THE future is looking brighter for sustainable housing and economic growth in the county as a major plan has been given the go ahead.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Minerals and Waste Plan has been signed off after years of hard work and consultation led by the county’s planners and following an in-depth examination by an independent planning inspector. Its key aim is to ensure that up to 70,000 new homes expected to be built in the next 15 years can be delivered as sustainable as possible.
The Plan has been shaped by years of close working with local businesses and communities across the county and has been developed by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council.
The documents identify the best sites for sourcing construction materials such as sand and gravel for new housing, and waste management facilities for dealing with waste arising from future construction, new businesses and households in the county over the next 15-20 years.
The Plan also has a focus on protecting the environment and improving biodiversity. This includes increasing wildlife habitat in the county through quarry restoration, opportunities to source building materials close to major new infrastructure developments to reduce the need to transport heavy materials over long distances, and providing the best recycling centres to make it even easier for residents to recycle.
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Lead Member for Growth and Planning, said, “After several years of close working with local communities and businesses in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and a tough examination by the independent planning inspector, it is great news that the Plan has been given the go-ahead. It will make a real difference to the lives of residents in Cambridgeshire and confirms our view that the right way to plan for growth in the county is to work closely with local communities. Its key aim is to make sure that any new development in the county is delivered in a way that doesn’t negatively affect local communities, now or in the future.
The Plan puts forward 70 sites for mineral extraction and waste management across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. The Inspector has given the go-ahead to all of these sites with the exception of one site to the south of Addenbrooke’s Access Road in Cambridge. This site was put forward by planners for a state of the art recycling centre to enable existing and new communities in and around Cambridge to recycle as much as possible. After much consideration, the planning inspector recognised how much work went into the choice of site but rejected it on the grounds of protecting the Green Belt and the historic environment of Cambridge. The Inspector did however recognise the need for such a facility to improve present provision and to cater for planned new development. He therefore strongly encouraged the Councils to work together to identify a suitable site through their respective plans. The County Council will look to work closely with the City and South Cambs as they progress with reviewing their local plans during the next year to explore potential options to address this need for the Southern Fringe area in line with the Inspector suggestion.
The Minerals and Waste Plan is due to be adopted by both Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council in early 2012.
To find out more about the Plan, go to www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/environment/mwplan.