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Cambridge Evening News October 10 2003

Council angry at MP's bid to halt future plan

By John Clare

CAMBRIDGESHIRE County Council has reacted angrily after an MP appeared to try and put the brakes on the county structure plan.

Anne Campbell, Labour MP for Cambridge, has asked ministers to "call in" the plan, which lays out the council's vision for the future of Cambridgeshire.

If her bid is successful it will mean a public inquiry into the plan, which has been more than three years in the making.

Yesterday Mrs Campbell and Cambridge councillor Ben Brad­nack formally asked the Minister for New DeveIopment, Lord Rooker, to consider an inquiry.

The MP is unhappy with the way new housing developments like the one at Oakington have been designed, saying not enough thought has been given to how they will be served by public transport. She fears the plan, which includes proposals for a guided bus between Cambridge and St. Ives, will do nothing to solve the county's congestion problems.

Coun John Reynolds, the county council's lead member for strategic planning, said, "Anne Campbell's request to hold a public inquiry is not only unnecessary but is almost a year too late. The plan has already undergone an Examination in Public where it was put under the microscope by a Government inspector, not to mention two countywide rounds of public consultation as well as cross­party debate. The Government inspector gave a ringing endorsement of the structure plan, including strong support of the position of the new town at Longstanton/Oakington as well as the Rapid Transit proposals. The transport strategy is robust and is designed, using Government guidance, to cater for Cambridgeshire's growing population and economy: Any delay would not only be futile but would be detrimental to the county." He added, "If Mrs Campbell was so concerned about the transport strategy, why did she not make any formal representation to the Structure Plan Examination in Public or subsequent changes suggested by the planning inspector?"

Coun Bradnack said the structure plan was putting the cart before the horse. He said: "Really the issue is what are the best and most easily developed transport routes and we should be putting housing where that transport is accessible. The plan needs to start by looking at transport rather than putting that at the end."

He denied calling in the plan would delay it, saying it would take a year for the Government to approve the guided bus project in any case.

PUBLISHED IN THE CAMBRIDGE EVENING NEWS 09/10/03 EDITION 39,412  © Cambridge Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved

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