The E Book of Cambourne
Updated Version December 21, 2014 1:12 PM

CAMBOURNE PLANNING HISTORY
Brief development history of Cambourne


The concept of a new settlement near Cambridge was first aired in 1986 when Cambridgeshire County Council published its consultation into the draft Structure Plan. Planning consent for the development was granted on 20th April 1994. The Notice issued 20th April 1994
Fifteen years later and Cambourne is still some way from completion, but new residents continue to be welcomed every week and construction work continues in Upper Cambourne.
Since Cambourne was originally conceived national planning policy for housing development has placed greater emphasis of making the most efficient use of land, and requires higher minimum densities from new development. The Council therefore has proposed through its Site Specific Policies DPD that the remainder of Cambourne should be built to higher densities than was envisaged in the Masterplan. The Council proposes that the overall net density should be approximately 30 dwellings per hectare. The exact number of new dwellings would be established through detailed design work. The Council ran a consultation workshop with residents and interested bodies during March 2007.
In August 2007 an outline planning application for 950 additional homes was submitted to the Council. The Council requested a number of amendments to the application. These were submitted by the developers in May 2010. The extra houses were approved in 2011
Cambourne will consist of 3 villages, Great Cambourne, Lower Cambourne and Upper Cambourne.

The following accounts are mainly seen through the eyes of residents or those working for Cambourne and will contain some facts and many assumptions. You may have different recollections so you could send your story.
If anyone spots an error I will make changes and certainly update it when necessary.
Acknowledgments for information and selections from The Cambourne Crier, www.Cambourne.net and www.Cambourne.info, South Cambs District Council and the Cambs County Council to which there are linked references which you can click to reveal more examples underlined with blue characters.
All the links should now work or are being worked on, if you spot a broken link
please email
Roger Hume
Most links are to original files at the time, a few have been tidied up but contain the same information

Chapter 1
Roger Hume

Chapter 3
Jane Barker Aerobics

Chapter 4
Colin McFee Chairman of the Service Providers Committee

Chapter 5

Individual recollections of Cambourne

Your Chapter ?

Chapter contributions have been requested from significant people in Cambourne and your story will be welcome. As short or as long as you wish

South Cambs

Cambourne a sustainable community?
November 2005

 

CHAPTER 1
See all other Chapters

Index and shortcuts to headings of Chapter 1

  1. Personal Introduction How we came to be in Cambourne
  2. The Move How we came to Cambourne and what we found.
  3. Getting Involved How I got involved in the community.
  4. Helping Out I tried to be helpful.
  5. In the beginning - In preparation, before a brick is laid.
  6. Developing Cambourne How do you build a community?
  7. The MLC (Management Liaison Committee) The elected community committee before the Parish Council.
  8. Churches Together How the churches helped the community.
  9. The Cambourne Crier Keeping the community informed.
  10. Getting Facilities Getting the developers to provide facilities.
  11. Provision for a Community What do communities need?
  12. The Cambourne Residents Association (CRA) The early residents committee.
  13. The Parish Council Formed in 2004.
  14. Art in Cambourne How Artwork in Cambourne was provided.
  15. Growing Cambourne Developer ambitions to enlarge Cambourne.
  16. An Extra 950 homes Permission was given for another 950 homes in 2011.
  17. Schools in Cambourne How the County failed to provide schools.
  18. Planning Mistakes and Problems What went wrong and lessons that can be learned.
  19. Commercial Cambourne Getting shops and community services.
  20. Other developments in the Region That are yet to come.
  21. The Original Statistics For the original 3000 homes.
  22. Conclusion Will Cambourne ever conclude?
The initial titles are about how we moved to Cambourne and got involved, others will have similar memories but real information on Cambourne starts here if you want to avoid the "probably boring" introduction.

1) Personal Introduction

My wife and I were approaching retirement in ten or less years which admittedly was some time away, but we were also looking to find somewhere nicer to live and possibly to avoid my wife using the busy M11 to get to work before then.
Our children were horrified that we were leaving the home they had been brought up in, and even leaving Cambridge.
But they had their own lives now and we wanted a change.

We searched for many months and, after having looked at a number of places and homes, we had decided after seeing yet another very poor house that we would stay where we were in Cambridge.
We sat having Sunday lunch in a Bassingbourn village pub where my wife was teaching at the Primary School, and were discussing future plans related to living in the same house.
Having had another viewing planned for the afternoon canceled, we decided to see what all the fuss was about in the local news about Cambourne.

We arrived in Cambourne one Sunday afternoon in December 1999, and visited all the show homes.
After returning home I started planning a refurbishment of our home in Cambridge. Several days later there was something about Cambourne on the TV and my wife said “I liked Cambourne”, my reply was simply “I thought it was fantastic”.
We had obvious requirements; we wanted a house with nearby facilities such as a library, health centre and a supermarket, and were careful to select a plot with ample parking as we had friends in Bar Hill where parking was difficult.
We also preferred a brick house without rendering.
Although many facilities were planned we were in no hurry for them so were not concerned about time scales.

We returned to Cambourne in January 2000 and discovered all the prices had increased, but we managed to select several houses that we liked, and various plots: that was the joy of Cambourne, and still is.
Initially we found it difficult to get our bearings and imagine how it would develop; the Concept Centre was available then for general information from Linda and Aly with a model indicating where buildings were planned. There were only 100 houses occupied. The model is now in the Hub meeting room.
Estate agents warned us we were making a mistake but later realised the potential and there are now 3 estate agents in Cambourne.
The original residents “Pioneers” arrived in August 1999, but we always said “the wagon train was still here!”
We put our house in Cambridge on the market and paid a deposit for 13 Willow Way (note the name).
Our chosen new house was partly built and even had a roof, but no walls upstairs.
We often came over to see our house being finished and in those days we could get in without hard hats or being accompanied.
Each weekend we wrote a snagging list and gave it to the Bovis sales office, essential when our daughter visited and realised it was impossible to sit on the en suite toilet due to its relation to the nearby walls!
Our house in Cambridge sold without too much delay and we knew when our house was due to be finished and decided on a completion date of April 14th 2000.
On one of these visits we discovered the true name of our road was in fact Willow Lane; more on that later.
We had lived in our house in Cambridge for 25 years and in Cambridge all our lives so there was much to do. I spent so much time at the Milton tip; I think they had me identified as a tradesman.
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2) The Move

We started our move on 13th April 2000 and so there were plenty of 13’s, even junction 13 off the M11 as well as our plot and house number. We were asked if we wanted the house number to be 11a, but we could see no point.

We had booked a week’s holiday soon after moving so wasted no time in sorting out the muddle and even got both cars in the garage.
We decided to get someone to lay turf over the whole rear garden to make it usable and replace it later, which in fact did not prove necessary although we made a lot of changes. The grass was very long when we returned from our short holiday!
Our first surprise was a visit from the South Cambs District Council Community Development Worker, Jerry Lambert with a welcome pack: as we were local we probably did not need it but the contact was welcome.
We were having problems with our address, no store card/credit card would accept our address and even Bovis were writing to 13 Willow Way.
Our post was also going via Camborne in Cornwall.
I eventually decided to ring up Bovis and asked the question “where do I live?”
This was met by a lady who was very patient and said “well where do you think you live?”
I said “13 Willow Lane Great Cambourne”, you could almost hear the cogs rotating in her head, “let me see Willow Lane, yes we have numbers 1 to 11 but no 13”.
I said “could you look up Willow Way”, she replied, “of course, Willow Way, there is one house number 13, oh dear” she said…….”

A small word of advice to anyone buying a new home, check council tax bandings to make sure your home is correctly assessed.
This should be based on a working back formula on what you paid, but if you bought some extras it may increase your banding. valuation based on their value on 1 April 1991, not what the property is worth today.
Don't leave it too long as there is a limited time to appeal.

Also be aware that some properties have management schemes which can be troublesome, thankfully most don't. You are effectively paying twice. I understood that management schemes were not being used now (apart from flats).
It appears that in some cases a scheme has been introduced no doubt to save developers money until adoption.
Any new management schemes are apparently likely to be temporary and taken over by the Parish Council, for example grass cutting.
There are some schemes that have been taken over by residents but are likely to be transferred to the Parish Council.
Subject to legal agreement.

Shared private driveways would revert back to the responsibilty of the homes using it but owners would not have to pay an extra annual charge on top of council tax.

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3) Getting Involved

Cambourne was an exciting concept for most and everyone moving to Cambourne was I am sure, determined to make it a success. There were 130 occupied homes in April 2000.
I tried to join the residents association. But due to the fact there were no meeting spaces, and they were then meeting in friends houses I was not able to.
I had never been involved in any such group before.
I immediately upset them by starting the first neighborhood Watch Scheme in Cambourne, and they were apparently asking “Who is this Roger”? They had been planning it but not got round to it.

I spent several months getting somewhat involved and finding out what was going on and I attended what I thought was the first firework display at the junction of Monkfield Lane and Jeavons Lane, which is now extended and flats built on the site, but there was I understand a small event the previous year before we arrived.
It was a very stormy night and we all got soaked to the skin, drying out by the fire I began to talk to more early residents.
There had been a summer event on the green but as it was school holidays we had been away. Return to Index

4) Helping Out

I was often asked to help residents once my name got known, typically there was a call from a couple who had just moved in but could not get the settee in. I spent some time trying different routes and carrying the settee over fences and eventually succeeded when we removed the front door. Having got the settee in the lady said “Oh dear it has got a bit grubby, we will have to buy a new one”!
I was called when people were locked out; I had a ladder and on one occasion was able to get in a bedroom window.
Another memorable one was when a resident could not open his garage door. He had left the car boot open when he closed the garage door, and when the garage door was closed, it then allowed the boot lid to rise and the boot lid was then preventing the door opening.
One couple arrived and found the carpets had not been laid; they decided to just set up a bed and went to sleep. In the very early morning they were woken by hammering sounds, the carpet fitters were fitting the carpets at 3am!
One couple arrived to find they had no window handles and therefore no security, the sales office said why not put things in to the garage, but unfortunately the garage door was missing too.
Another couple found a hole in the bedroom ceiling. The sales office was closed and they asked me to witness that they had just arrived and had not caused the damage. It was also common for front garden footpaths to be missing, just what you need when you move in, with all that mud.

General help was given on the web site

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5) In the Beginning

Cambourne did not even get that name in the early stages and was to be called Swansley Wood (or Monkfield Park as on the plans submitted with the planning application), to show nothing much changes in 1992 an inspector gave a ruling about all the area development submissions it just confirms how developers have really targetted this area and is quite worth a read from page marked as 76 anyway. (There are only 14 pages in this part document and the last page has a map plan). All the sites near here are still being targetted!

I was told the developers wanted a name that would sell, and wanted Cam in the title so Bourn was next door and Cam = Cambourne.

I am also sure that the developer in the original development at Arbury Park wish they had been able to rename it; after a while though they did change that to Orchard Park, even though the reputation of Arbury was probably unjustified, certainly in many parts.

First on any development list is for surveys of wildlife to be undertaken, and any rare species had to be rescued and looked after. Badgers were not allowed to be disturbed but they change homes frequently and once moved, development could start.

The next consideration was Archaeology and sites were dug up to see if there were any sign of earlier settlements.
We thought our first few summers would be quiet as they did not plan to start the extension of our road and the build on the site next door GC12, but this proved optimistic as soon after, they started bulldozing and examining the site for archaeology, even removing the top few feet of earth.

