Hinxton hears from Smithson Hill
A packed Hinxton village hall last week heard CEO of Smithson Hill, Emma Fletcher (left in pic), outline plans for a site which is bounded by the A505 running to one side and the A1301. Older readers will recall this was the site of the proposed 11,000 house eco-town of Hanley Grange put forward in 2008-09. Chair of Hinxton PC Willie Brown (right) chaired the meeting.
Smithson Hill's proposals are for an agri-science site of research and crop experimentation, employing up to 4000 people. The current plans contain no proposal for residential building, the meeting was told. Emma outlined a number of investigations preparatory to putting in a planning application. These include air quality tests, soil sampling, drainage studies, etc.; they will also be digging exploratory trenches to shed light on, among other things, sites of archaeological interest.
Recreational assets might include cycle and footpaths and “swimming” ponds. Constraints they face include a gas pipeline running under the fields from the direction of Pampisford to the grid station south of Duxford, and a major aquifer water supply borehole due north of Hinxton Grange. The area being considered for a substantial number of office/laboratory buildings is fronting the A1301 to the south-west of the Grange. They are talking to relevant local authorities and possible commercial users, but no potential clients have yet been signed up.
A second site near the Sawston MacDonalds roundabout, which is in the green belt, was touched on briefly. This is actually in Pampisford, and was suggested could be put forward as a car park site to alleviate the parking issues at Whittlesford station. No planning application has yet been put forward for this either
There were many questions put to Emma by villagers and invitees from nearby parish councils - concerns about air, water, light, and sound pollution, and traffic congestion, as well as the possibility of plastic and poly-tunnels associated with industrial farming. Severe doubts were expressed whether Smithson-Hill could adequately, and in time, meet the infrastructural costs of the necessary demands for electricity, drainage and, above all, transport arising from the proposed development.
Smithson hill will make a presentation later in 2017 as their plans evolve.