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Recent media has made reference to a plan reportedly being discussed at concept stage within the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. In response GSPC has defined the following position statement.
‘Great Shelford Parish Council (GSPC) has been actively engaging with local authorities, businesses, land-owners and the community regarding the building of affordable homes, the expansion of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (a world leading bio-medical site and home to Addenbrooke’s, the Rosie and Royal Papworth hospitals) and the improvement of transport infrastructure in our region.
In conversations with political representatives and bodies at all levels, businesses, corporations, national service providers – the recently reported concept of ‘Cambridge 2040’ has not been mentioned.
For the record, we are opposed to further expansion of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC) into the Green Belt because of the lack of direct financial benefit to the hospitals’ building plans (Cancer Research, Children’s and rebuild of acute hospital), the lack of demonstrated need for bio-tech business to be co-located in one centralised location, and the very high harm it will cause to the precious and narrow Green Belt between Cambridge and its southern necklace villages.
We also oppose those transport infrastructure projects which are likely to impact the villages close to CBC, without any obvious benefits for the resident communities. We note that most transport infrastructure proposals stem from CBC’s position as the largest employment site in Cambridge and its envisaged further expansion at that site.
We firmly believe there are opportunities to spread employment prospects across the county, expand the biomedical campus in a less damaging way through the use of alternative existing and brown-field sites and to improve existing transport links, before building damaging new ones.
We fully support the sustainable growth of the region, the biomedical sector and the sensitive development of transport infrastructure in the East of England. GSPC is actively and urgently collaborating on initiatives such as Cambridge South Station, the proposed Cancer Hospital and Children’s Hospital, local developments including the Great Shelford Village Charity almshouses, public transport plans that increase accessibility for our residents, improved provision for non-motorised transport users; as well as supporting planning applications from residents to improve their homes and businesses.
We have every confidence that our position in these matters is well-informed and not anti-change per se, but instead reflects a sound commitment to progress, sustainability, health and the viability of local communities.
Cramming vast expansion into one centralised location, with insufficient natural resource and restricted opportunities for infrastructure development, benefits only the very wealthy few, and does not respond to existing community needs. It is also incompatible with the water stress that our region is suffering and the restoration of critical chalk streams. The local environment is fragile and already under siege.
The opinion of GSPC (like that of many others’ already expressed) is that this idea has not been thought through and that aspirations to create a Silicon Valley style project are erroneous.’