We used to wander over and look at the plastic bags that were used to collect the many artifacts.
We even found small pieces of Roman pottery, sadly no Roman bath.
There were signs of charred earth where funeral pyres had been.

Eventually there was a display of the artifacts. at the library by Wessex Archaeology the company given the responsibility of carrying out the work; they also probably did the first E book for Cambourne.

Of course the Masterplan and layout of services had to get planning permission and each land parcel applied for planning permission, usually just before building started and had to jump through the same hoops as any other planning application, except that you could not object to building as the sites were already designated for housing.
Bourn and Caxton Parish Councils and even Caldecote considered the plans and eventually the MLC (the precursor for the Parish Council) and now Cambourne Parish Council.
Consideration was also given to existing ditches and their routes, they tried to maintain these as much as possible as these were important for the future to compare with old maps.

Originally the waste collection in Cambourne was just plastic bags, you often found the bags had disappeared by the morning, probably taken by foxes, but we now have 3 large wheelie bins that are supposed to encourage recycling, but comparing one or two bags with 3 large bins has only encouraged more waste. .

This has now shown up another problem as not only do we have these bins for several days on collection days at the front of houses, but some residents have them permanently situated outside their neighbours lounge window.

Some early homes had shared bag bin stores but they were conveyed to one of the residents who used them as sheds.

You would have thought that the road system to and from the village would be a priority but the access roads were not improved for several years, resulting in long delays to and from Cambridge.
My start to work time was 7-40am, but it had to change to 7-10am to avoid queues. All the roads are now in place.

There are some very early aerial views of Cambourne
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6) Developing Cambourne

The Community was of course very small initially but being small and bunched together around the village pond in Great Cambourne everyone seemed to gel together and created quite a community.
The development in Great Cambourne stopped before the end of building and they started building Lower Cambourne, no doubt to take advantage of higher densities, but claimed the lakes were not ready to use for run-off.
It was interesting to note how that community developed.

It seemed that as the land parcels in Lower Cambourne were not together, smaller communities were formed without the same gelling.
So events and get together's were by roads typically or individual developments.
It was also noticeable that there was a significant buy to let market even more so than Great Cambourne, probably as pension investments were falling even then and individuals invested in property.

As I mentioned earlier our first summers were affected by bulldozers removing the top few feet of soil for the Archaeology investigations where Woodpecker Way is now.
Possibly the worst disturbance has to be living next door to a sales office, as we found when they extended Willow Lane and built Woodpecker Way.
Taylor Wimpey had a temporary cabin as a sales office where number 15 is now. They had no electricity to supply the cabin so they asked if they could connect to our power from the garage, we were glad to accept as we did not want a generator running all day and especially when they offered to pay our entire electricity bill!

When they moved the sales office into a show home we thought we would lose the power link but it was kept for more than 2 years as they used it for powering their site phones.
One morning we had a very apologetic sales lady knock on our door, she had demolished our fence and our shed had also been hit and everything fell off the shelves, she was driving an automatic car which was a big Volvo and the only damage to the car was a broken number plate. Our fence was replaced.

I had an office in one of my garages (yes I did get have to get planning permission). One day there was a significant amount of banging on the wall, the fencing contractor was fixing next door's fence to our garage wall, and they would have got away with it if I had not been in.

You can try and prohibit lorries from using residential roads but they always manage to arrive and then have to reverse out often big articulated lorries, but unfortunately you always get contractors parking small vans and cars. They often arrive well before the 7-30/8am start and discuss last night's football or whatever and wake you up.

Residents often had to deal with problems with blocked drains and areas that were flooding being a clay subsoil water just would not drain away. Bovis offered us a french drain to prevent our patio flooding but it would have meant digging up the garden, so I made a chamber of gravel which allowed the water somewhere to go.

It is still a strange notion that in the early days of Cambourne most homes were only on a dial up internet.
Originally Cambridge Cable/NTL had the only phone option in Cambourne and offered a years free phone rental to all customers, but NTL soon had serious financial problems and the developers refused to pay for new infrastructure that NTL could not now afford, which meant they had to pull out.
BT were only able to offer a slow copper cable service for Broadband and even that was slow coming, early residents were indeed lucky.
It is now planned for BT to provide a super fast broadband in 2012 but only as a result of residents winning a national competition, scoring 100% in the race to infinity.

When we arrived there was no bus service and when it did start the buses were so old they kept breaking down and were unreliable.
We now have a reliable service, up to a 20 minute service during the day to Cambridge and hourly to St Neots (Stopped in 2013), as well as far less frequent buses to Huntingdon/St Ives.
The bus to Cambridge took far too long as the route involved the West Cambridge University site and Grange Road , Silver Street and Downing Street, but there is a less frequent bus service that is quicker using a more direct route and run by Whippett. but Stagecoach is now a bit better and avoids the University sites and uses Chesterton Lane and Victoria Avenue.

Initially the buses were subsidised but this was eventually stopped when the developers were no longer obliged to fund it.
Unfortunately the national bus company also redefined Cambourne as beyond their normal fare structure and increased fares significantly within the past year (2011). It is worrying that what was an alternative to the car suddenly became more expensive unless you had a free bus pass.

At one time it was common for buyers to "buy off plan", this often at a reduced price, so you were buying blind as it were, I did hear of one lady who found the garden much too small and never moved in.
All homes qualify for a rebate on water bills as no storm water enters the foul system. but this was held up for 12 years as Anglain Water failed to acknowledge it.
The Cambourne hydrological system was forward thinking when first proposed as part of the original Masterplan.
The vision: to deal with storm water on site in an environmentally positive way, making use of ditches, simple sluices, weirs, reed beds, and water bodies is the embodiment of what is now referred to as Sustainable Urban Drainage (SUDS) Many homes now have the rebate but all should qualify
.
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7) The MLC (Management Liaison Committee)

In August 2000 there were the first elections for the MLC, I had heard there were 2 candidates for the 2 vacancies, so I decided to make it 3 so there would be an election.
I remember being quite annoyed when one candidate dropped out at the last minute so I was elected by default with one other, Mark Wilders.

Being a member of the elected MLC really got me involved. We were supposed to be in preparation for a Parish Council and we were the first 2 resident members.
Previously it had been representatives of Bourn and Caxton Parish Council to whom all the council tax precept money was going and others from the developers. Those villages collected a tidy sum from Cambourne. When the MLC asked for some of it they declined.
The plan was for residents to take over places within a few years and then hold elections for the Cambourne Parish Council in 2004.

I began to display plans in my garage each weekend, as we had no Parish Council and no clerk. I arranged with South Cambs DC to receive the plans officially. They sometimes still contact me as "Cambourne planning" but of course I no longer get the plans. South Cambs DC also paid for me to be trained as a basic unpaid clerk, it was only a 2 day training but very useful. They even gave me a full copy of the electoral roll as we had no post office.
Planning applications were also issued to the relevant Parish Council in Bourn and Caxton and even to Caldecote, as I found out later.
This all stopped when Cambourne Parish Council was formed.

There was consultation on road naming with the MLC and later the Parish Council.
There were various themes, Farming terms, trees, and in Upper Cambourne due to the site being used as an airfield during the second world war aircraft terms etc.
One Wimpey development used peoples surnames but this was not well received and it was agreed should not happen again.

Lower Cambourne had one road called Quidditch Lane, we were assured it was term used for a dry ditch, but I never found it in dictionaries.
Residents were quick to name their houses "The Snitch" and other Harry Potter names. This resulted in much national publicity, which may have been the intention.
Upper Cambourne was based on aircraft having been used as a second world war airfield but 'Run Way' was rejected.
Stirling Way was put forward but misspelled, and no one noticed so we ended up with Sterling Way.

The MLC residents were increased over the years but we were quite frustrated, as the committee had no powers or funding to do anything much, and eventually this led to a walk out at one meeting in protest about the lack of facilities, Chris Lincoln made a statement. The meeting was abandoned as it was no longer quorate.
As the minutes were often inaccurate or incomplete the developers were persuaded to employ a clerk for meetings, including planning minutes.

Mike Jocelyn and I also served on the Design and Environment Group DEG, which were responsible for ensuring that the development and design of Cambourne was checked and verified against the Masterplan. So we were kept informed of everything. Here are the minutes of Mike's first meeting where the Hub and the ice rink were discussed.

It was an ideal chance to meet and make contact with all the planners, architects builders, developers and Randall Thorpe's Dick Longdin who is the landscape consultant and Masterplanner for Cambourne's new settlement (they have just won prizes for their work).
Dick was extremely helpful to me and they still provide updated road plans.
It was great fun once I found out the different language they used, for instance fenestration is all about windows (but not Bill Gates ones).

There was a Parking Strategy for the Centre and frequently I asked where van and lorry drivers would be able to park overnight, but they said it was not included in the policy, this strategy was never put to Councillors, which was raised by Morrisons when they wanted to extend the store, they claimed that as the strategy had not been approved, it was invalid. Morrisons failed to persuade the inspector and the application was rejected.

I often visited the planning department at South Cambs District Council in Cambridge as I worked nearby and got to know the team who were always keen to give information, the memorable names were Kate Wood (who once castigated me for emailing her with a planning enquiry on Christmas Day), Mike Huntingdon who left to become a town planner at Huntingdon, and I still contact occasionally.
Gerry Lambert worked at Community Development at Station Road, It all seemed much less formal when they were in Cambridge, I also fondly remember the reception staff who I got to know well in Cambridge and more recently at Cambourne (if you are one of them let me know I can't remember names sadly.)
Mike Jocelyn and I light heartily referred to South Cambs as "Petticoat Government" as they managed what no other organisation did - and was so successful at employing a significantly higher proportion of female staff.
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8) Churches Together

The Church originally met in the doctor's waiting room but when Monkfield Park School opened they met in the school, but when a new caretaker was taken on, he would not work weekends, so that stopped and they used the doctor's waiting room again for a while.
Eventually the Church decided a temporary building was needed.

Billed as a temporary church and community resource, The Ark is in many ways the embodiment of what can be achieved when community spirited individuals and organisations alike are prepared to roll up their sleeves and dig deep into pockets and mud in equal measure. The work to bring Cambourne it’s first community building started behind the scenes, with considerable help and support from Carrie Pemberton (then Cambourne’s minister), Gerry Lambert (South Cambs Community Development Officer at the time), Councilor Daphne Spink, Maurice Gordon (resident engineer) and Project manager David Chare to name but a few. Plans were made, legal hoops were jumped through, A Grant of £10,000 from South Cambs District council was secured, along with an £11,000 loan from the united reformed church, and momentum started to gather.
Enter Rev. Peter Wood in May 2001, who got wind of an old 1960’s portacabin that had seen extensive use as a temporary classroom around the Cambs area. Shortly thereafter, the yet-to be-christened "Ark" arrived on site, in 5 separate pieces, without a roof. As church warden (and project manager for the Construction of the Ark) Ian Jarvis put it:

“Following various articles and appeals for help in the Crier, the residents of Cambourne stepped up to the mark and got stuck in, freely giving of their skills and time. All in all it took 3 months to build and fit out the inside of the Ark, residents dedicated their time and skills, literally put their lives on hold every weekend, and after all the hard work Cambourne residents finally ‘moved in’ on March 24th 2002, Palm Sunday, with a procession from the temporary doctor’s surgery (now the dentist) where church services were held in pre-ark days."

