1) Personal Introduction
wife and I were approaching retirement in ten or less years
admittedly was some time away, but we were also looking to find
somewhere nicer to live and possibly to avoid my wife using
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.
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
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.
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
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
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!”
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.
Return to Index
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.
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
We were having problems with our address, no store card/credit
card would accept our address and even Bovis were writing to 13
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.
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.
Return to Index
3) Getting Involved
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
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
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.
help was given on the web site
In the Beginning
did not even get that name in the early stages and was to
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!
was told the developers wanted a name that would sell, and
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
are some very early aerial views of Cambourne
Return to Index
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
we arrived there was no bus service and when it did start the
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.
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
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
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.
Return to Index
7) The MLC (Management Liaison Committee)
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,
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.
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
This all stopped when Cambourne Parish Council was formed.
was consultation on road naming with the MLC and later the Parish
There were various themes, Farming terms, trees, and in Upper
Cambourne due to the site being used as an airfield during the
war aircraft terms etc.
One Wimpey development used peoples surnames but this was not
well received and it was agreed should not happen again.
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.
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
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
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).
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.
Return to Index
8) Churches Together
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.
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
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."
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.
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.
Return to Index
The Cambourne Crier
was soon involved with the village magazine “The
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),
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
I am sure we all thought the domain was owned by the Crier and
I even reminded them the domain was due for renewal.
Crier story actually began
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.
issue was just after Christmas 1999, followed at
three-monthly intervals by others. I have scanned most if not
all of the
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
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.
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,
the new secondary school will come to the rescue.
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.
years have passed since The Cambourne Crier made its first
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
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
We should be very grateful to those who still maintain the Cambourne
Crier every month, it always amazed me how quickly the months
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.
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.
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
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.
10) Getting Facilities
Cambridge Evening news was always reporting
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
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.
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
No other building in Cambourne omitted even a basic fitted kitchen.
The Parish Council rather over did it and spent £20,000
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.
University of Cambridge Charitable Trust was willing to build
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
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
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,
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
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
Once the sports
facilities were available the sports clubs have thrived. Football1
clubs formed, even Angling,
a bowls club is under way.
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
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.
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.
were organised within Cambourne for the weekend of 11th and 12th
There was a pull
out page in the centre page of the
Crier and many residents displayed the page in their
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.
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 called “The
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
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.
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
The S106 legal agreement did not require the fitting of a kitchen,
so this had to be provided later through the Parish Council.
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.
were very late being provided initially as the developer claimed
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
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 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,
By-pass and the dualling of the Cambourne
section of the A428.
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.
Return to Index
11) Provision for a Community
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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!.
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.
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).
church had a site allocated both for a church and a church house
in Broad St.
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.
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
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
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.
have been successful in Cambourne once proper facilities were
available. Including all the usual
Brownies and Guides.
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
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.
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
And will a golf course ever be viable?
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.
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
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.
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
the original legal agreement S106 and comments)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
density land parcels, where the consortium don't think they will
make much profit.
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.
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.
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.
applications are dealt with in a similar way to any new builds
and referred to the Parish Council for consultation
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.
also in recent years a running half marathon event is organised
by the business park.
probably the most successful events are the Annual
Youth Fest particularly aimed at youth but this has ceased
until new funding can be found.
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.
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.
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.
were actively ensuring the sports facilities were
available as promised. The Developers even tried to include the
Hotels facilities as part of the provision!
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.
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.
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.
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
Louise and Paul stored them in her shed which is another story
(see bin stores at the end of heading 5).
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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 have
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.
Cambourne Festival was originally started in the year 2000 by
Gerry Lambert, then Community Development Officer
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.
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.
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!
13) The Parish Council
Parish Council was formed after
elections in June 2004; there were only 10
nominations for the 13 vacancies so all 10 were automatically
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
I passed the CiLCA qualification (Certificate in Local Council
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
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
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.
did eventually become a Parish Councillor, it was very difficult
to be able to influence decisions in the village and I was elected
I was Vice chairman, in 2010/2012. And Chairman of the planning
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.
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.
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
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
I has undoubtably the best equipped maintenance
team in the District.
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
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
but were deemed too dainty and expensive, they depicted, taking
off (Great Cambourne), in flight (Lower Cambourne) and landing
concept behind the markers is that of an aircraft propeller -
with each blade representing one of the neighbourhoods of Cambourne
- Great, Lower and Upper.
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."
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
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”.
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
I also remember attending an art workshop in one of the sales
There were opportunities for anyone to have a go at sketching
Upstairs in one of the bedrooms there was a nude male, one of
the young children said “is that his tail"?
opportunity was for residents to attend a stone
carving day, making their own sculpture.
more recent Festival
of Art was held in the past 2 years.
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
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.
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
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".
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."
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).
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
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.
housing has not yet breached the original footprint.
16) An Extra 950
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.
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.
Return to Index
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.
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.
were told that a secondary school in Cambourne would not be
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
When we arrived in Cambourne the current dentist building
was being used as a primary school by up to 50 children as
School Monkfield Park was not yet finished.
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.
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
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
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
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.
“Free” school managed by Comberton Village College
and retain the link.
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.
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
The chosen site has changed more than a little already but was
a good "concept".
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
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.
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.
you can see what can happen when porches and houses are too
close to a highway
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Whatever it is will be likely to have shops on the ground floor.
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.
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.
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.
operator had to agree a section
106 legal agreement.
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
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.
Jocelyn made a complaint to SCDC
the promised markets did not happen as advertised
in the concept Centre, this was to form part of the redesign
the High Street but as usual it was not included in the 2012/2013
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
has been some movement on adoption and several roads are
And the first
yellow lines were painted on 15th
< This might prevent bad parking such as this .
lines could not be finished as a car was parked in the way
for some days.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
in August 2001.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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'!
we decided to build
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.
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
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
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.
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!
can see no justification at all in using non working fibre
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.
after we moved here a very small bungalow came up for sale,
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.
purchased the new owner immediately got permission to extend
after the bungalow was completely demolished. it was claimed that
when they removed bricks for the new windows there was nothing
Another application came in soon after and permission given for
a large detached house.
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!
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
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....
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
most recent article is from the
Guardian in 2013.
Return to Index
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
20) Low Cost and Special Need Homes Provision
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.
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
house prices are 20% lower than other schemes near the City and
therefore less profit.
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.
are different rules for eventual ownership and anyone moving
here to rent should refer to this
However the latest planned homes should have low cost homes
peppered cheek by jowl with market homes.
This has been tried before in Poundbury
But since they are allowed 15 together in each land parcel
here and with careful planning I anticipate they will bunch
as now, the first application proves this as they have low
cost homes on the adjoining site.
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
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.
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.
total of 6000 homes is planned in this area, the first stage
building started in 2011 by builders Barrets. Also Glebe
Farm - Trumpington
Meadows - Great
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.
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
will be under pressure now that the barracks is closing, they
are talking 13,000 homes!
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.
The Original Statistics
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
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.
Return to Index
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.
did not anticipate any more homes in Cambourne to be approved
there is a fast affordable link to St Neots and Cambridge. Requiring
an upgrade of the A428 and a fast affordable link to Drummer
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.
Residents Satisfaction survey results 2009
may be sad but apart from my wife and family Cambourne has
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.
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
that we don't have a bowling alley or cinema and in particular
a swimming pool which would be a significant burden on the
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.
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.
anyone suggests to you that early residents find it hard to
let go of the dream, remember it is those who had the dream
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
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
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,
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
I have funded and run for the past 13 years is still very active
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,
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?
to Index of Chapter 1