Northstowe progress

Alex Rileyfrom District Councillor Alex Riley
The observant among you will have noticed that this is the very first time I have used the word “Progress” after “Northstowe”. Earlier reports have carefully used the word “Update”.

It had certainly seemed as if the project had, yet again, gone onto the back burner. At the Drop-In session in December the project plan showed that the first Phase 1 builder(s) would be appointed by mid-February. But by the end of March there had been no announcement.

Since the Northstowe Committee was peremptorily axed last year the only means for any of us to keep tabs on developments is the Northstowe Community Forum. Its last meeting was due on the 16th March and it was cancelled with unreasonably short notice on the 14th of March. Apologies on behalf of SCDC officers to those who turned up for this meeting.  I was abroad at the time and unable to forward the cancellation message.

All this was highly consistent with the project being back “on ice”.

The other day the latest edition of the “Northstowe update” was sent out (available here).  Pretty pictures of bomb disposal and the like. But tucked away and easily missed was:

Housebuilders have been sought for 3 lots of housing parcels to be developed in Phase 1. Bloor Homes now confirmed as the first housebuilder at Northstowe.

Progress indeed!  And the Cambridge News’ take (link)

I had assumed that this would be on the land at Crabtree Corner (as was), to the West of the B1050. The News’ diagram looks as though it is identifying the area of the Phase 1 square. We’ll find out next Wednesday.

In the missive I sent out on 21 January I was scornful of the Gallagher claim that housing would be delivered in the first quarter of 2017 because I assumed that they would be building on land that was to be raised by at least 1 metre. If it is going onto the levelled site West of the B1050 then maybe they could achieve this optimistic schedule.

The other major Northstowe-related event is that the massive shipment of spoil from the Hatton’s Road ponds up to the Phase 1 site is to begin imminently. All will shortly be revealed as to how this is to happen.  My report also said the following:

It is anticipated that for 6 months, starting in spring, 12 lorries will each transport 2 or 3 loads per hour of 8.5 m3 from 8am – 6pm daily. This soil will go onto the Phase 1 site in sections and be compacted prior to house construction starting section-by-section. There will be wheel washing at both ends of the journey. Access to the Phase 1 site will be via the Golf Course roundabout, not off the Northstowe stretch of the B1050.

A recent development has been the creation of an access from the end of the Hatton’s Road site onto the end of School Lane. Apparently this has been judged the least disruptive means of allowing heavy traffic onto the B1050 from the site. No heavy traffic will be allowed to go up into Longstanton from this point.

The meeting of the Community Forum next Wednesday is an important one for Longstanton. Please try to turn up. Between 6pm and 7pm there is a drop-in session, with the full meeting at 7. If you have particular questions you want to ask, it might be a good idea to raise them at this earlier session, before the meeting proper starts at 7.

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