THE original ARK information

The Official opening ceremony took place on May 12th 2002.
In attendance was The Bishop of Huntingdon, around 130 residents, and Cllr Daphne Spink.
Finally, Cambourne had its own community building.
Serving as temporary Church for many years, being a base of operations for 28 different organisations and societies, hosting parties, and even serving as a polling station. Today, despite being somewhat frayed around the edges, and in need of constant maintenance, it is still well used. The Ark has done well. Serving as temporary Church for many years, being a base of operations for 28 different organisations and societies, hosting parties, and even serving as a polling station.
The Ark is at present the home of Cambourne Pre-School, hosts Junior Church on Sundays, and is used for holiday clubs, private children’s parties, and several evening club groups.
Of course the Church now has its own bespoke premises, looking to the future, the planning permission on The Ark runs until Sept 2013, and can be extended if needed.
The first minister was Carrie Pemberton, but we heard that she was being moved on and Peter Wood appointed.
Carrie confirmed this in an email.
The picture shows the topping out of the new church.

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9) The Cambourne Crier

I was soon involved with the village magazine “The Cambourne Crier”.
residents produced the first proper issue in 2001, the crier was allied with www.cambourne.net but the developers later bought the domain name when the residents (who we later realised), held the domain name (Gavin and Silvia) and they returned to Spain. It was sad that they did not offer to sell the domain to the Crier; I am sure we all thought the domain was owned by the Crier and I even reminded them the domain was due for renewal.

However, the Crier story actually began in February 2000, when the first informal issue was produced: initially quite a few pages photocopied, stapled, and was distributed and printed by South Cambridgeshire District Council.
The first issue was just after Christmas 1999, followed at three-monthly intervals by others. I have scanned most if not all of the copies.

By September 2001, a small group of residents had volunteered to produce the Crier on a more formal basis, and the first issue of the Crier in its current monthly format was released.
At that time there were no more than 200 homes in Cambourne.
South Cambs DC awarded the residents a grant of £400, which was just enough to cover production costs for six months until there was an advertising base. In turn, SCDC no longer needed to commit its own staff towards producing and distributing the Crier. In these early years each edition was around four pages long and even in an A3 format, which meant that only a small number of adverts were required to cover initial costs.
By way of comparison, the Crier is now 40 pages long and 3,365 + copies are distributed every month.
That’s a whopping 1.5 Million sides of A4 every year! (And a lot of proof-reading). It is still produced by volunteers.
It required an awful lot of work to keep the Crier going. Advertising paid for its production and any excess funds were also available as welcome grants to local groups.
The Crier has also evolved in other respects. For some years, a single resident edited the Crier largely on his own – sometimes working through the night to meet deadlines. When he moved away from Cambourne, it eventually took an entire team of editors to replace him! Tung Hau is the current lead editor but does not do the compilation which alternates between Donavan Bangs and myself at the moment. Tung deals with the task of distribution and keeping us all in order.

The Crier was surprised when a small local singing group being set up by Ana Sanderson got a mention in the Crier editorial and resulted in a hugely successful group to be formed, "Rythm of Life" which is only held back to some extent by the sizes and availabilty of venues, hopefully the new secondary school will come to the rescue.

At one point, a resident purchased printing and collating machines in order to keep costs to a minimum.
His commitment and hard work allowed printing and collation to be performed internally for two years, before growing circulation figures and planned retirement rendered this approach unviable.
Fortunately advertising revenue was strong.

15 years have passed since The Cambourne Crier made its first formal appearance as a monthly community magazine. It now costs well over £2000 each month to produce and circulate the Crier due to the increase in circulation and number of pages.
This was wholly paid for by advertising and still is, printing and advertsising being contracted out when I was not able to continue.
I was responsible for the advertising section of the magazine; the compilation and invoicing.
As the need to raise more money to fund the Crier grew, after 8 years this became too time-consuming and the advertising section of the Crier is now currently contracted out as well.
Now after the editors have compiled it, a job which has also grown over the years, a commercial operator prints the Crier and handles its advertising.
We should be very grateful to those who still maintain the Cambourne Crier every month, it always amazed me how quickly the months came around.

When the domain name was lost, so was the original forum, which was run in conjunction with the Crier, and Chris Culshaw agreed to set it up in a similar way: it should still be allied to the Crier.
Chris moved to Papworth as he could not afford the same type of property in Cambourne but still managed the Forum with moderators taking daily care, a new Forum was formed in 2013 after the site crashed and backups unable to be used.

For a few years www.cambourne.info became the web site for the Crier as it was hard for me to run 2 web sites. But I do it now.

There have been a number of web sites supporting Cambourne. The Crier had www.cambourne.net with a residents forum managed by the Crier, and my web site www.cambourne.info which first started in 2002.
Now just about every group in Cambourne has a web site. Social media has really taken over and I run a facebook group with well over 2000 members.

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10) Getting Facilities

The Cambridge Evening news was always reporting on Cambourne’s negative aspects particularly about lack of promised facilities but now it seems they have realised the advertising potential and now deliver a special Cambourne edition free to every home once a week, and seem to have changed their entire thoughts about Cambourne.

They did make moves some time a go to run the Crier but when we looked at other such Evening News village efforts it was decided to stay independent.

The Hub opened eventually for business in early 2005 and very late which was not at all helpful, and the section 106 failed to specify what a kitchen was, so it was not equipped at all and we were amazed the developer got away with it.
No other building in Cambourne omitted even a basic fitted kitchen.
The Parish Council rather over did it and spent £20,000 on equipment.

The Hub opening free event saw Ian Waite and Camill Dallerup Strictly come dancing professionals performed 3 demonstration dances, then fought the basic steps to those attending.
A live group then played while everyone danced, sadly only 30 or so residents attended.

A University of Cambridge Charitable Trust was willing to build an ice rink in Cambourne and the developers saw an opportunity to provide the sports centre in collaboration. The trust was established after the donor David Gattiker bequeathed several million pounds for the University to build an ice rink. Further details here
A full planning application was made but was eventually turned down by planning saying it was in the wrong area, and the University were told to investigate other sites nearer Cambridge.
residents would have preferred a swimming pool but this was never an option, and due to the running cost implications unlikely, despite claims later by a District Councillor.

As part of the development we have:-
A Library & Health Centre - Police Station - Fire Station -Trading Standards - South Cambs DC - Youth Centre, (Temporary) – Sports Pavilions, substantial community buildings, sports fields, A MUGA and a lawn bowls green. And what Cambourne is well known for: "open spaces". The first cricket pitch was delayed by very poor preparation work.
Trading Standards do not get involved with anything in Cambourne, they are so low profile you might not even know they were there, next to the library (now move to SCDC to allow expansion of the surgery).
Once the sports facilities were available the sports clubs have thrived. Football1 Football2 Rugby Netball and Cricket clubs formed, even Angling, a bowls club is under way.

The developers employed a security service for many years, who patrolled in cars around the village.
They often called at my house for all sorts of reasons, even asking for postcodes so they could report incidents to the police, or when they found community premises insecure, or simply found lost property.
I also remember when residents got wind of one of the first show homes closing and that all the extensive planting was to be bulldozed.
Residents seemed to come from everywhere to claim trees, shrubs etc (with wheel barrows).
Security pulled up and immediately spotted me, and their response was "Oh it's you Roger, hope everything is all right" and drove off.

There were campaigns to get the developers to honour the S106 legal agreement which was very difficult due to it being poorly written, despite it being described as a "magnificent document by the legal officer at the time at South Cambs DC, and in 2003 the Campaign Premises not Promises started. This was triggered by the delay in providing a community centre. At the time there was only the temporary medical practice and the Ark available for community use. After its use as a temporary school and a temporary medical practice the ex-farm house was sold to a dentist, and after a while they accepted NHS patients.
Protests were organised within Cambourne for the weekend of 11th and 12th October.
There was a pull out page in the centre page of the Crier and many residents displayed the page in their windows.
A group of residents stood by the Concept Centre with banners. There were very few visitors to the centre which was still then operating. residents were accused of preventing people getting to the Centre and they even suspected we were going to occupy it; but they were wrong and their claim untrue.

Directly as a result of the campaign the developers agreed that the Concept Centre could be used temporarily as a community room until the Hub was available.
This was to be calledThe Lancaster Centre and was formally opened. On the 5th April 2004 Invited guests and residents who requested to come from the Crier invitation attended.
The centre was to be run by myself and David McEwan-Cox.
We had to be cautious on numbers as SCDC building control had yet to confirm the capacity but after the opening event it looked as if the original suggestion of a maximum of only 40 was a little pessimistic

 

Inside The Lancaster Centre one end
Inside The Lancaster Centre the other end


David Chare the Cambourne Project Director paid tribute to those who had made it possible for this useful venue to be available. Daphne Spink on behalf of South Cambs District Council presented a cheque for £2000 from the Community Development Program to enable the project to get started.

I remember one event at the Lancaster Centre on New Years Eve when it appeared the foul water system was blocked. I used some drain rods but was unable to clear it.
A few days later we found out why; the building did not have a connection to the foul water system and was using a septic tank. As no one was aware of this, not even the developers it had had very low use up to the time it became a community building and had never been emptied!
As a result the developers obtained a refund on water rates for many years, and also for the Project office which was then in a bungalow where Monk Drive is now, as that also was connected with a septic tank.

The Community Centre ground works were well under way opposite The Ark on the High Street and it was hoped we would see the steelwork for the building soon.
We had a bit of a struggle to make sure it was built to take a first floor.
The S106 legal agreement did not require the fitting of a kitchen, so this had to be provided later through the Parish Council.
When the Hub was completed the Lancaster centre was demolished, the land was to be returned to open space. This was indeed the case, despite pleas for it to remain as an additional facility. The A428 slip road that had been built was too close to it and access would have been difficult.

Allotments
were very late being provided initially as the developer claimed "there was no demand" but we did already have a list of residents who wanted one, now we have 2 areas. I was hauled over the hot coals for this survey as it was seen as raising expectations of what would be provided but it was in the design guide.
The sports areas amounted to approximately 46 acres originally but it was quite difficult to get the consortium to make them to a suitable standard.

South Cambs ordered an embargo on any new planning applications until facilities were provided but had to withdraw it when there was a legal challenge by the developers.
The storage area for caravans, boats and trailers was very late being provided. residents were prevented from using their driveways in their deeds.
There was a plan to have it in a commercial yard on Bourn Drift, near the airport land. but eventually the developers provided half an acre. The section 106 said up to 2 acres which was typical for that document. The developers said ½ an acre was up to 2 acres!

The developer had to pay for road improvements, the Caxton By-pass and the dualling of the Cambourne section of the A428. --- Plan here
The first major snow in Cambourne and was quite an adventure and people were stranded, nothing was moving eventually. The snow started in the afternoon and heavy.
I remember getting as far as Bourn from Cambridge and abandoned the car in the surgery car park. One Cambourne couple were stranded all night on the A14.
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11) Provision for a Community

Mike Jocelyn and I continued the tradition of delivering welcome packs and house numbers to display in windows to new residents (not included for market homes) until there were enough facilities here for residents to get information elsewhere. South Cambs later produced its own welcome pack; I guess they planned to provide a welcome pack but I am not aware that they ever delivered any. South Cambs Community development asked if it was still happening when the S106 was being prepared for the extra 950 homes.

