Letters to the Editor

This article was published in 2006, in Newsletter 65.

Arbury Camp Development

On behalf of South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC), we would like to respond to the article in Newsletter 64 relating to the Arbury Camp development.

The article was inaccurate in its opening statement. The new development at Arbury should not have taken anyone by surprise as extensive consultation sits at the heart of the planning process. The site has been allocated for development in the SCDC Local Plan since 1998 and the Local Plan process was subject to extensive consultation. Following the allocation of the site, an outline planning application submitted in 2002 was also the subject of wide consultation through letter, advertisement in the Cambridge Evening News and site notices.

In relation to the details of the cycle ways and crossings, these were submitted to SCDC by the developers in June 2005. Technical consultations took place with the County and City Councils and discussions with the highway authority, Cambridgeshire County Council, are ongoing. These details have yet to be finalised and agreed. The comments that your organisation has made in relation to the design of the crossings and cycle ways are welcomed and have been passed onto the County Council for their information; the City Council cycling officer has also been consulted.

We would therefore suggest that extensive consultation has been carried out over the years.

The development at Arbury Camp places cycling at the heart of its sustainability aims. These improvements will help to provide a safer environment for cyclists and encourage the greater use of cycles as opposed to the car.

If you need any more information about the Arbury Camp development please do contact John Pym or Frances Fry in the SCDC major developments team on (01954) 713166 or (01954) 713430.

Kelly Quigley MCIPR
Communications Officer,
Major developments team,
South Cambridgeshire District Council

The author replies

The Arbury Park development was no surprise to me. I live close by, went to stakeholder meetings, and am on the developer’s mailing list. My surprise arose when greatly expanded roads started being built without the same level of consultation.

Looking back, I recall a developer’s representative describing Kings Hedges Road at the time as a ‘sewer for cars.’ There was talk of transforming it into a ‘living road’ and even a suggestion of pavement caf├ęs. The developer’s mail shots did not suggest these massive roads. Were we misled?

The lack of public discussion of the road layout is acknowledged in the third paragraph of the Council’s letter: ‘Technical consultations… are ongoing’. It is not clear how much access cycling officers have had to the plans. My October 2004 plans are actually more up to date than some of theirs.

Rather than mere words that cycling is ‘at the heart,’ I’d like to see evidence that cycling is a priority. Doubling of road widths, removal of cycle lanes and imposition of multiple toucan crossings is not the way to encourage cycling.

I’ve watched the care and attention that has been lavished on the roads. It took months to put down a surface for cars. In contrast, the cycle path on Cambridge Road was laid in just one week. Lamp-posts in the path illustrate the lack of attention to detail for cyclists. I challenge the major developments team to compare the amount spent on widening and rebuilding roads and and that on the cycling facilities. This will show the true bias in planning priorities.

It would also be interesting to know why so many issues raised by the safety audits have been ignored.

David Hembrow