Local Plan: Fields south of Queen Edith’s – ecological concerns

One of a series of guides to responding to the Greater Cambridge Local Plan ‘First Proposals’ document, published to help local residents.

A guide to responding to the Local Plan First Proposals, and some personal thoughts on the issues, written by: John Meed, local resident, writer, researcher and musician

Certain elements of the Greater Cambridge Local Plan will have an important impact within the Queen Edith’s area. Policy S/CBC: Cambridge Biomedical Campus (including Addenbrooke’s Hospital) identifies an ‘area of major change’ in the fields immediately south of Queen Edith’s. There are three main elements of this shown on the map.

  • S/CBC/E2 includes land adjacent to the Biomedical Campus that has already been removed from green belt in the existing local plan;
  • S/CBC/A recommends development of the two fields between Babraham Road and Granham’s Road;
  • A further area of land on the slope of White Hill is identified as an area in which the councils want to see measures to enhance biodiversity and green infrastructure.

The policy justifies the development of the two fields between Babraham Road and Granham’s Road (S/CBC/A) because of “the national importance of the Campus in health, life-sciences and biotechnology, and the significant public investment into the area with the new Cambridge South Railway Station”.

These proposals would take the fields in S/CBC/A out of the green belt. The councils recognise that: “release of the areas proposed would result in very high harm to the Green Belt” and that “there are concerns regarding biodiversity and landscape impacts”.

However, they argue that “the harm of release would be lower than other land in this area, although this is still acknowledged as a high level of harm”.

Here’s where to read the proposals.

Click on the ‘+’ symbols to read the sections on: ‘Why is this policy needed?’, ‘What consultation have we done on this issue?’ and ‘What alternatives did we consider?

I have carried out ecological surveys in precisely this area for the last ten years. At first sight, the area I study may appear unlikely to support high levels of biodiversity. However, in practice it is home to remarkable populations of red-listed farmland species of high conservation concern, and development on the fields in S/CBC/A will have a real impact on the local wildlife. I believe that any measures to ‘enhance biodiversity and green infrastructure’ on the field sloping up to White Hill do not go anywhere near far enough to counter the species loss elsewhere, and that if the policy goes ahead, more habitat improvement will be needed in the fields across Granham’s Road.

My own response focuses on the biodiversity impacts. However I am aware that there are other possible concerns about the policy, for example: the area is prone to waterlogging during wet periods; the area is used extensively by local residents for leisure; it is unclear what kind of development would be allowed; development will place additional demands on infrastructure and local services.

To comment on this policy, here’s what you need to do:

  • Go to the proposal’s web page here (it’s the same one mentioned above).
  • Scroll down the page to near the bottom, until you get to the ‘tell us what you think’ section. Ignore the + button on its right, but click on the blue speech bubble on the left.
  • Log in, or create an account and then log in.
  • Then you can add your comments and/or upload a separately-written document.

Additionally, I recommend completing the Local Plan’s online questionnaire, where you can make similar points to those you’ve made above, but also comment briefly on many others.


These guides to commenting on the Local Plan First Proposals are provided by the individual authors. The Queen Edith’s Community Forum does not take any political stance on local issues. We welcome other guides on the same lines, written by local residents. Please contact us at hello@queen-ediths.info if you’d like to write one.