centre, this would increase the traffic through Cherry Hinton considerably and create an even more hostile environment for cycling on routes that are already poor. There is no indication in the application how this would be mitigated.

The council wants a commercial development on the site, and the application lists various potential types of use. However, one of those uses has informally been described as either ‘regional distribution’ or ‘last mile’. Very little has been said, in support or objection, about other possible uses. The eventual outcome could actually be quite different from the proposals!

An example of an entrance to the urban park from The Tins path with a kissing gate.

Quite separately from the commercial proposals, the landowner wants to open the ‘lakes’ (deep and dangerous water-filled chalk pits) for public access, from Burnside (where there is already private access) and from The Tins. Cycle parking is proposed near the Burnside entrance but other cycle access appears to have been deliberately designed out.

Camcycle objected on these grounds as well as noting that the sight-lines for entrances with kissing gates (again, vaguely described) were inadequate and that the safety of all users had not been ensured.

At time of publication, the application has been withdrawn and Anderson, the developers, are considering modifications with the aim of resubmitting plans later in the year. Spokesperson Tim Chilvers told the Cambridge Independent that the focus is on ‘coming forward with the correct and most appropriate scheme. And part of that is ensuring that we take full account of all the comments from residents and from statutory consultees as well … The main concern is the scale and proximity of built form, which we’re absolutely looking to address, and also the amount of HGV traffic, which again, we are really committed to addressing.’

Bev Nicolson

Find out more about this proposed development and join the discussion on Cyclescape thread 5779

21/03609/FUL – Conversion of former NIAB HQ to 291 flats and 202-bed apart-hotel

Aerial diagram showing part of the site.
This diagram shows kerb lines interrupting the cycle lane, which sends the wrong message to drivers.

Camcycle recently objected to this application under policies 80 and 82 of the Local Plan and Local Transport Note (LTN) 1/20, the government guidelines on cycle infrastructure design.

There are two-tier cycle parking stands shown in the documents, which are not permitted for residential use under policy 82 and Appendix L of the Local Plan. Sheffield stands are also shown, but they lack dimensional information so we were not able to assess whether they met or exceeded the requirements of the Local Plan and the city council’s Cycle Parking Guide.

There is an access driveway onto Lawrence Weaver Road: the applicant has correctly shown cycle priority over the driveway with painted markings. However, the diagram still shows kerb lines interrupting the cycle lane, which sends the wrong message to drivers. This has been a big problem on Lawrence Weaver Road where the ostensibly hybrid cycle lanes look more like car parking spaces (and are used that way) because they are improperly interrupted by every driveway. Instead, the cycle lanes must be uninterrupted by the driveway – the Huntingdon Road cycle lanes are an example of how to do this.

Find out more on Cyclescape thread 2749