Why I campaigned against the 'New Town' announced in the 2020 budget
In the 2020 Budget, the government said it was looking at the possibility of a new town for South Cambridgeshire. South Cambridgeshire district already has three new towns in the process of being built out - Cambourne, Northstowe and Waterbeach. I think this is more than any other district in the country, and we have a right to say: “enough”. Building out these developments will mean that under any scenario more houses will be built in South Cambs in the next 20 years than the last 20 years. The question for South Cambs voters is how much more than that we build.
Growth is essential for our national and local economy, but a new town is not. That is the message I have taken to ministers on behalf of residents across South Cambridgeshire who are concerned about continual efforts to concrete over our greenbelt and farmlands.
So far, I have
- Wrote to the Chancellor seeking clarity on the 2020 Budget line item regarding a new town
- Spoke to Treasury officials and members of the Chancellors staff to ascertain how the suggestion had come about
- Worked with Treasury and MHCLG ministers to explore ways to u-turn on the announcement
- Lobbied Ministers and officials to ensure the proposals were dropped for the 2021 budget
- Successfully ensured proposals were dropped and a statement was released confirming the Government has no plans for an additional new town in South Cambridgeshire
- Worte publically against the proposals and spoke out in multiple interviews and releases
After my continued campaigning, and multiple meetings with ministers, the Government has confirmed that it is not planning any new towns for South Cambridgeshire. and I am delighted they have listened.
Not only was there no mention of a new town in the 2021 budget documents, the Ministry for Housing, Communities, and Local Government has now confirmed that "the Government has no plans for an additional new town in this location or elsewhere in South Cambridgeshire". This does not mean the push to stop other developments, such as Thakeham, is over, What it does is offer clarity and reassurance that such matters are not of interest of the Government and that all such decisions are firmly in the hands of local planners and South Cambs District Council.