East Cambs Offers Its Expertise To Fight Hanley Grange

HOUSEBUILDING is continuing to hit the headlines as anxious campaigners await the outcome of the Mereham planning enquiry. Proposals for 5,000 new homes between Stretham and Wilburton are on hold while Government minister Hazel Blears decides the fate of

HOUSEBUILDING is continuing to hit the headlines as anxious campaigners await the outcome of the Mereham planning enquiry.

Proposals for 5,000 new homes between Stretham and Wilburton are on hold while Government minister Hazel Blears decides the fate of East Cambridgeshire's green space, but meanwhile a similar fight is going on in South Cambs, and its East Cambridgeshire District Council's turn to offer their support and expertise.

All local authorities in Cambridgeshire stand united in their opposition to a proposed 8,000 home settlement at Hanley Grange, 15 miles south of Cambridge city.

Like Mereham developer Multiplex before them, Hanley Grange's agents have applied for Government Eco-town status - which enables them to bypass the lengthy local planning process and receive a decision straight from Hazel Blears, Labour's Minister for Communities and Local government.


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Despite its poor public transport links, flooding concerns and potential to add to existing traffic congestion in the county, Hanley Grange was shortlisted by Government as one of 15 potential eco-towns earlier this year.

"South Cambs could be facing the very same planning enquiry we've had over Mereham, by next year," East Cambs head of planning Giles Hughes told councillors at a meeting on Tuesday.

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"One of the things I learnt from the Mereham enquiry was that you think about the impact of housing more broadly. The county has quite challenging housing targets as it is, and we've got Northstowe [plans for new town north-west of Cambridge] which you need to get up-and-running before we get another new settlement in the county."

Voting unanimously to support the Say No to Hanley Grange campaign, councillors added their voices to those of South Cambridgeshire district councillors, county councillors and residents.

"To call this an eco town is almost a misnomer," said Liberal Democrat John Abbot. "I can't understand how this is a sustainable development at all.

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