Sadly an ex councillor Robin Page who lived in the Cambridgeshire village of Barton was obviously not in favour of Cambourne and made disparaging remarks, claiming it took hundreds of years to make a community.
Most people living here were horrified at his remarks and Cambourne schoolchildren were even mocked by fellow pupils at school about the title he used for Cambourne.
It was not at all helpful and I am sure did not do him any favours as residents still remember what he called Cambourne, which I will not repeat here. He has his head in a cloud and cannot see their is a demand for new housing. He also opposed the Trumpington development.

Monkfield Medical practice were struggling for funding as Cambourne was expanding so rapidly they often had more patients than they were getting funding for.
I have heard of people complaining about having to wait for appointments.
From experience I can say that you will be seen very quickly if you are ill, and I mean ill!
I can ring as I did today on a Monday morning at 8-30am and got an appointment with Dr Bailey at 10-10am.
Sadly Cambourne seems to also have new town blues, with a high rate of depression, I am no expert but the stress of family life often with both parents working to pay high mortgages and child care fees must have an effect, Add that to that there is often no close family support as people move here for work and away from family.

It was originally the intention for the postal address for all 3 villages would just be Cambourne, a resident suggested that it would be beneficial for each village to be different.
Eventually the post office agreed and Great, Lower and Upper was added.

The original post code was CB3 but a 2 was added when the post office ran out of codes and became CB23.

It was decided that Cambourne did not have a suitable site for travellers.
Any possible site would have meant there would be less low cost homes and not good use of the land.
A number of travellers have moved in to conventional homes provided by housing associations.
There were a couple of occasions when travellers caravans set up on the business park and on the grassed area near “Crowdene Nursery” on the left before the first roundabout and at the business park but were soon moved on, but they will not be the last.

A start is soon to be made to provide the first stage of the Parish Council burial ground, initially 50 plots and will be extended later with an area adjacent where the blue school playing area is and possible the nearby wood by the Ark. This would was originally a house, the owner had a working miniature train and you can still see the tracks.

Most of the land used for Cambourne was owned by a farmer who sold options to a Consortium of Builders MCA Developments (George Wimpey) and some land in Upper Cambourne was owned by pension schemes. Parcels of land are sold on to Bovis, Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon/Charles Church, Bloor, Kier, Twigden etc.

Cambourne is not yet well served with Broadband as the planned Cambridge Cable/NTL service (Now Virgin) was only provided in the first 5 phases of Great Cambourne (up to 2003 only), the BT service should be upgraded in 2012 due to winning the BT Race to Infinity and super fast broadband should be available to all.

The gas supply to Cambourne is not provided by TRANSCO but by an independent gas transporter (IGT) which often means an extra charge is levied.

Early settlers in Cambourne will remember that rubbish collection did not involve bins at all.
A roll of bags was delivered enough for 2 a week.
It was also quite good as you put your bags out on a Thursday evening as it was then.
By Friday morning the foxes had taken it away!.

Television Aerials are not allowed in Cambourne, which improves the look of homes but the ban on satellite dishes was not enforced when the cable service stopped. Aerials work in the loft and if you are told by an installer you need one on the roof, they are wasting your money.

Management schemes were sometimes set up by builders, residents often did not know until the last minute that a management charge was levied, Bovis were the main culprit.
Typically was Orchard Way where the semi circular grassed area was segmented like a cake, to each home sharing part of it,
This charge was often several hundred pounds a year, in some cases the management was taken over by a residents limited company/committee. Owners are still paying twice as they get no reduction in rates. (See notes above about the possibility of the Parish Council taking over schemes - in section 2).

The church had a site allocated both for a church and a church house in Broad St.

The Wildlife Trust now has an area headquarters on the site that was originally designated for a smaller hotel. They now manage the country areas of Cambourne as was planned.

There were a number of planning guides such as "Cambourne Play Strategy" for play provision in Cambourne and five well equipped children’s playgrounds, and other less equipped areas. There was consultation with schools and the youth, but it worried me when they said the youth chose what we expected. When I made enquiries no real alternatives had been offered.
And the inevitable skate park.
The theme of the Lower Cambourne playground is "Roman" and the plans said irregular paving, but it meant irregular shapes not tops, if Roman roads had been built like that it would have changed history. The Parish Council eventually replaced the surface.
Many groups have been successful in Cambourne once proper facilities were available. Including all the usual Brownies and Guides.

After many false starts,, the Sports centre was built and was previewed and was opened on 1st December 2011 largely to the original specification in the legal agreement specification but without squash courts.
It was also expected at one time to be leased and run by a company who planned an enhanced facility with a pool, this would have been popular with residents but they failed to get the required finance.
The Parish Council took ownership after yet another company could not agree terms for a lease and had to pay to equip the centre, the Council took out a loan to pay for the equipment with a profit share agreement with Everyone Active the chosen operator.
It is a pipe dream that one day a pool will be built. The centre would have to be very successful first. There is room for a 25 metre pool and building.

There is a golf course on the Masterplan but it seems that it will not be built for some time as spoil for the latest homes is being used to raise levels and provide disposal without moving it off site.
And will a golf course ever be viable?

Eventually the Medical practice and health centre and Library was built, it was opened by the Duke Of Edinburgh. There was a competition in the Crier to name the building; obviously no one had any good ideas as it was given the name of the road Sackville House
It was hoped that these two facilities would gel together to form an alliance in caring for health issues and information.

The Planning application for the pub was put in in May 2005, "The Monkfield Arms" eventually arrived in September 2006 and had a very quiet opening, quite surprising as residents were frustrated at not being able to get a pint , by chance I was one of the first customers when it opened around 11am, The Evening News and Radio Cambridgeshire were there and took some photos. This is a link to the original bar food menu from the Pub

There is a site that was originally for commercial development, land to the right of the pub car park (on Monkfield Lane and near Monkfield Wood), it is currently grassed over.
Mike Jocelyn was offered it to run a business in at one time but it was too expensive.
No doubt that will form part of Mike's chapter.

Many of the community facilities in Cambourne had trigger points to indicate when they should be provided, these are related to the number of occupied houses
(see the original legal agreement S106 and comments)

The Parish Council have also built a sports pavilion, changing facility and maintenance secure storage building which cost £500,000, £300,000 from the Parish Council funds, the developers paid £175,000 as a contribution toward the second of three pavilions they are required to provide. And a grant from South Cambs DC for £25,000, A third Pavilion is due to be built on the Great Cambourne cricket ground.

The Cambourne Youth Partnership (CYP) have established a Charitable Trust and are housed in a temporary building which is possibly on the site of an eventual new building and the Land when through a memorandum of understanding with the developers to allow 64 more homes on sites GC12/17/18/19 and 25.

Ownership of this land was confirmed when the application for the extra 950 homes was agreed.

Funding is being sought for a permanent building and they only just missed out on an award of several million pounds to an area in Peterborough that apparently had a greater need.
There is more funding from the legal agreement for the extra 950 homes.

The section 106 legal document specifies what the developers are required to provide for being allowed to build homes for sale, including contributions to schools and sometimes land for facilities.

The developers started putting up Christmas Trees, but now the Parish Council provide them, sponsored by Everyone Active in 2011, there are now 3 and a group have successfully put up many tree lights on the High Street/Broad Street.

Each area of building consists of housing of differing density; the housing nearer the high street is intended to be higher density and reducing in density as you move away from the centre to the outer areas, this is to emulate traditional village design.
But due to Government demands (and developer ambitions) for higher densities this has not been implemented fully in more recent areas.

High density is around 20 houses per acre up to 50 typically in Broad St, to the least dense in Cambourne at 5 houses per acre on School Lane on the later development just before Lower Cambourne but probably the noisiest with the traffic on School Lane.
From what I have seen the developers only allow the likes of Kier, Persimmon and David Wilson homes to buy the less popular or low density land parcels, where the consortium don't think they will make much profit.

A design guide has been used; this is a colour brochure of pictures and descriptions of how Cambourne was anticipated to look, there are a number of variations since the book was published, my copy was borrowed and not returned but I now have another copy.

A similar new guide is being used for the extra 950 homes to ensure Cambourne develops as near as possible to that originally planned, most people seem to think that this Upper Cambourne village does not have the same character with too many similar looking properties with no variety and hopefully the new guide reflects this.

Planners and developers oversee each area of building and all designs were originally referred to the DEG (Design and Environment Group). The committee decided if the architects employed by the builders had met the design guide requirements, South Cambs District Council abandoned this in 2003.

All applications are dealt with in a similar way to any new builds and referred to the Parish Council for consultation.

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12) The Cambourne Residents Association (CRA)


There was a Residents Association for Cambourne that usually met in the doctor’s waiting room after it was available, the group organised many events in Cambourne, such as festivals and fireworks and even short listed for an award.

There were also events organised by others, the roller skate half marathon was held a few times and several roads closed for the event. It vanished without trace when it became more difficult to find some roads that could be used,
And also in recent years a running half marathon event is organised by the business park.

And probably the most successful events are the Annual Youth Fest particularly aimed at youth but this has ceased until new funding can be found.

Not to forget open gardens and dozens of events organised by residents over the years.

The Connections youth bus also visited Cambourne weekly in the early days and was allowed to get electricity from the surgery, so every Tuesday I would provide a cable and connect up.

The Developers thought they had sole rights to the Cambourne clock logo we have all come to know just about everywhere.
The CRA had the forethought to get permission to use it, no doubt to the annoyance of the developers when we pointed that out.

Two residents from the CRA had monthly meetings with David Chare the Project Director.
They were supposed to report what was said but often came back saying they had been told about 'something important' but they were told to keep it a secret and not tell anyone, it made them feel special but was absolutely useless to the CRA.

The CRA were actively ensuring the sports facilities were available as promised. The Developers even tried to include the Hotels facilities as part of the provision!

There was a frequent problem in that the street lights often failed to work and would even go off as you came near (spooky), residents even labelled lights that were off, so that the relevant builder could fix them, Bovis eventually employed me to do a monthly report in their areas. Unfortunately it is still a problem in other areas as Taylor Wimpey have not managed a similar scheme.
You may have noticed that lamp posts are painted in different colour's depending on the village, Great Cambourne they are blue, Lower Cambourne is black and Upper ????. Although I saw a blue one in Lower Cambourne today.

The 2006 Cambourne Festival Marked the end of an era for the CRA.
The Cambourne residents Association (CRA) decided to end their involvement in the traditional Cambourne Festival after 7 years. Although the 2006 festival was enjoyed by all paying guests, not enough people attended to make the event either financially viable or fulfil its function of providing a social focus for the residents of a new community.

The Cambourne Festival was started in 2000 by Gerry Lambert, then Community Development Officer at SCDC, to act as a period in the summer where the new residents could meet each other and have fun together. The then newly formed CRA took over the running of the festival in 2001 and have run it up until 2006. The finances of the festival were that the consortium paid for the fabric of the event - the marquee, toilets and so on - and the CRA put on the entertainment. The consortium was willing to provide this money until they had provided a community facility, which ultimately was realised in the Hub.

The CRA (or rather via the church) were given a load of low energy bulbs from the Electricity Board.
They were given away at Festivals and to new homes, which became less useful when they started using 3 pin bayonet fittings that were used to encourage the use of low energy bulbs, soon after the government stopped the ordinary filament bulbs being made anyway.
Louise and Paul stored them in her shed which is another story (see bin stores at the end of heading 5).

