This week the WRPS have responded to to the Eastern Access Consultation and green infrastructure proposals related to the Greater Cambridge Local Plan. Details are provided below -
Re: Greater Cambridge Eastern Access Consultation
14th December 2021
In response to the Eastern Access Consultation I would like to register an objection to the proposed move of the Newmarket Road Park and Ride site on behalf of the Wilbraham River Protection Society.
It is our opinion that:
• The existing site could be expanded, perhaps using a multi-storey approach, if more capacity is really needed.
• Moving the site would create an unacceptable carbon cost in the current climate emergency and the existing site should therefore be retained.
• The sites proposed would encroach onto the Eastern Fens proposed area for enhancement in the GCLP First Proposals, part of a Nature Recovery Network linking Wandlebury to Wicken Fen via Fulbourn Fen to Wilbraham, Quy, Anglesey Abbey and the River Cam.
• The proposed sites are close to the Wilbraham Fen SSSI and the Wilbraham River County Wildlife Site - both important ecological sites that are likely suffer from additional, noise, air and light pollution created by any development of the proposed P&R sites.
• All the proposed options are likely to increase footfall through the wildlife sites where public access needs careful management in order to protect the flora and fauna.
• Consideration should be given to alternative P&R sites further from the SSSI, should the existing site not be retained, such as north of High Ditch Road but south of the A14.
• Of the proposed sites Option 2 closest to the Airport Way roundabout is likely to be the least damaging to the wildlife sites.
• Future expansion of any proposed site eastwards towards the SSSI should not be contemplated..
• P&R site design should actively minimise noise, air and light pollution and be designed to deter excessive public access affecting the wildlife sites.
Greater Cambridge Local Plan
Your representation has been received.
Document: Greater Cambridge Local Plan Preferred Options
Section: Biodiversity and green spaces
Wilbraham River and its tributaries are not given sufficient mention or emphasis in the First Proposals either as having potential for revitalising the chalk stream or in the role it could play in enhancing the Eastern Fens. This may be because of the role it could play being downplayed in the Greater Cambridge Chalk Streams Report. Should increased river flows result from reduced abstraction then there would be 'multiple opportunities' to increase biodiversity along the river corridors and in the Eastern Fens as a whole.
The Wilbraham River Protection Society supports the proposals to revitalise the chalk stream network and the enhancement of the Eastern Fens in which the Wilbraham River and its tributaries arising in Fulbourn fall. We are, disappointed, however, that the opportunity to encourage the enhancement of the Wilbraham River system does not seem to be taken in the First Proposals as this would clearly help in the enhancement of the Eastern Fens as well as revitalising the chalk streams. (The River is not marked up on Fig. 5.1) We believe the assessment in the Greater Cambridge Chalk Streams Project downplays the role that could be played by this river through emphasising the ' land drainage' element in the low lying fen edge situation. The final comment in that Report that 'if reliable flows were re-instated this river would have multiple opportunities' indicates possibilities that could be taken up should adequate and continuous flows become available. While the Granta/Lodes Augmentation Scheme provides a degree of sustainability, outside drought conditions, we believe water abstraction from the Fleam Dyke Pumping Station and other boreholes has a profound effect on the springs in both Wilbraham and Fulbourn parishes that historically would have run sufficiently to power water mills in both parishes. Enhancing the river flows would, we believe, have a significant effect in increasing biodiversity along the river corridor and its tributaries and play a key role in enhancing the Eastern Fens.