All the latest news from the July Community Forum

Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 11:00

Local residents came together with developers, contractors and public sector partners again on Wednesday evening. The evening was very informative as ever and gave local people the opportunity to ask questions and give their views on how the development is progressing.

For those who weren’t able to come along, below is a brief summary of what was covered during the evening.

Welcoming new residents – all new residents are being welcomed to Northstowe with a personal welcome and information pack put together by members of the wider community. If anyone would like to help welcome the new residents please contact the Longstanton Parish Council Clerk.

The Pathfinder C of E Primary School – the new headteacher, Stephanie Redgate, came along to introduce herself and let us all know how plans for the school opening are progressing. All staff needed for September have now been recruited and are getting ready for the new children starting – there are a number of children now confirmed to be joining the school and numbers are increasing daily. The school is determined that it will become a focal point for the new Northstowe community and an afternoon tea is already being planned for the wider community. Stephanie hopes that one day there will be a community choir running from the school!  Stephanie was given a very warm welcome and invited to attend again in the future.

Travel Planning – we heard that all new households are entitled to claim a £50 voucher for walking or cycling equipment, a one-month bus pass and free cycle training for children and adults. More information on this can be found in resident Welcome Packs or on the travel plan page. The Phase 1 travel plan is aiming to reduce single-occupancy car trips from the site and achieve a higher than expected uptake of walking and cycling.  New residents can also get involved in a travel plan steering group that will have access to further funding of £15,000 per annum to allocate towards sustainable transport measures and initiatives. We agreed to discuss buses at a future meeting.

Phase 1 progress – the earthworks at Hattons Road ponds are now complete and soft landscaping around the ponds will soon begin. Some snagging of the primary roads is taking place and the format of the proposed play areas should be able to be shared at the next Forum in October.

Groundwater monitoring – Alex Gallagher of Wardell Armstrong gave a detailed presentation into the groundwater levels at Northstowe, which had been requested following concerns of local residents. Alex outlined the topography of the area, the works that have been carried out and details of the climate and rainfall levels over the period.  It was concluded that in Alex’s view, as a hydrogeologist, that climate factors are very likely to have been the cause of low water levels in the Kingfisher Pond and RTD aquifer, but that further monitoring should continue.

Phase 2 progress – approximately 500 people attended the recent archaeology open day and there was lots of good feedback received. The next open day will be held in September, which will also include a community dig.  Work on the Education Campus is progressing well, with the process for appointing builders and contractors to the project underway. The Campus will include a secondary school, primary school and Special Educational Needs school, and the first students will start at the secondary school in September 2019 as planned.  Tenders have also recently been returned for the main infrastructure contracts for this Phase, which include utilities, roads and drainage, for example. Work should start on site by late 2017 / early 2018.

Planning update – permissions for approximately 650 homes have now been granted and the Phase 2 Design Code is now at formally consultation as part of the planning process.  Longstanton Parish Council is to receive a presentation on the Design Code at its next meeting.

We also heard that a Heritage Group has now been set up as required. The Longstanton and District Heritage Society is represented on the group by Hilary Stroud.

Following an announcement that this would be Andy Lawson’s (Gallagher Estates) last Community Forum, he was thanked for his work on Northstowe and wished well for the future.  The Forum gave him a warm send-off with a couple of speeches and a round of applause.

The next Community Forum and drop-in will be on Wednesday 18 October. Any queries please contact Northstowe.community@scambs.gov.uk or 01954 713070.

Gemma Barron, Head of Sustainable Communities and Wellbeing at South Cambridgeshire District Council

 

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