The Hemingfords Action Group – Update to Supporters March 2020
As we are unable to publish and distribute Newsletters at present or to hold Public Meetings we thought you would be interested in receiving an e-mail update which will also be on our website.
Application Status and Use in Contravention of Planning
Astro Turf Site – Planning Application Reference FMW/072/19
The Closing date for Objections was 12thFebruary.
HGPC and HAPC have recommended refusal as have Godmanchester Town Council. THAG have questioned if the application falls within the scope of Section 73 and drawn the attention of CCC to a range of other reasons for refusal. CCC Place and Economy have stated they cannot support the application. CCC Transport have said the application gives insufficient information. EA have asked (insipidly) for more details pointing out an Environmental Permit would be required but failing to point out one has been refused for the present site.. HDC have raised concerns and objected on various grounds. Highways England have said no objection
We are aware of many other representations which are not shown on the website to prevent abuse by third parties to objectors. There are no supporting representations. CCC have indicated that it is unusual for their to be this level of interest and objections.
Messrs Circuit Solutions whose business would be ruined (they employ 55 personnel whose jobs are threatened) have written emphatically opposing the application and asking the CCC case officer to visit. Their employees have also written to oppose and given information about wildlife. They have asked for all these objections to be publicly shown. Both Ian Bates (our County Councillor) and Sarah Conboy (one of our District Councillors) have very helpfully visited the Circuit Solutions and seen their operation which uses equipment worth millions of pounds.
The internal target date is still shown as 5thMarch (missed!!!) and the determination was March 19th(missed!!!)
On 17thFebruary the Case Officer at CCC (Helen Wass) wrote, in accordance with the policies relating to such planning matters, to ask MGL to comment on the results of the initial consultation and to provide a range of additional information relating to Transport, Vibration Mitigation, Air Quality Assessment and Operational Height. As at March 27th no reply has been received. When a reply is received there will be further consultation in which all can take part.
We now expect this to be on the CCC Planning Committee Agenda in May (14th) at the earliest and will ask the Chair and Vice Chair to visit before the meeting – we will keep you informed and would be grateful for your attendance. Our County Councillor has indicated he intends to speak at the relevant meeting. We are unsure as to the format the meetings will take but have put CCC on notice of our wish to speak. It is possible that the meeting will take place by video link in which case we ill make appropriate arrangements to be included.
THE LEVEL AND QUALITY OF RESPONSES HAS BEEN ENCOURAGING. WE ARE NOT AWARE OF ANY IN FAVOUR . IT IS VITAL THAT THE RESPONSE TO THE NEXT CONSULTATION IS EQUALLY DEMONSTRATIVE.
WE HAVE NO DOUBT THAT THIS IS AN ATTEMPT TO USE THE ASTRO TURF SITE AS A SPRINGBOARD FOR EXPANSION INTO THE WHOLE SITE INCLUDING THE GOLF COURSE.
HEMINGFORD GOLF CLUB CAR PARK
The number of skips in the Car Park has materially reduced to about 15 (from over 100) but is still a significant concern and remains in clear contravention of planning. This has been raised with HDC but both we and HAPC continue to await a response but we can only assume that the reduction is a function of HDC raising the matter with MGL.
New Draft Waste and Minerals Local Plan
We submitted our response through our solicitors on 11 December and the consultation ended on 9th January. We have also registered our wish to give oral evidence at the Public Enquiry which we expect to take place later this year. No details are available and at the date of this but the New Draft Plan has now been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. An update on 2nd March indicates that all representations have been considered and that Appendix 3 (which lists current sites and includes the Astro Turf Site) should be unchanged.
The public enquiry into the Waterbeach incinerator is under way Case Number 3225123. It was expected that the results would be known on March 15 but the Inspectorate website currently shows the date to be undecided. Should the Inspector decide in favour that decision will have an impact on the draft plan.
Hemingford Golf Club Site, Astro Turf Site Activity, Golf Shop and Driving Range
As referred to earlier we continue to draw HDC’s attention to the use to which both the bungalow and the Car Park are being put and the Environment Agencies failure to have the Astro-Turf site cleared following their refusal to grant an Environmental Permit.
Abbots Events are leaving the premises at the end of this month.
Sub-committee to assist with the process of preparing a detailed proposal for the Hemingford Golf Club to be granted the status of a Community Asset et seq.
A preliminary final draft Application was discussed between HAPC Councillors, ourselves and HDC officers last week for the Conference Centre, Golf Range and Course to be granted Community Asset Status for the creation of a major games facility with a series of Astro Turf and Grass pitches with excellent spectator facilities. These have been presented to Ian Bates and Sarah Conboy and also to senior officers at HDC following letters written at the end of February to Nigel McCurdy (HDC Corporate Director Place), Jo Lancaster (Chief Executive) and Ryan Fuller (Executive Leader of the Council). The senior officers we saw on 5th March were Clara Kerr (Service Manager for Policy, Implementation and Strategic Development) and Jayne Wisely (Head of Leisure and Health) - Findlay Flett (who co-ordinates Community Asset applications) was also present. We emphasised the opportunity to create a Technology Park on the old Golf Course which would mean the complex we envisage can be used by the staff and families working at the Park – American style. Ms Kerr laid great emphasis on the opinion that we had obtained from James Pereira QC that the Golf Club (as distinct from the range) was Greenfield and was interested to know if we saw the complex proposals as an opportunity to negotiate with MGL. We indicated that our objective was to prevent the recycling centre and indicated that we felt this was a way to progress our opposition in a positive way. We pointed out that the status of Community Asset would have provided the Community with the ability to be aware of and pursue the purchase when it was last sold in December 2019 and it is that advantage which is sought.
Iain Muspratt also met with Jonathan Djanogly on Friday27th February for the same purpose. Our MP was interested and supportive.
Later in the year we intend to hold a further open meeting to present the plans to everyone in the Hemingfords. This will not be fixed until we know the result of the Astro-turf site application – and such meetings are permissible in accordance with the regulations made in accordance with Coronavirus Act 2020
Iain Muspratt – The Hemingfords Action Group
27th March 2020