When The Hub opened for business in early 2005 this left a huge dent in the financing for the festival - the cost of running the festival in total came to about £9000, and about £4000 was for the marquee and the toilets - previously paid for by the consortium. In 2005 the CRA decided that running another festival on the meadow was too risky financially and ran the event in the Hub. While it was a sell-out, and associated events such as the 1st Beer Festival did exceptionally well, overall 2005 barely broke-even. We, and lots of other people, were disappointed in the Hub - it lacked atmosphere and generally the event felt flat.

In the light of this experience the CRA decided that for 2006 they would move back to the marquee format, in full awareness of the financial risks that this entailed. We did not believe that the festival had a useful future in any other format. The CRA has tried everything it can think of to raise money, but there appeared to be no local body that would be willing to support it to the extent required, although the many smaller donations were gratefully received.

The net result for the 2006 festival was a loss of approximately £3500. The primary cause of this is the number of attendees at the evening event – there were 209 paying guests against the anticipated (and previously attained) 500. The reduced number of people led to a lower income from concessions. Also the Beer Festival was expected to make around £1500 to £2000 instead of the £110 that was actually achieved.

Overall the shortfall made a considerable hole in the CRA finances, such that they could not undertake another festival as they simply did not have enough money to cover it. However, given the dramatic shortfall in numbers, they would have to have seriously reviewed the future of the festival regardless of our financial situation.

This shortfall left holes in other areas. The fireworks, run annually, for example, depended on the cash raised by the festival to secure them: they were not fully supported by donations. As this money was not available that year the CRA were unable to do the fireworks. Without significant financial support and more people getting involved, the fireworks were no longer a viable proposition. The Beer Festival and Fete section of the larger Cambourne Festival were similarly at risk, but with these there was hope that another party would take them over and these events would continue. The Parish Council now organise the events.

"We appreciate that people had a good time at these events, and the CRA thanked them for all the appreciation that they have received over the years, as well as all the support they gave". They also thanked all the people who have put the effort during festival and fireworks, and sponsors over all the years that all the events hav
e been running, their help had been invaluable, the donations of goods and services have added a sparkle, and their money has helped the events survive so long.

The Cambourne Festival was originally started in the year 2000 by Gerry Lambert, then Community Development Officer at SCDC
Lake 7 - on the roundabout at the end of Broad Street - has been named Lake Lambert, after Gerry Lambert who was the first South Cambs Community Development Officer in Cambourne, and who sadly died of cancer in December 2004 age 36.
The Lake was the first to be built and welcomed the first settlers in Cambourne just as Gerry did.

Another shock was when one of the ladies working in the Concept Centre "Alyson" had a brain hemorrhage in her car in the car park of the Centre. I visited her several times in Addenbrook's but I am sure she did not recognise me. Her family eventually moved her away to another area and I lost touch.

South Cambs eventually replaced Gerry and I did apply for the job, I did a presentation at the interview but said to much about Cambourne as it was advertised, the new post would be covering other areas as well, so Susannah Harris was appointed, I was only really interested in Cambourne as I found out in a debrief, I was too close to Cambourne. She was a good choice and had I been offered and taken the job would not have been ideal for me, being restricted in what I could say and do probably - and far too much form filling!

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13) The Parish Council

The Parish Council was formed after elections in June 2004; there were only 10 nominations for the 13 vacancies so all 10 were automatically elected,
Elections were also held for District, County and Parliament, the only experience and quality you needed to win was to belong to the blue party although I only lost by a few votes for the District as an independent, but once the orange party took part it only consolidated the blue vote.
It was often said a donkey could win if it had a blue badge and I will let you decide if that happened.

As a member of the MLC I was asked to provide a budget for the Parish Councils first year, I asked for a precept for a band D property of £70.61 but this was deemed far too much by SCDC who set the precept at the same figure Bourn Parish Council had set the previous year of less than £50. They had no idea! This resulted in significant increases in following years and also due to having no reserves. The precept is now near the top of the list due to the facilities provided.

The continuity of the MLC and the Parish Council did not happen that well as only 2 members of the MLC became members of the Parish Council.
I intended to apply for the Clerks job so if I had stood I would not have been eligible.
3 further councilors were co-opted by the Parish Council to make up the full 13 places.

Advertising started for the first clerk and they appointed someone from Lower Cambourne, I was apparently deemed not to have enough experience despite my involvement with the MLC and the training from SCDC.
The temporary clerk for the MLC was disgusted to be told abruptly on the phone, “we don’t need you any more”, no handover information and no thanks.
The Parish Council also demanded access to the village notice board which had previously been the responsibility of the CRA, and looked after by a nearby resident who was accused of removing a notice when he was actually away.
The new clerk did not last long, walking out of a meeting as the council refused her request for longer hours to cope with all the work; which in my view they should have done as it was only part time.

The post was advertised again for which I applied and my interview was less than it should have been as they kept accusing me of being the Mad Monk who was writing very clever items in the Crier, sometimes critical of the Parish Council and members. I was not the 'Mad Monk', I was not that clever!

No-one was appointed, and the job was then advertised again, I was told I need not apply,
Interviews were held and an appointment was made, a friend of the locum clerk got the job. He had no experience of being a clerk but had been a Councilor in St Ives so was experienced in the running of councils and has done well enough.

It all worked out in the end as I did get a better pension offer from the University by staying in my job by taking advantage of early retirement offers, and after 3 months being retired they even asked if I would go back as a "consultant", they had a new contract with Rolls Royce and no one to do the work.
A request I declined after they indicated they wanted it full time.
After taking that early retirement at the age of 57 from my proper job as a Design Engineer I became the clerk for Knapwell and then Caldecote.
I passed the CiLCA qualification (Certificate in Local Council Administration).
Caldecote became a Quality Council too after I submitted what amounted to a thesis proving procedures were carried out correctly, Cambourne Parish Council have now reached that dizzy height.
Caldecote were just waiting for Councillor training and they became able to use the Power of Well being soon after I retired (again) in August 2010.

A group was also set up by the MLC that was intended to run the Hub Community Centre CCCMC (Cambourne Community Centre Management Committee).

Since December 2004 the Cambourne Parish Council had consistently refused to recognise the legitimacy of the CCCMC and taken steps to bring about the formation of a charity themselves, administered by trustees, who in turn are seeking to appoint a 'user group' to manage the day to day affairs of the Hub. There had been considerable correspondence, both formal and informal, between the CCCMC and the Parish Council but the council were not swayed from its chosen course.
A draft constitution and lease for the charity were both being finalised between the Parish Council and the nominated trustees. This left no role for the CCCMC within the community. And apparently any such trust.

All this did not prevent the Cambourne Parish Council from demanding, on several occasions, that the CCCMC 'hand over' its funds to the council. However, as a result of said council's refusal to recognise the legitimacy of the CCCMC, they had sought legal advice regarding such a transaction.
Under these circumstances they had been advised that in order to safeguard both the members of the CCCMC and the benefactors that funds should be returned to their donors. This was done and the bank account terminated and wound up all other business in the immediate future.

They said; “we cannot understate the regret that we feel at this turn of events. The efforts put in by a number of Cambourne residents who gave up their free time have been wasted. Your own support to our endeavours, which was so freely given, would appear to have been in vain. Nonetheless, we thank you again for your kind help and consideration and can only hope that The Hub is handed over to the community and opened for use before we reach the second anniversary of its due date”.
The Parish Council also took over the Lancaster Centre and wanted the funding that had been raised.

I did eventually become a Parish Councillor, it was very difficult to be able to influence decisions in the village and I was elected in 2006.
I was Vice chairman, in 2010/2012. And Chairman of the planning committee. (2012/2013).

In 2008 I was even reported by our District Councillor to the Standards board for comments made on the forum but was cleared of any such charge and the decision notice said the complaint was frivolous.

There was a proposal a few years ago to make Cambourne a town but this was unanimously rejected by the Parish Council, technically there is no difference and no advantages, unless you consider an opportunity to have a Mayor is an advantage, there was a similar discussion in 2012 but failed to win support after a request from the Business Park and the Developer of the shops.

There were other elections for the District and County. It was planned for Cambourne to have its own 3 District Councillors but an error was made with the application and the Bourn Ward remained as it was, sharing with other local villages.

Cambourne Parish Council have been very active in ensuring a good service to Cambourne residents, it has not been helped at times by poor service from South Cambs DC when they lurched from one high estimate of property occupations followed by very low estimates, it made it very difficult to budget, but this has improved now and Cambourne is not top of the list for precept payments from residents.
I has undoubtably the best equipped maintenance team in the District.

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14) Art in Cambourne


The Artwork Village markers for Cambourne were originally proposed to be garden hand tools.
This explanation was from the artist Martin Heron
“My concept for the Cambourne village marker sculptures; is devised in response to my research of Cambourne and its people.
The designs of the three village markers were described originally to reflect the history of the site – farming, the monks tiling the land, fruit growing – and also reference people’s obsessions with objects and in particular tools. Some members of the community chose a tool as their favourite possession, for example a power drill, a coffee machine, fishing tackle. Many others chose their home as their favourite possession, which led me to consider the ways in which we shape and care for our environment, in particular gardening and DIY. Many people said that the reason they have chosen to live in Cambourne is the countryside and the sense of space, which is further referenced in the text element of the sculptures. I was also mindful of the fact that the three distinct areas of Lower, Great and Upper Cambourne are connected. I have chosen the set of three hand tools – a trowel, fork and dibber – to represent an intimate contact with the land in terms of clearing, digging, and planting: the way in which Cambourne itself has evolved.
These sculptures will be an important centre-piece for Cambourne and will reflect the pioneering spirit of the people living here while creating a focal point of which everyone can be proud and feel a sense of ownership”.
They would have been approximately 4m high, and made from stainless steel.

But this idea was very unpopular with the residents and was eventually after more consultation changed to 3 rusty heap markers, but supposed to be a leaf, a feather and a maple seed. The popular choice was abstract figures "in flight" but were deemed too dainty and expensive, they depicted, taking off (Great Cambourne), in flight (Lower Cambourne) and landing (Upper Cambourne).

The concept behind the markers is that of an aircraft propeller - with each blade representing one of the neighbourhoods of Cambourne - Great, Lower and Upper.

Artist Martin Heron, the designer, said: "The idea of an aircraft propeller echoes the Second World War airfield on which the settlement is being built, and the concept is of Cambourne propelling itself forward: forward looking, forward thinking and forward striving."

All 3 of the 3m structures are now installed.
The marker for Great Cambourne; is an oak leaf to symbolise heritage and folklore, together with the word "wide".
Lower Cambourne is a feather marked "Open", representing wildlife,
A maple seed signifying growth, coupled with the word "open," now marks Upper Cambourne.
The linked markers will read "wide open space".
The chosen markers are designed on the theme of an aircraft propeller to devise a link between each Village in Cambourne, which should have been indicated on art work intended for over the entrance of the hub, this never materialised.
The markers were supposed to be stainless steel but they ran short of money and told us they had used a steel that would last, oh yes of course it was plain carbon steel, the rust formed on the surface protects it from further deteriation but looks awful.
Martin blamed residents when they objected to the garden tools “It was a shame I didn't get this level of response when I asked for thoughts on the role of a village marker at the beginning of the design process”.

