Milton and Beaches Lib Dems

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The ongoing battle for our villages

by Barry Platt on 16 May, 2014

The Liberal Democrats are opposed to the Conservative proposal for a New Town at Waterbeach.

This is not the first time that Waterbeach has had to fend off schemes to allow thousands of houses in the parish. Both Jane Coston and Michael Williamson were active on behalf of our villages in preventing previous applications.

Myra and Maurice at the proposed New Town site

Conservative plans for a New Town the size of Ely on the most low-lying area in the whole district would be a disaster, say Maurice and Myra

When the current plans were announced two years ago, Maurice Leeke launched a survey in Waterbeach, Landbeach and Chittering asking local residents what they thought of the idea. There was a very good response – over 250 households replied. They gave a very clear thumbs down to the New Town.

Most of the respondents said that they were happy to accept the redevelopment of the built-up part of the barracks site as an extension to the village, but that a New Town was not welcome.

Maurice Leeke reported the results of his survey as part of the Public Consultation, and he also requested an interview with the Conservative councillor responsible.

“It is a great pity that the Conservatives would not listen to what Waterbeach had to say,” says Mauric Leeke. “Waterbeach must be almost unique in the country in being willing to accept development which would almost double the size of the village. Any reasonable person would accept that Waterbeach was doing its bit, and more, and be satisfied.

“For the Conservatives to insist on a New Town of up to 9,000 houses (about the size of Ely) on the most low-lying area in the whole district, despite the many reasoned objections, is pig-headed and wrong,” added Maurice.

Although the Conservatives have had their say, the campaign against the New Town continues. In the autumn a Planning Inspector will examine the proposals. Maurice Leeke has asked to speak on behalf of our villages.

“What we really need is a clear mandate from the local community to say that local people do not support the New Town,” says Maurice. “Only a strong vote for Myra Gaunt and the Liberal Democrats can provide that. Voting for the past or present Conservative can only be interpreted as supporting the New Town proposal.”

Myra and Maurice at the Barracks site

Like Myra Gaunt, most residents would be happy to support redevelopment of the built-up part of the barracks site.

Commenting on the proposals, Myra Gaunt said, “Why can’t they see that this is the wrong place for a development of this size? I am not against some development – a growing area like ours needs more houses for people. Redeveloping the old barracks could be positive for the village, supporting the local community and local businesses. But a separate New Town as proposed by the Conservatives, including concreting over farmland beyond the barracks and closing Waterbeach railway station, would be a disaster for the area.”

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