Fresh on the heels of adopting their new “Doubling Nature” strategy, the Liberal Democrat-controlled cabinet of South Cambridgeshire District Council has refused to take planning enforcement action for the the destruction of this 1.6 ha woodland and ecological mitigation site at Chesterton Sidings near Cambridge North Station. The site is within the boundaries of Waterbeach & Milton ward.
On Monday, 22 March, Jane Williams, a member of Waterbeach Parish Council and Labour candidate for district councillor for Waterbeach and Milton ward, addressed a question to the South Cambs cabinet meeting asking why no planning enforcement had been taken after the site was stripped of all existing trees, vegetation, and habitat areas required under a 2016 planning consent.
According to Cllr Tumi Hawkins, Liberal Democrat and executive councillor for planning, the district council had declined to take planning enforcement action because no landscape and ecological mitigation plan had been required under the terms of the planning permission.
The fact is that while South Cambs Lib Dems claim to be “green to the core”, in this instance, Cllr Hawkins had not even bothered to read the planning permission in question before delivering her remarks at Monday’s cabinet meeting.
In fact, two landscape and ecology plans are expressly listed in condition No. 2 of the planning consent, and yet Cllr Hawkins seemed to be unaware of this condition. Whilst two landscape and ecology plans are listed on the decision notice, they are mysteriously missing from the council’s planning website.
In response to the inadequate response to the destruction of this ecological site at Chesterton Sidings, Jane Williams is calling for an investigation as to why the ecology plans are missing from the council website and why they were not referenced in the cabinet member’s response to her question at Monday’s cabinet meeting.