The Market Square artwork was more suitable but soon had to be repaired.
The developers had erected a tower around the sculpture which was to be lifted by crane to officially unveil it.
It was a very windy day and as we watched from the 1st Floor of the Supermarket, where invited guests were overlooking the square, the tower began to blow over and lean on the sculpture and damage it.

I also remember attending an art workshop in one of the sales homes.
There were opportunities for anyone to have a go at sketching or drawing.
Upstairs in one of the bedrooms there was a nude male, one of the young children said “is that his tail"?

Another opportunity was for residents to attend a stone carving day, making their own sculpture.

A more recent Festival of Art was held in the past 2 years.

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15) Growing Cambourne

The developers always intended to expand Cambourne; they stopped referring to Cambourne as a village and were now referring it to it as a town. They put forward Cambourne Enhanced, we called the plan Cambourne Enlarged.
The initial plan put to structure plan review was for 7300 on the same footprint
They made formal representations to the County Council as part of their Structure Plan Review which amongst other issues deals with where the main areas of strategic growth will happen: strategic can approximately be defined as areas of 1000+ houses.
Residents campaigned to fight the plans, I appeared in The Building magazine in August 2004.

The consortium has been talking about having this increase for some time. We heard Michael Monk of CPRE (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) say it is not in our local plan to increase the numbers at Cambourne and the consortium have been told this by the planning department.
Eventually the developers put in a planning application for 4859 homes on the same footprint, “Cambourne Enhanced”.
The revised application was for 4859 homes on the same footprint.
Once again the Revised Developers Plans were rejected on 1st October 2003.
At the Development and Control meeting (i.e. planning) at South Cambs District Council, The Developers Proposal for Cambourne Enhanced was unanimously rejected.

I hoped that the developers would now see they were wrong to propose such a scheme, no doubt adversely affecting their own carefully laid plans to ensure that Cambourne was successful and was seen as a wonderful place to live, a factor we all considered so important when moving here.
They now had the opportunity to confirm this view by admitting their mistake and not appealing the decision
At the next MLC meeting, Ian Douglas representing the developers, indicated that they considered the plans "to have merit".

So they were likely to appeal, and of course they did.
The pre inquiry meeting took place on 20th March 2004
The developers used Queens Council to present their case.

The Main issues were seen as:-
1) The effect on drainage, transport and Education
2) Changes in planning guidance since Cambourne was approved
3) Local Structure Plans

There was nothing about the effect on residents, sadly they were not a material planning consideration.
There was to be a "statement of common ground" presented on the 24th May so that issues that were not in dispute could be left out.
The full inquiry started on 22nd June and could have lasted up to 8 working days, Monday to Friday from 10 am until 5pm (or 4 pm on Friday); it was being held at the new SCDC offices in Cambourne.

There was no request from Caxton or Bourn Parish Council to speak at the inquiry, Mike Jocelyn made a request that a representative from the new Cambourne Parish Council and any of the newly elected District Councilors be allocated time to speak.
Daphne Spink the current Ward Councilor asked to speak on behalf of all the villages, Cambourne, Bourn, Caxton, Eltisley and Croxton.
It caused a huge amount of work; particularly as a new legal agreement section 106 had to be agreed in case the appeal was successful.
The Parish Councils case was represented at the 4 day hearing by several Parish Councilors.
Council leader Daphne Spink, who is also a ward councilor for Cambourne, said: "We shall be contesting the appeal completely. We promised the people of Cambourne that 3,300 houses were as much as we would tolerate”.
" We are quite unanimous in the council and we have told the developers categorically that it is not in the interests of South Cambridgeshire to increase the size of Cambourne."

Residents mocked the expansion by making a robot named SID, and planned a mock funeral in the "burial ground" which was being used for part of the housing expansion.
He was saved from the fireworks bonfire in 2003.

The appeal was eventually rejected by the Government Inspector so the developers carried on using the other approach and gradually increased densities from early stages. They typically applied for areas with increased density, quoting Government targets.
Or they would apply for a mix of high and low, building only the high density parts and then putting in another high density application for the low density part. South Cambs allowed this and the developers promised they would reduce numbers on later sites (oh yeah).

Bovis managed to buy some private land in Monk Drive and what was part of Crowdene Nursery land. These houses at the end of New Hall Lane near the trailer park (Garstones to Honeysuckle Close) do not form part of the agreed number of homes to be built, and there were still plans to build 5 homes to build adjacent to Hazel Lane which was rejected.
It was sad to hear from the previous residents of Monk Drive who were told that all the neighbours had sold and the area would become derelict. They were also told they would not get planning permission to build but as it turned out that was the Bovis intention.
They did get compensation to sell, enough to buy a home elsewhere. but some of the gardens were huge and worth a lot more as development land.
Unsuccessful attempts were also made to buy the bungalow and land that would eventually be in the middle of the planned golf course.

Cambourne remains a target for further development and is frequently put forward by developers for further expansion but it seems unlikely they would get permissions for a large number of homes off the existing footprint unless the transport problem is addressed, Cambourne is 10 miles from a station and there are a number of sites that would be preferred, such as Waterbeach which is now available, and they may even eventually build the town of Northstowe.
Developers have not however given up and put various sites forward again and again, Bourn Airport, West Cambourne, and North of the A428.The LDF (Local Development Framework) considered these sites to be not suitable
How much is this all costing? Unless planning guidance changes, further expansion should be unlikely.
Unless there is £180 million for a misguided bus perhaps?
Developers know that planning policy changes and they hope they will eventually get permission.

Cambourne housing has not yet breached the original footprint.

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16) An Extra 950 homes


The results of allowing higher densities resulted as we had predicted in a large area of Upper Cambourne having no allocation of homes so the developers wanted 750 more on the existing footprint but South Cambs incredibly increased this to 950 in order to meet their own targets.
This was given the go ahead in 2011. So much for saying 3300 was as much as would be tolerated.
A Classic Quote from Cllr David Bard (South Cambs DC), on Look East on the 11th September 2007 - Promise to residents, David stated "after this 950 there is no extra land for development here" the reporter said "So after that Cambourne is as big as it can get"? "Yes" said David - it remains to be seen if he is true to his word but we now know that developers want to build a 4th village with 2200 homes.

The new section 106 legal agreement provides enhanced facilities and will hopefully be easier to enforce and was not reliant on the developers to do the building work.
The section 106 provides community facilities such as another MUGA; more sports areas next to Monk Drive, a second floor and an extension of the Hub.
There is money to provide a youth worker and also money toward a permanent youth centre, funds for the Church expansion, Money for Solar PV panels to be installed on Parish owned buildings was included so that the requirement would be of benefit to the whole community and not just the 950 extra homes. Sadly the Government have recently cut the return by half, but perhaps that will prevent farms being changed to a mass of Panels.
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17) Schools in Cambourne


The projections for schools provision has always been flawed, originally we were told only two Primary Schools were needed: there will soon be four. Cambourne exceeded the normal birth rate substantially and I was once told most of the appointments at the medical practice were pregnancy related. Perhaps we should rename Cambourne - "Prambourne".
Apparently we have the highest birthrate per capita in the world! This should be a warning to all new developments as new home = new baby.

There was consultation with residents about the church running the Vine School and I remember there being some objections, but in the end it was chosen to manage the school. I have not heard of any complaints since from residents.

We were told that a secondary school in Cambourne would not be required for 3300 homes but they were wrong and has got permission for a new school off the original footprint to open in September 2013.
Children are still currently being bussed to Comberton or even Cambridge for their secondary schooling until the phased entry to Cambourne Village College is complete.
A 4th permanent primary will open in September 2015 .

Mike and I did a simple calculations after a few years of occupation and concluded that they would need 27 buses, they laughed at us but we were right.

Many residents moved here to Cambourne as their children were originally guaranteed a place at Comberton even in preference to the residents there. Comberton received a huge amount of money to expand.

When we arrived in Cambourne the current dentist building was being used as a primary school by up to 50 children as the first School Monkfield Park was not yet finished.

Soon after they moved out Dr Bailey's Monkfield Medical Practice moved in and very quickly and kindly allowed me to become a key holder so that we could use the waiting room for meetings. The “waiting room” was so important.
One of the reading groups is still called the waiting room. The WI also started there.
The new school head was not being at all helpful in this regard.

A South Cambs Arts officer organized a mime artist evening at Monkfield Park School, a few days before he asked about the stage and was told “you can’t use the stage it is not in the letting's policy”’
He had to hire a stage from the other side of the County and arrange transport; it had to pass an identical stage in the Monkfield Park school building. They were also not able to use the kitchen for a cuppa.
The 2 primary schools were full and some children are/were being bussed to Hardwick Primary School.
The County did eventually build the temporary Jeavons Wood School (the blue school) on land owned by the Parish Council for a burial ground. As the land opposite was part to be part of the provision for the 950 extra homes it was not available until the 950 were agreed, but they have now have a new building. Even when that was ready in 2012 it will still leave a shortfall of places.

The County plan to name the blue school Hardwick Primary and it will be run by them.
None of the other 3 schools felt able to run the school but it did mean that children using the Hardwick School would be able to be moved without withdrawing their right to attend the school originally allocated.
It was agreed that the land could be used for another 5 years and the County Council are paying the Parish Council rent for the land. The Parish Council have warned them the 5 year period will not be extended.

We now have a secondary “Free” school managed by Comberton Village College and retain the link.
The County Council is still convinced we won’t need a 4th primary even though there are 950 more homes being built. However there is provision for a 4th Primary on the site of the Secondary School in 2015.

My wife was seconded to teach at the Monkfield Park School for two terms from her proper teaching job and took the children out to see "the other Hotel" in Cambourne.
The developers had to protect wildlife during construction and during this time a pond near the Great Cambourne children's playground in Greenhaze Lane was the place, hence a newt hotel.

A time capsule was buried by the children of Monkfield Park School and should be opened after 100 years, if anyone can remember where it is!
The chosen site has changed more than a little already but was a good "concept".

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18) Planning Mistakes and Problems


There were a number of planning blunders and problems:-

Building control in Cambourne is via an NHBC inspector who never seemed to do much, but he did pick up some windows that were lower than normal.
The builder had to install bars to the window to prevent occupants falling out. When the new owners moved in they were obviously not happy having the bars, Taylor Wimpeys response was "you can remove them now as the building inspector has passed it".

When they started putting in the foundations for 15 Willow Lane next door to me, they were far to close to our garage (the plans showed a 1 metre space).
I rang South Cambs and they told me the positioning of houses was the responsibility of NHBC inspectors.
So I rang them and they denied it was their responsibility and referred me back to SCDC, so for many years nobody had been checking.

They did put the house in the right place eventually but when they built number 26 (opposite) they discovered the ground level was rising significantly from the house on the corner of Woodpecker Way which had been built first (26 was a sales car park for some time). This resulted in the house air bricks being well below ground level; so they then had to build a barrier to hold next doors fence from collapsing.

Initially they used up ended paving slabs but this looked awful and eventually they replaced the slabs with a proper brick wall. If they had have done it really properly, next doors fence should have been replaced by a full height brick wall.

Overhangs - you can see what can happen when porches and houses are too close to a highway


The Cricket pitch in Lower Cambourne was a bit of a joke really as the planning officers tried to emulate another local village, there was no room there to have a pavilion near the pitch so in their infinite wisdom our pavilion is over the road!
Eltisley had no choice - but we did. There are now 2 cricket pitches.

