Northstowe Community Forum meeting

Alex Rileyfrom District Councillor Alex Riley
These are my notes from last night.

The meeting started at 7pm. Tim Wotherspoon was in the Chair with some 45 members of the public present.

1. A14 Project Overview (Penny Fletcher and Geoff Dodson from the Highways Agency)
This topic was given added focus by the fact that the Westbound carriageway of the A14 was completely blocked all evening as the result of a serious accident at Fenstanton.

The project is more or less on hold at present until the ministerial decision to proceed or not, due on 11 May. The plan is to start in Spring 2017 and complete during 2020. There are 5 large sub-projects:

  1. Northernmost section of the A1
  2. Adding an extra lane to the A1, connecting to the A14 (West)
  3. East Coast Main Line Bridge – Swavesey section
  4. Swavesey – Girton section
  5. Girton – Milton section
  • Items 2 – 4 will be carried out in parallel during the whole of 2017 – 2019.
  • Two lines of traffic will be open in both directions at peak times.
  • Full closure of a stretch will only occur where an existing structure has to be demolished.
  • There will be Average Speed cameras at all points along the upgrade.
  • There will be a huge compound at Swavesey, South of the A14.
  • The Bar Hill interchange is still being tweaked and is a major undertaking.  It will be designed right from the start to handle Northstowe at its final size. (This is a welcome change over the earlier intention only to accommodate Phases 1 and 2.)
  • At Swavesey and Bar Hill there will be bridges to accommodate “Non-Motorised-Users”.

2. Northstowe Phase 1 Work Programme Update (Andy Lawson/Stephen Sage, Gallagher’s + Peter Sutton, Hawk)

  • The realignment of Station Road is complete and the speed limit has been reduced to 30mph.
  • Temporary, tarmacked, access has been created onto the section of bypass between Hattons Road and School Lane. This permits operation of a one-way system for the HGVs transporting spoil from the Hattons Road ponds onto the Phase 1 site. They had implemented a new system from that morning.  We had been promised “wheel washing” but they have opted instead for “wheel cleaning” because all the water would have just led to more mud.  At the end of each day the road is carefully cleaned. They are using 8 lorries, rather than the 12 they had anticipated.
  • There were a variety of questions from concerned residents about this operation. Last summer there was a lot of dust affecting residents of (for example) Ladywalk and it was felt that dust screens should have been provided.  Gallagher wants to work with residents to keep this problem under control. An additional dust monitoring station could be created. Peter Sutton is the project manager for Hawk (Gallagher’s contractor) and his number is 01948 842120.
  • When the excavation work is completed, the pond site will be landscaped, the temporary tarmac removed and the two gates to the site will be kept padlocked.
  • There was a question about water levels on the site. Gallagher lowered the water table last year in order to facilitate the addition of land drains but they maintain that water levels (e.g. in the Kingfisher pond) are back to normal. Local residents who were previously alarmed about the drop in the water table were able to confirm that this has now largely been corrected.
  • Gallagher confirmed that the first development of Phase 1 by Bloor Homes will be on the site to the West of the B1050, at Crabtree Corner. They are having conversations with other housebuilders about other Phase 1 developments. First housing completions expected Q1 2017.
  • Concern was expressed that an area in the extreme South of the Phase 1 site is being taken over by a group of youths. Gallagher said they would look into this.

3. Phase 1 Primary School (Juliet Richardson, CCC)

  • The building work will complete around Easter.
  • For the school year beginning in September, our Hatton Park Primary School will relocate to use the Phase 1 school. During that time Hatton Park school will have extensive work done on it to upgrade it from the current single-form entry to two-form entry.

4. Phase 2 Work Programme Update (Paul Kitson/Philip Harker/Dean Harris, HCA)

  • Three WW2 500lb bombs (British in origin) have been located and safely disposed of.
  • They are continuing to work on-site  as part of ongoing remedial work.
    Residents of Swavesey pointed out the great concern that there is in their community with the steadily-increasing demands on Uttons Drove Sewage Treatment Works arising from some 20,000 new homes (the total for Northstowe, Cambourne and Bourn Airfield).  HCA explained that they had “stepped up to the plate” to resolve the issues arising from the S106 agreements for Cambourne 950 and Northstowe Phase 1.
  • We were then given a brief overview of the Phase 2 Design Code which is being worked on by Tibbalds.
  • We were told that a key objective of the Design Code was to prevent Northstowe becoming “The kind of development that could be anywhere”. This struck a chord with many of the local residents present!
    Specific reference was made to the “large space” of the Northstowe Town Park and its potential uses. When they were asked what its area is we were told 1.2Ha, i.e. it is some 80m x 150m.
  • There is to be a public consultation on the Phase 2 Design Code.  It will run from week commencing 16 May and run until 10 June.  There will be a Drop-in session at our Village Institute from 11am – 4pm on Saturday 21 May. Residents of Rampton Drift can attend a special session starting at 10am on that day.

5. Healthy New Town Initiative

  • Northstowe is to be one of 10 demonstrator “Healthy New Towns” announced by the NHS on 1 March.
  • This is a partnership between CCC, SCDC, HCA and the local NHS Trust, with an emphasis on:
    – Homes for older people
    – Promoting Healthy Lifestyles
    – New ways of providing health and care facilities

6. AOB
A question was asked about the Phase 2 S106 agreement which was due to have been completed before the end of last year. “Discussions have gone very well”, we were informed. The sticking point seems to be the level of Affordable Housing.

In spite of the large amount of material we had covered, the meeting ended at 9.10, only 10 minutes later than Tim’s target.

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