Tuesday, 24 March 2009

How to object to the proposed EDF depot

Dear JGA member,

Here is the draft letter of objection to the EDF bid that was promised at the EGM on 17.3.09 Feel free to print it up and mail it. Or you can use the following link and copy and paste it into the comments section of the council website on line.

For this, go to http://www.cambridge.gov.uk/publicaccess/tdc/DcApplication/application_comments_entryform.aspx?caseno=KEG01BDX05A00

Comments must be received by April 6. If you have time, please take a minute to tailor the letter and add a few personal touches. This will be more effective than a standard letter, but either way, it will help

Director of Environment & PlanningCambridge City CouncilThe GuildhallCambridge CB2 3QJ Dear Sir,
Planning application 09/0087/FUL: Temporary site compound on Jesus Green
I was disappointed to hear about the plans for this maintenance depot, which will occupy a prominent area of the green for at least 18 months. This compound will be a noisy, ugly and intrusive presence on one of the city's best-loved open spaces. It should be opposed for the following reasons.

-Its location is wholly inappropriate and unsuited to this area of Jesus Green. It is a very well-used space, favoured by many families in the summer, and the depot would be an unacceptable loss of green space

-It is also wrong to sandwich a depot used for the disposal of trade waste (which could be toxic or corrosive) between popular tennis courts and a major pedestrian route. Children from Park Street Primary School also use the nearby area for PE sessions and lunchtimes. The application should be opposed on health and safety grounds given the potential risk to the public’s health.

-The application contradicts the council’s stated aims in its Local Plan. Policy 4/2 says “development will not be permitted which would be harmful to the character of, or lead to the loss of, open space”, while para 4.6 adds "open space is an essential part of our natural resource base, making a significant contribution to the setting, character, amenity and biodiversity of the city.” This temporary depot does not accord with this planning policy and should be refused.

-The proposal does not accord with policy 4/11 considering conservation areas, within which this site lies. Any new structure must "respect the character and context of the site and the surrounding area". With two towering portakabins, halogen lighting, hoardings and ugly car parks, it is hard to imagine a more ugly and inappropriate development.

-Access to the depot from the substation in Thompson's Lane would be through narrow, quiet, residential streets, with sharp corners, which are unsuited to large lorries. The streets are also used by school children and I would urge councillors to reject the scheme on safety grounds.

-The depot will cause lasting damage to this area. Not just to the grass, which will struggle to recover given the previous record of EDF on the green. Four or five trees will also be felled from in the avenue running from the Jesus Green footbridge to Portugal Street to make space for the depot. The whole avenue will then be chopped down on completion of the project and replaced with 26 cherry trees…”. I believe the loss of these trees is wholly unwarranted and will have a negative impact on the green’s appearance for decades.
-Similar to the views expressed by Market ward councillors, I believe Jesus Green is a common and should be protected using laws to this effect. I do not believe the council has the power to sanction this bid as it is not the owners of the land – it is owned by the people of Cambridge.
This depot is totally contrary to the council’s aim of protecting the city’s green spaces and the features within them. I urge the councillors addressing this issue to reject this application and ask EDF to consider alternative ways to deliver these facilities. Perhaps parking in Park Street car park could be used to reduce the need for this depot.

Yours sincerely,

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