Another problem was with sports changing rooms, no provision was made in the legal agreement so in the end the Parish Council had to arrange a temporary facility.

The design guide specified that all corner houses with gardens adjacent to highway should have brick walls. Sadly this was not enforced fully and when I queried it, planning officers said simply, "We must have missed that", once permission is granted it cannot be challenged.

Each land parcel had a code, planning assumed that SB was self build but were corrected by David Chare (Project Manager) at a meeting who claimed it was Small Build and so Beechdale homes built a small number of homes, near the current dentist.

Most garages in Great Cambourne and Lower Cambourne were not wide enough to get a car in, or if you did there was no way you could open the doors to get out, unless you used the sun roof as an exit, garages in the extra 950 are wider.

The conditions for hours of work on sites and contractor parking were hardly ever enforced, site deliveries were also a problem when deliveries that should have gone on haul roads frequently ended up in residential roads.

An over 55’s apartment block was allowed to be built next to the Community Centre, Our District Councilor at the time exclaimed it would be wonderful for the residents to have a venue so close.
Of course, as predicted, residents were disturbed, requiring the Parish Council to install air conditioning so the windows stayed shut, install noise limiters, and opening hours were restricted and still there are complaints.

The road system was designed with a proposed 20mph speed limit with bends and road narrowing’s, many drivers treated this as a challenge and frequently there were accidents. The County would not allow a 20mph limit as there was no traffic calming! They would not set a 20 limit unless the dominant speed was the same. They were supposed to do a speed check but I never heard any more.


In one road the developers increased densities beyond what would normally served by a 3.5 metre wide road. When this was discovered the planners decided to divide the road into 3 by putting up barriers in the road. Of course this did not help access but got them out of the embarrassment of getting it wrong.

Another embarrassment was when the County Council submitted a plan for the Library/Health Centre building. During discussion they were told time and time again that the design of the building was wrong for the site (opposite the pub at the end of Broad St) as it was intended to emulate a traditional "Exchange Building". But they were pig headed and took no notice, and the scheme was rejected by The Design & Environment Group.
When I told them of the decision soon after the meeting they said "we'll see about that".

It remains to be seen what will be on this site but there was an agreed application for a high dependency accommodation unit, which never was built, but was a more formal building.
Whatever it is will be likely to have shops on the ground floor. The new plans for the High Street.

The junction of the High Street with Broad Street was also an accident hot spot and is due to be changed as part of the agreement for the 950 extra homes.

The tennis courts had to be extended as they were orientated the wrong way for the sun, this was not discovered until they tried to lay out the court markings.

The supermarket was a very valuable addition to Cambourne, residents had quite a job persuading planners to allow a store of this size (30,000 sq ft). They planned for one half that size. Morrisons were chosen despite Tesco claiming they had it, Ian Douglas was determined it would be Morrisons and it was.

The operator had to agree a section 106 legal agreement.

The planning authority/SCDC failed to notice that the Market Square was conveyed to the Supermarket, this has meant that the operator Morrisons refused to allow a market to be held there. They claimed to support local growers and in fact called their fruit and vegetable area in the store “Market Square", so a market square would not be allowed.

Mike Jocelyn made a complaint to SCDC

So the promised markets did not happen as advertised in the concept Centre, this was to form part of the redesign of the High Street but as usual it was not included in the 2012/2013 plans.

It also has an effect on events now, the farmers market soon gave up in the Hub Car park and other events would have been able to use it.

A plan to allow more efficient use of the bus route was opposed by Bourn residents and the District councillor who also is supposed to represent Cambourne too, the exit would have allowed buses to exit left from Cambourne on to Bourn Drift very close to the A428 bridge and also provided a route for buses in Upper Cambourne. Despite there being very little effect on Bourn it was rejected.

It came as somewhat of a surprise that the first 3 stages of homes in Great Cambourne did not require cavity wall insulation as in the picture of our wall when we did an extension. This fooled even trainees for the HIPS fiasco. when mostly unemployed people were being trained in 4 days at a session at the Belfry Hotel.
We were asked if they could do a practical in our houses and even the tutor said "we must have cavity wall insulation", I had checked previously with NSBCC who confirmed that with as an internal lightweight block had been used on internal walls - it was not required.

When the developers built the Lower Cambourne Pavilion they classified the building as "summer use only" so it has NO insulation. What were our Parish Council or District Council doing accepting that!
Developers only build to the lowest standard they can get away with.

Cambourne was even explored for a new home for Cambridge City FC and deemed unsuitable by a building consortium. "We received a letter a couple of weeks ago saying that it is not suitable" was published on 21 February 2004. Planning had no problem with this as Histon set a precedent.

As none of the roads were adopted there were no speed limits and it was suggested that mock 19 mph signs were erected, the developer could not resist the publicity and so Cambourne became renowned for a 19mph speed limit village, but not enforceable of course.

When the signs were removed they were given to the church who sold some off to raise funds, they also named the new church venture "The Coffee House 19".
It was also not allowed to have pedestrian crossings or even yellow lines while the roads remained unadopted.
There was a hold up as it proved difficult to adopt the first part over the A428 bridge, all adopted roads must be linked to another adopted road.

There has been some movement on adoption and several roads are now adopted. And the first yellow lines were painted on 15th February 2012.
< This might prevent bad parking such as this .

The lines could not be finished as a car was parked in the way for some days.

Spine roads such as Monkfield Lane, Jeavons Lane, School Lane etc, are meant to have yellow lines but because the roads were not adopted this has been delayed.

There were considerable problems with drainage due to infiltration of rain water into the foul water system causing flooding a residents group was set up to try and a campaign started to protect the homes RAFT. This problem was hopefully rectified and gardens dug up to re-route pipes before a start could be made on the extra 950 homes, but I remain unconvinced as we have had very little rain to test it.

When the rain returned in quantity, once again we had problems with overflowing drains at the pumping station and the tankers returned but of course the 950 had been approved.

An agreement has been made for the extra 950 homes that should ensure schemes are signed off properly.

There was an awfully foul smell from the drains on the High St/Jeavons Lane areas and was attributed to the low flow from the unfinished Upper Cambourne, strange nothing like this had happened before.
The lakes did get polluted at one point and the receptor in School Lane that receives pollutants form car parks had to be replaced or modified.

The lakes in Cambourne were provided to take the substantial water run off, surprisingly it was originally planned to fence off the lakes (health and safety) but that thankfully changed and were opened officially in August 2001.

Cambourne is quite windy, I am told that there. is at least one chain link fence between it and the North Pole but builders seemed unaware of this and a few times we have seen the roof's damaged residents were not happy but eventually the repairs were done by the relevant builder.

Hint - a sure way to get things put right is a banner "Don't buy from XXXXX", it helps if it is near a show home, and worked well.

In the early days we had problems with frequent power cuts, which often led to boiler problems.
There were more problems with boilers failing, and even appeared on BBC's watchdog!
The circuit boards were failing due to poor soldering.

The experience I had in making a planning application was quite amusing as it seems personal applications come under more scrutiny.
I was very disappointed with the 3 storey houses that continued on from our house.

I reckoned I could get permission to build a house on the site of my double width garage.
My application was not welcome and it showed up some flaws in what only developers can get away with.

I planned to move the building line forward to what already existed and provide a car port underneath, in what would have been effectively a 2 1/2 storey house.
The visiting planning officer first said the car port would not be wide enough, my reply was that I did not realise a car port needed to be wider than a garage. She said "it doesn't" but when I pointed out that was the same width as our current garages, she said "I don't know how they got away with that".
She also objected to there being no space for cars to park lengthwise in front of the proposed car ports. I said "have you looked at number 28 and number 17?", she said again "I don't know how they got away with that".
As I would need extra parking spaces she said they would not allow 3 driveways together, I said "have you seen number 9?" her reply once again was "I don't know how they got away with that".
All these comparative agreed plans were within a few yards of our house and visible, but of course it was dealt with by a different officer (major projects).

She also said they would not allow an external staircase either. She obviously had not been along School Lane!
The application refusal notice said that 'my garage provided an important visual break in the street scene'
!

Eventually we decided to build an annexe which was agreed. Building Control also insisted on far deeper foundations than NHBC did for our house as there was a hedge adjacent, the very hedge that was recommended by planners for our house which was far closer to the hedge.

Possible Masterplan which is a large file, be patient.
There were a number of amendments to the Masterplan that were made
and agreed in correspondence. Also confirmed that 3 pavilions were added.

The first homes of the extra 950 had to be approved before new building regulations took effect. If this deadline had not been met there would be less money for the S106 and no objections were made.

If residents build an extension they will find that building control will ensure it is built to a good standard, sadly here, new homes are inspected (sic) by NHBC and it seems to a much more liberal standard.

Parking in Cambourne is somewhat contentious, the allocation allowed in planning terms is far less than should be allowed in a rural area, an average of just under 2 per house so this often causes problems, most garages are too narrow to use so are often not used at all for cars, and residents will not walk to garages or parking spaces that are not at their front doors. Residents park where they like, opposite junctions, verges and on pavements, in some cases verges will have to be re-turfed.

There is just enough ^ space between bollards to allow a car in.

< This situation should be a lesson for all planning officers.
Not one car correctly parked on the road as it is simply too narrow and parking to the rear just does not work.

Interestingly South Cambs were not affected by limiting of parking when they moved to Cambourne as they built a temporary car park as the initial one was full and used every available place, (apart from the square in front which is apparently sacrosanct). When they moved here with their "travel plan" to work plan did not work, when I contacted staff after the bus company raised fares so significantly to commiserate they did not know anyone who used the bus!

I can see no justification at all in using non working fibre glass chimneys as Wimpey like to use, especially when they have to use a crane to install them.
The planners did have a good
idea when they put bollards in the footpaths to try and prevent vehicles driving on them, sadly all we have now is this trip hazard>
The County would not adopt them. The County always attended meetings where things were approved but they must have been asleep. they have also insisted that bollards are removed to prevent cyclists crossing side roads.

Soon after we moved here a very small bungalow came up for sale, near Oaks wood off School Lane. Enquiries were made to planning to see if there would be any objections to extending it. The indications from planning was that due to its location in the wood, that it would not be possible.
Once purchased the new owner immediately got permission to extend it.

Soon after the bungalow was completely demolished. it was claimed that when they removed bricks for the new windows there was nothing left.
Another application came in soon after and permission given for a large detached house.

If only one lesson is learned in Cambourne the first building should be a community space before anything else is built, I was told that in Northstowe they planned to allow residents to choose the design, They are not listening!

I was once even accused of being too pessimistic and promised to be more positive so I did try.
A prominent member of the developer team said that "Cambourne was perfect before anyone moved in".

There have been a few studies about lessons learned in Cambourne for which many in Cambourne have contributed.
Also Teaching Colleges and A level students use Cambourne for projects.
For many years I took groups around Cambourne and had a great time "showing off" Cambourne.
I have shared a few bottles of wine which were given to me as a thank you, they came back so must have enjoyed the tour.

I even talked to the WI but probably bored them as they never invited me back!
Pam said however that was far from the truth and they did enjoy it, I am back in 2013.

And I have lost count of the number of interviews....

