Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Saturday, 15 October 2016 21:34

Branch Fundraising Event At Longstowe Hall

Around 40 members and guests enjoyed an early evening tour in fine weather of the stunning gardens and grounds of Longstowe Hall on 29th September.


Longstowe Hall  

Friday, 16 September 2016 09:31

2016 AGM

Our AGM was held on 15th September at Madingley Village Hall.  We were sorry to say farewell to our Chairman, Michael Monk, who is stepping down after six years’ service.  However we hope that he will enjoy his new role as CPRE East of England Regional Group Chairman.

Our speaker, Professor Peter Landshoff, spoke about the issues facing the Cambridge sub-region, and an interesting discussion followed.  The slides of his talk can be found at

If you, or anyone you know, would be interested in our Branch Chair role, please contact Tracey Hipson, tel: 01480 396698 or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Michael Monks opens his gift from the committee of CPRE Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

We were delighted to hear that Holt Island Nature Reserve, in St Ives, won Anglia in Bloom’s “Best Conservation Project in East Anglia”, and were runners-up for “Best Environmental Quality”.

The Friends of Holt Island, who help manage the reserve, are CPRE members and we enjoyed a visit last year with CPRE National Chairman Su Sayer.

For more information about Holt Island please visit

Holt Island


Shaun Spiers (CEO), Tom Fyans (Director of Campaigns and Policy), with Tom Quinn (Publicity Assistant) recently visited the rapidly changing Alconbury Weald Development on a fact-finding mission. They were shown around the site, a former USAF airfield, by representatives of the developers UrbanandCivic. CPRE has supported the development for 5,000 homes and 8,000 jobs in an Enterprise Zone as an example of making good use of a brownfield site, saving many acres of Huntingdonshire's productive farmland. They were keen to understand the issues involved in developing a brownfield site - its advantages and challenges.

You can read more about the visit in Shaun Spiers’ blog

Shaun Spiers, CPRE Chief Executive, views construction at Alconbury Weald

On the 31 August, the Cambridge News published the attached letter from CPRE Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in response to the LSE’s Duncan Stott’s statement “There is overwhelming evidence that green belts are a major cause of the housing shortage”.

Our response follows:

Duncan Stott of the London School of Economics has recently stated "There is overwhelming evidence that green belts are a major cause of the housing shortage".  Other people are under the same perception, witness the number of applications which have been put before the Inspector at the resumed inquiry into the Cambridge and the South Cambridgeshire local plans.  We dispute the assertion that building houses in the green belt sites is a cause of the housing shortage.   It is the reluctance to build on previously-developed (brownfield) land in our cities and towns that is the major cause. 

In November 2014 CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) produced a report which concluded that a minimum of 976,000 new homes could be built on identified brownfield sites, and even this figure could be an underestimates of suitable land as it only identifies land already derelict or with planning permission; it does not include currently underused land that could be new brownfield land when it becomes available.

The Conservative manifesto for the 2015 election committed the incoming Government to protecting the Green Belt, but it is not living up to its promise.  CPRE, in another piece of research  'Why brownfield development works' (March 2016) reveals figures that show that housing development proposed for the Green Belt has shot up by another 50,000 to more than a quarter of a million houses.

Let us remember that a major purpose of the Cambridge green belt is to preserve the unique character of Cambridge as a compact, dynamic city with a thriving historic centre. The green belt was carefully reviewed around 15 years ago and significant tracts of land on the edge of the city were taken out of green belt and allocated for development. That development is continuing and we see the results.  At the time of the green belt review it was generally accepted (particularly  by the Government planning inspectors) that any further land taken from the green belt would be unacceptable and that, if the Cambridge sub-region had to continue to grow, other sustainable solutions would have to be found. We in CPRE fear that further loss of this small green belt will lead to urban sprawl destroying the city's character and engulfing our rural villages.

Shirley Fieldhouse
CPRE Cambridgeshire & Peterborough branch
Gainsborough Close, Cambridge


A Cambridgeshire farm is being used as a model of best practice by countryside campaigners. A national report, “New Model Farming”, published by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), praises Whitehall Farm at Broughton for its innovative approach to minimising soil erosion whilst maximising profitability and sustainability.

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