Capital Park, Fulbourn consultation – more science labs east of Cambridge

The developers have branded it ‘Capital Park Cambridge’ even though the site sits outside Cambridge’s 1935-era municipal boundaries – as property development continues apace, not stopping for the local elections

TL/DR?: Go to the event on Wed 10 May 2023 at the CPC2 building from 4pm-8pm. The Citi1 takes you there by bus from both Emmanuel Street in the city centre, stopping at Cambridge Railway Station, and Addenbrooke’s bus stop. (See also live bus times for the various stops at

“What’s their proposal?”

Have a look at

If you cannot get there, email your views to them at info [@] capitalparkcambridge [dot] co [dot] uk

Their 20-page brochure is here. Make of it what you will. Note the transport statements that they have made – feel free to invite people to comment on those. Ask about the water resources needed given the ongoing issues and timetabling of the Chatteris Reservoir and environmental stress.

Monster Planning Application for Vitrum House – North Cambridge

I first mentioned this back in January 2023

Then I spotted the innocuous-looking notice at the back of the Cambridge Independent.

Yet there seem to be two almost identical applications.

  1. Ref No. 23/01509/FUL and
  2. Ref No. 23/01487/FUL

I’ve already invited people to get in touch with Cambridge Past, Present and Future for advice on how to respond. (Some of you may wish to join CPPF in order to help scrutinise the applications and also to stay up-to-date as to what applications they are made aware of)…and this one is a very big one.

“Why two applications?”

“Site promoters sometimes put in 2 identical apps. Negotiate on one and appeal on non determination on the other. Gets into appeal process early and can withdraw if looks like they’ll get approval.”

Cambridge Past, Present & Future’s Planning Committee Twitter Acct, 04 May 2023
“That’s just *f–king horrible*”

Exactly – overwhelming an under-resourced local council planning department with a monster application that already breaks the local plan on massing and building height! And as I mentioned yesterday, I already hate the building design.

“The height of the building has been reduced from 33.0m to 27.0m”

Developers’ response to concerns from council officers about height

***Why would developers waste council officers’ time submitting an application knowing that they would have to reduce the height and massing due to incompatibility with the Cambridge Local Plan 2018?***

It shows a complete contempt for our city, for our local councils, and for our civic and democratic institutions as a whole. No wonder – even without the scandals exposed by the Grenfell Inquiry public evidence sessions – there is so little trust between the property & development industries and local communities. If highly paid profit-making firms are prepared to behave like that, what else can they expect?

When you look at party political donations from the development sector, things look even worse for politics

 This article is more than 1 year old

“Property developers gave Tories £891,000 in first quarter of 2021”
The Guardian, 11 June 2021

Which means there is a massive financial incentive for politicians in the Conservative Party to keep maintaining policies that benefit those donors. One of the reasons why there is paralysis in this policy area is because that financial incentive clashes with the views of many members of Conservative constituency associations in rural areas or on the edge of towns that face the prospect of large new housing developments. Amongst other things – and as we have seen in and around Cambridge, this has a long term local political impact because the new residents that move into those areas are not automatically of the same political disposition as the existing parties. Look at what happened in South Cambridgeshire between 2010 and the present day – previously a safe-as-military-fortresses Conservative council.

Above – note the collapse of the number of Conservative seats vs the Liberal Democrats

That doesn’t automatically mean it will stay that way – the volatility of local transport infrastructure politics means that things could easily swing back the other way in some villages if the controversial Coton Village section of the Cambourne-Cambridge busway goes ahead. (Cambridge PPF are also opposing that development)

“The organisations campaigning for a better solution are local charity Cambridge Past, Present & Future, Coton Parish Council, Coton Orchard, the National Trust, Coton Busway Action Group, Coton Loves Pollinators and Save the West Fields. “

Cambridge PPF Appeal – Coton

My preferred solution to all of that is, as many of you know, the Cambridge Connect Light Rail which in the iteration I want for Cambridge, gets rid of the need to plough through the Coton Orchard by simply going underground before the link from Cambourne reaches the edge of the city.

Anyway, talking of buses…

Puffles – who got out of bed to go to the polling station today – got a new book. It’s all about Cambridge’s buses in the privatisation era

Above – Puffles with a book on local buses, and outside Lichfield Hall in Coleridge Ward, where the dragon is an annual visitor at election time.

It’s become a bit of a local tradition round these parts.

“Doesn’t the planning system (& the way developers game it) bring into question the integrity of democracy and the effectiveness of voting?”

It does – but then everything is so interlinked it makes it very difficult for people to get their heads around it – which is one of the reasons why too many of us quite understandably give up on it. And I don’t blame them. That is why I appealed for people to get involved in local civic society and campaign groups as a means of responding to this. It’s one of the reasons why CamCycle (with over 1,500 members, of which I’m one) has been able to influence planning applications to provide far better cycling facilities than developers would like: because campaigners pooled their resources and expertise to challenge developers early on, getting a reputation of effectively forcing developers to come up with better proposals on cycling facilities or risk costly delays, refusals and lost appeals. (Next step now is to encourage people to get involved with the longstanding group Living Streets – formed as The Pedestrians’ Association before WWII in response to the frighteningly high number of deaths and injuries caused by motorists – something that still remains a problem almost a century after its founding.

Anyway, I’ll finish this post here. Polling stations will probably have closed now, so all I have to do is wait for the results!

If you are interested in the longer term future of Cambridge, and on what happens at the local democracy meetings where decisions are made, feel free to:

%d bloggers like this: