Northstowe Community Forum Notes

Northstowe Community Forum
Notes from Meeting 16th May 2018

These are notes me and Alex took from the meeting - they are not the official minutes!

Thanks to all those who attended, we thought there was a lot of useful information and opportunity for residents to give their views. Thanks go especially to Mike Hill, Director at South Cambs District Council, for his excellent chairing, especially amongst some very heated discussions.

If there are specific issues you would like us to look into please feel free to email us at: [email protected] and [email protected]

Northstowe Community Development Officer: Jon London gave a brief introduction, reminder he can be contacted at: [email protected]

South Cambs District Council (SCDC) have brought in Landscape Architect Emily Haysom to design and work with residents on the Allotments and Orchard for Phase 1. There are workshops to kick off ideas and design for these as per the flyer attached, 19th May 2.30pm – 4.30pm and Tuesday 22nd May 7pm-9pm. If you can’t make these but would still like to be involved in the working group please email: [email protected]

The working group will make decisions such as: how the allotment will be run, whether to add animal husbandry, beehives to the area, whether to have all 5 pole allotments (half size) or mix them with 2.5 pole (quarter size) allotments, tree planting etc.

As a reminder the allotments are for Phase 1 residents but because we are unlikely to have enough occupants for allotments in the beginning, these allotments will be made available to local, non-Northstowe applicants– but demand from Phase 1 residents take priority.

Dick Longdin gave a presentation on the play areas. Once we have a copy of this we will post this on the group.

The first play area has been submitted for planning approval, the docs can be seen here:…/ap…/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl… 
Comments on this planning application can also be added on this page.

The presentation detailed the results of consultations with SCDC, Gallaghers, adjacent House Builders, Northstowe Community Forum, Longstanton Youth Council and Cambridgeshire Quality Panel.

The broad idea is to adopt Play England recommendations of wide areas with free flow and natural play and not have many fenced off parks.

James Stone from SCDC confirmed that Local Equipped Area for Play (LEAP) number 3 will be a fenced area. This is located in the middle of a set of Barratts housing that has not yet been specified, so design work on this has not started.

Concerns were raised in the meeting with regard to the safety of parks that are not fenced for young toddlers running off and for dogs to get into, as well as dogs on the paths that crisscross the formal park. Parents at the meeting said that whilst these designs were great for older children, as parents of much younger preschoolers, they had not been listened to adequately.

(Note - As parents of young children, Alex & I also share these concerns - so we will be following up with our concerns on this with the Council)

Homes England presented their designs for the bridge at the end of Wilsons Road in Longstanton that will go over the new dual carriageway that connects Northstowe to the B1050 (Southern Access Road). This is a cable stayed bridge with a 52m span and is expected to be completed in Summer 2019.

The bridge is to be used for pedestrians, cyclists, equestrians and is intended as a visual gateway into Northstowe (although it will first go into Longstanton). Concerns were raised on the path leading up to the bridge being too muddy for use in winter, Homes England to review.

Site clearing work continues, trees that are being maintained have been identified and protected, the topsoil off the water plot and school plot have been removed, bulk shifting and moving of materials continues.

A second archaeological dig afternoon is to be organized in the Summer of 2018 as a sizeable Roman settlement, approx. 1km south of the town centre, has been identified. Participants will be allowed to help dust artefacts as part of the day, details to follow from Homes England.

A question was raised over leftover bombs – 3 were found and safely disposed of already, the rest of the site is clear.

Homes England reiterated points made in our previous update on this (see previous posts) and the road closure begins on Monday 21st May. They confirmed the concrete barriers to close the road will be put in approx. 4am on Monday. Signs alerting commuters will be put up around both villages and on the B1050 this weekend.

Note for Longstanton: Woodside Road is also closing on Monday and cars will be diverted down Thatcher’s Wood. Signs to the entrance will advise drivers.

To re-iterate the following:
- Cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders will continue to be able to use this road. The road may have to be closed for periods from a day to up to 2 weeks for site work but will be notified a week in advance to the Parish Councils as well as on the Northstowe Community Facebook page. 
- The road closure is under a temporary traffic regulation order. A permanent order will be sought and a public consultation on the permanent closure will be on the basis of the previous traffic restrictions, i.e. whether it should be permanently closed to the motorised vehicles who had been previously allowed to use the road: taxis, buses and mopeds only. 
- The road will not be re-opened to private motor vehicles after the 21st May.
There was heated discussion from residents both for and against the closure.

Gallaghers gave an update on this and said the groundwater levels are coming back to normal levels. The Kingfisher pond is also fed by surface water run off which has not been going to the pond. They expect that once the groundwater levels are back up and surface water is replaced the Kingfisher Pond will revert back to normal. Some residents remain sceptical.

James Stone & Gallaghers agreed that a well in Longstanton being empty of water was an anomaly that needs to be looked at. SCDC will hire an independent consultant to look at the past data and this issue - more updates and a concrete timeline to come.

Gallaghers are looking to clear and clean the pond to the specifications of SCDC Ecology experts and refill the pond. In the future surface water run-off from the playing pitches will be used to top up water as well as rainwater from the Sports Pavilion and car park (which will be first purified).

For Phase 2, Homes England confirmed, in a separate meeting, that monitoring of bore holes will be put in around the site and that the attenuation ponds and drainage pipes will all be lined as a precaution.

Gallagher's presentation is here: (some of the links are broken on this)

Residents expressed disappointment that Northstowe had not been considered as a location for the move from Shire Hall of the Cambs County Council offices which are to move to Alconbury instead.

The next Northstowe Forum is on 18th July 2018 at the Community Wing, Northstowe

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