56 people attended the 17 October Northstowe Community Forum, co-chaired by Cllr. Sarah Cheung Johnson and Cllr. Alex Maylon.
Footpaths in Northstowe
Tam Parry from Cambridgeshire County Council gave an update on the requested path between Northstowe and the Park & Ride. The current desire line created by pedestrians using a slit in the fencing is informal, inadequate and about to be made impassable by building work on parcel H6.
A path of type 1 gravel between the Busway spur and the park and ride is planned to be installed by the end of November 2018, made of recycled concrete from Oakington Airfield. The temporary path is expected to be in use for approximately a year until the Busway is linked up. The temporary path will be a significant improvement over the current informal path but will not be lit, and may not be suitable for small wheeled vehicles. Larger wheels such as bicycles will be fine.
The rest of the Northern Greenway is expected to be installed in 2019, and will be constructed in the same way as the existing section. As play areas and parks are installed, linkages will be created and additional footpaths will become available to residents.
Names of Parks – Gallagher Estates
Stuart Field of Gallagher Estates was pleased to announce that contractors have been sourced for the Local Centre Square and that preliminary work has already started in advance of construction starting on 5 November. Construction is expected to take 5 months.
The Local Centre square will henceforth be known as ‘The Green’ in homage to the golfing history of the area, as well as reflecting the traditional village greens of surrounding fen edge villages. The Green will have an electrical supply to enable farmers’ markets, Christmas lights etc.
During the consultations undertaken to name the The Green, the name ‘Pioneer’ was also a popular choice among Northstowe residents. Stuart Field announced that in recognition of the place-making role of the early residents of Northstowe, the Formal Park in Phase one will be named ‘Pioneer Park’. It is anticipated that a contractor for the park will be selected in the spring, and that construction will take approximately 6 months.
Western Park Progress
The allotment and orchard land is now in legal process to be transferred to South Cambridgeshire District Council. The southern sports pitches are seeded, and should be available for use in 2020. The northern grass pitches will be in the immediate vicinity of the sports pavilion, multi-use games area, and the floodlit all-weather pitch: these have not yet been seeded in order to avoid damaging them during the construction of these facilities.
Phase 2 & 3 Update - Sisk
Dan Connely from Sisk gave an update (see slide deck) adding that the new southern access road will be ready to receive Phase 2 deliveries from the end of November.
The exact dates that pilings will occur for the new Wilson’s Bridge have yet to be set.
When the bridge is open it will be a bridleway, not designed for off road bike usage. The difficulty of producing a path that allows a horse to pass but not a motorbike has been acknowledged.
The status of communications with the residents of Rampton Drift was questioned, with residents feeling that all communications so far have been reactive rather than proactive. Jon London, the Northstowe Community Development Officer will work with Homes England and Sisk to facilitate communication in the future.
Phase 3 Design Update – Homes England
Philip Harker gave an update on the progress on Phase 3 planning. The outline planning application for phase three should be submitted in 2019. A resident questioned discrepancies in the stated water flow rates from the Environment Agency and the Swavesey Internal Drainage Board. Philip confirmed that Homes England are ahead of schedule for the delivery of their mandated flood mitigation works for Phases 2 & 3.
It was also confirmed that there are currently no start dates for the south-eastern access road or phase 3b.
The first houses in Phase 2a will be built by a partner housebuilder to be selected by the end of 2018. Reserved matters planning application will be in place to allow construction to start by the end of 2019 in anticipation of first occupations in 2020.
Questions from the Community
A series of questions were raised with regard to antisocial activity by site traffic on the Phase 1 site, including speeding lorries, going the wrong way around roundabouts. Concerns were also raised regarding construction site debris littering public areas.
Community Development Worker Jon London will meet with the housebuilders to bring these issues forwards, and also will work with the parish council to invite the Longstanton Community Speedwatch to Phase 1.
Tam Parry (Cambridgeshire County Council) will investigate installing signs to ensure vehicles use the roundabouts correctly and do not shortcut the wrong way around.
The streetlights on Linden parcel are not illuminated. This was brought up as a significant issue due to the time of year.
Jon London will meet with the Linden site manager to understand the issue.
Questions were raised regarding public transport provision in Northstowe. It was confirmed that while bus service levels are entirely market driven, rather than mandated by government, there was funding for extending public transport into Northstowe, and that it would probably take the form of a Citi 5 loop through Phase 1.
The work on the Hattons road attenuation ponds will continue with clearance over the summer and will probably be operated by SCDC, funding and legal issues notwithstanding.
It was made clear that the community wish to be involved in helping to shape the retail offer in Northstowe Phase 1. A workshop will be held with the community to understand their aspirations and the kinds of facilities, e.g. pub, coffee shop etc.
Pathfinder Community Wing Update
Anita Howard from Cambridgeshire County Council gave an update on opening the Community Wing. She gave a brief history of how the community wing came about, and emphasised that the availability of the space from such an early point in the development was both opportunistic and experimental. Anita acknowledged the community’s frustration that bookings cannot be made until the appropriate legal agreements were in place, however assured them that the County Council legal team and partners are working closely in order to fully open the space as soon as possible.
In the meantime, Anita encouraged the community to continue to work with Jon London, and make expressions of interest for how they would like the space to be used.
Northstowe Community Forum presentation
Northstowe Forum Dates for 2019
The next Forum will be 6 February 2019.
Any queries please contact Northstowe.firstname.lastname@example.org or 01954 713070.
CORRECTION 8/11/2018: Unfortunately while the sports pitches were due to be seeded the actual work was not carried out by the subcontractor due to weather conditions.