I still have a collection of brochures and relevent information on Cambourne, it was last used for the 10 year celebrations at the District Council. If you wanted to borrow it (2 boxes) just ask. Mike and I collected many of the original price lists and property details.

The most recent article is from the Guardian in 2013.


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19) Commercial Cambourne


Commercial shop units were slow in coming, you cannot force shops to open and rents and rates were horrific, but there is now:-

Supermarket - Chemist / Post office Service - Hairdressers - Pub - Restaurant - Fish and Chips - Hotel - Take away Indian - Building Society - Bike Shop - Betting Shop - Children's Nursery - Estate Agents (3) - Letting agents - Dry Cleaners - Pizza takeaway - Garage/Car sales - Coffee Shop and a veterinary practice, the picture is the original concept.

The pub was slow coming and residents even tried to buy the house on Monkfield Lane and run it as a pub themselves. Shares were planned to be sold for £1000, but the developers suddenly sold the empty and often vandalised house. It would have made an ideal location for a family pub.

A second pub was on the Masterplan, near the Lower Cambourne Cricket Pavilion, as well as a shop but these looked unlikely when a nursery school was granted permission, but was never built, so who knows.

There are some sites which are due to be developed, notably the High St, but there is also a large development area opposite the Belfry Hotel, a smaller site in back lane next to the fire station which was the site of a derelict and boarded up farm house and the Exchange Building site.
The area to the left of the supermarket petrol station was designated a garden centre and was at one time offered for a DIY store. (Well near enough for developers as DIY stores also have a garden section). An application was made but not built and since then the company have ceased trading.

The High Street shops will increase in 2015 with Iceland, Home Bargains and a pet store.
There are also plans for a budget hotel and another pub, opposite the Belfry Hotel.

When Bovis wanted to build apartments over their shops on the High Street they were required to build a very expensive underground car park.

The police station is now operational with limited hours and a fire station building finished but this is to be a training base initially, but we now hear they may store a fire engine there.

Businesses close to Cambourne did quite well but one popular restaurant burnt down and no one has restored it yet. To be replaced by a burger outlet and coffee shop.

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20) Low Cost and Special Need Homes Provision

There are 2 housing schemes for the elderly, one for over 60's and one for over 55's, both require the resident to purchase the apartment, and pay a monthly service charge, which can usually be covered by the attendance allowance, there are always apartments for sale and if you have elderly relations they are ideal, some think of it as a "posh hotel".
The over 60's units have someone on duty 24/7 and also have a restaurant, but each apartment has its own kitchen. Now has permission for over 55's
There are plans for a high care unit for cases of dementia/alzheimer's that originally was going to be opposite the Monkfield Arms but more likely now in Back Lane or even on the High St.

The original requirement for Cambourne was to have 20% low cost homes.
This was increased to 30% for the extra 950, but many argued it should be 40% which is the figure now for new developments.
But this would have meant the developers would not build the homes at all as there would be no profit.
As has been mentioned elsewhere developments are now closer to large towns or cities, Cambourne being well out of Cambridge the house prices are 20% lower than other schemes near the City and therefore less profit.

There were several different schemes for low cost housing, Key worker schemes, shared ownership and part buy and rent and the areas were defined separated from market homes, now you know why Stagwell Road has barriers in the roadway, no market homes have access through low cost homes roads.
And strangely garages are not thought necessary.

There are different rules for eventual ownership and anyone moving here to rent should refer to this link.
However the latest planned homes should have low cost homes peppered cheek by jowl with market homes.
This has been tried before in Poundbury in Dorset.
But since they are allowed 15 together in each land parcel here and with careful planning I anticipate they will bunch them all as now, the first application proves this as they have low cost homes on the adjoining site.

The housing associations also provided a community development worker who was employed to ensure that the community did have help when needed, this stopped in 2012 when Laura was made redundant, somewhat prematurely with another 300 low cost homes to build.

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21) Other developments in the Region


Since it was decided to build Cambourne, governments have different views on new developments - and densities (30 per hectare minimum) and therefore Cambourne is likely to remain unique although this is now more controllable with the Conservative Localism bill being introduced, giving more control to local communities.

They have now started building Trumpington Meadows 1200 homes virtually on the M11 on a small 59 acre site but is linked to the guided bus, near to Addenbrook's Hospital with 40% low cost. Trumpington Meadows 1200 homes on 59 acres.

A total of 6000 homes is planned in this area, the first stage of building started in 2011 by builders Barrets. Also Glebe Farm - Trumpington Meadows - Great Kneighton.

Brown field (ex commercial or previously used) sites are preferred, and nearer to existing towns and cities with good transport links or to provide guided bus systems (such as in as Northstowe which is also closer to Cambridge). Sadly they are not building the community building until there are 1000 homes. THEY ARE NOT LISTENING.

Several new developments to expand Cambourne are being sought by developers but have not been included in the LDF (Local Development Framework) these being to the West to enlarge Lower Cambourne, East on Bourn Airfield, North over the A428. my current view is that this cannot happen if planning policy does not change, while there is such a reliance on car use and no transport hub such as a rail line/station

Waterbeach will be under pressure now that the barracks is closing, they are talking 13,000 homes!

SCDC version

The business park still has vacant units and there is space for more. Around 10,000 people were expected to work in Cambourne overall.

There was a scare at one time when we thought a laboratory was opening and using animals for testing drugs. This never materialised.

Mackay’s hardware and tool store in East Road even looked at Cambourne when considering a move.
It is hoped that other shops will open and there are plans.

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22) The Original Statistics

50 acres are for the business park B1 (office) land, plus 5 acres for B2 (industrial) land,
11 acres of incidental open space (LAPs, LEAPs, NEAPs and SIPs - play strategy),
0.5 acres floodlit sports surface, 2 acres sports centre,
1 acre ecumenical centre,
0.5 acre health centre,
0.5 acres library,
1 acre for community centre,
5 acres for allotments,
2 acres burial ground,
Up to 2 acres for caravan storage etc (actual 1/2 acre),
37 acres for social and affordable housing,
0.32 acres police station,
0.5 acres fire station,
0.5 acres children and family centre,
2 x 5 acres for primary schools,
350 acres amenity land (golf course, country park, etc).
- the rest is Market homes
Thanks to Kate Wood of SCDC planning for that information

That means around 330 + 37 acres for housing (148 Hectares) at 30 per hectare this would result in 4440 homes

The original figure for Cambourne was less than 23 per hectare for 3000 homes or under 25 for 3300 which was the original maximum, including a plus or minus 10% contingency for design reasons (did they really believe they might stop at 2700?), for information there are 2.47 acres to a hectare.
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23) Conclusion


All in all Cambourne probably has the best facilities of any village, and more to come, and will probably be unique for a new development, with so much open space.

I did not anticipate any more homes in Cambourne to be approved unless there is a fast affordable link to St Neots and Cambridge. Requiring an upgrade of the A428 and a fast affordable link to Drummer Street. Perhaps using the A428 and then follow the Park and ride route along Milton Road.
The only stop would be at the Science park.
You could bike to a Park and Ride in Cambourne avoiding the need of trawling local bus stops.
Cambourne's cycling provision is so much better than Cambridge, where you only have to look at the number of cycles at the Station to see it is an acceptable option despite a lack of cycling routes.

It would require a locker to keep your bike and extra clothing in, this system works well for Cambridge University staff who can't get a parking space in Cambridge.
But there the bike takes you the second leg of the trip to work, ie: park and then you pick up a bike to work.

In contrast to Cambourne the proposed Northstowe Development nearer Cambridge was originally planned for 6000 homes on a total area of 717 acres (287 Hectares) 0.1195 per acre and had an area of open space separating the development from Longstowe, but this was removed and the area increased.
Before a brick is laid, the total has been changed to allow around 10,000 on a similar 1050 acres to Cambourne! 40% will be affordable homes but now reduced.

Cambourne Residents Satisfaction survey results 2009

It may be sad but apart from my wife and family Cambourne has been my life for 15 years and I love it!
Someone very recently told me he did not care what people thought of him, to me that it is the most important thing.

Is there anything I don't like about Cambourne?


No - but I do get just a little bit annoyed about residents who have moved here from large Towns and even Cities and then complain that we don't have a bowling alley or cinema and in particular a swimming pool which would be a significant burden on the current population and serve the area that wil not be paying enough
.
And those residents who leave dogs 'home alone' all day wining for their owner, and dogs that leave "presents" on footpaths and grassed areas.
And of course the odd resident who complains when we close a road for events, "But I don't know any other way out; I've only been here 6 months" and the really ignorant ones who refuse to be redirected putting lives in Danger.

But the big question is will Cambourne ever come to a Conclusion?
The planning for a community has achieved as near as possible what was envisaged despite some claims, but further expansion on the scale developers want would probably change that.
Some say it is inevitable but we must congratulate those who have worked so hard to keep it on course.

If anyone suggests to you that early residents find it hard to let go of the dream, remember it is those who had the dream that made it what it is and the envy of some. Ask residents of Northstowe in a few years.
And finally a quote from Keith Miles Planning Policy Manager at South Cambs District Council (March 2012) "Cambourne is in the wrong place".

The time has come... May 2013
For me to take a small step back from the many voluntary roles I have undertaken on behalf of residents.
Two events have prompted this, one was the election results and I saw that as critical as decisions that are effecting Cambourne are somewhat beyond the local South Cambs administration (A unitary authority is happening already), I only lost by 15 votes, but that is little consolation.
The second and main reason for my decision was the agreement to extend housing beyond the original concept and that is such is a major shift away from that we all bought into in terms of buying or renting a home here.
Councillors were issued with fait a' compli and as much as they might huff and puff their inaction over protecting local views was not evident and as I suspected one major player actually supported the move despite promising he would represent those views expressed on the consultation last summer for the local plan. He will no doubt be quite happy now having moved to Norfolk just before the election last year.
Most councillors were also happy because it has less effect on their community, even Waterbeach have perhaps 10 years to oppose that development.
They don't even consider the Cambourne expansion is in the green belt as they claim to have protected it?
We all made our views to confirm what we wanted but they seem to have more regard to newts than residents.
Localism is just a word they like to think is happening, just ticking boxes and then we do what we wanted anyway.
To be honest Cambourne was so successful the powers that be decided we can have more out of this.
I notice though that although the local plan was for 20 years Cambourne will get its expansion as soon as they can, but other developments will take much longer. Deliver-ability rules in our case.

However we are where we are and Cambourne has achieved a magnificent community which I am proud to have played a small part in.
It is a great place to live and I have confidence our excellent Parish Council will do their best to achieve a good result in providing more facilities.
I would like to see the extension named Swansley Wood and not just Lower Cambourne to define what was the original concept, campaign anyone?
I still have a role and I will continue running the car scheme. My role as trustee for the youth partnership still needs some effort to get that youth centre built! Anyone got a million to spare?
Also remember the Cambourne web site wwww.cambourne.info that I have funded and run for the past 13 years is still very active with information.
I am not moving away and hope to remain here and my next enforced move may well be to the Cambourne burial ground which is the last remaining unfulfilled part of the concept!
Best wishes to you all and thanks to all that have contributed to the development of Cambourne,
Roger Hume

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OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS AWAITED

Several prominent people from Cambourne have promised contributions and you can join them, your memories or experiences of Cambourne. As short or as long as you like.
I would particularly like to hear from the younger community - were you at the first school?

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