Draft North East Cambridge Area Action Plan

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Draft North East Cambridge Area Action Plan

Policy 25: Environmental Protection

Representation ID: 56023

Received: 05/10/2020

Respondent: Endurance Estates

Agent: Barton Willmore

Representation Summary:

Draft Policy 25 requires development at NEC to fully consider environmental impacts to ensure that the future health, quality of life, amenity and the natural environment are fully considered. Policy Section (h) makes reference to a noise barrier along the A14, stating that it will be assessed and integrated into the overall masterplan.

Supporting text on the topic of noise acknowledges that:

“The A14 traffic noise has widespread prevalent adverse impacts across a
significant proportion of the Area Action Plan area. It is likely that a strategic site
environmental noise barrier close to the A14 will be the most effective option to
mitigate and reduce to a minimum adverse noise both internally and externally”.

In addition, a number of site-specific noise sources are identified including transport and industrial uses. As well as the WwTW, the Veolia Waste Transfer Station site lies in the heart of the NEC Action Area. This waste site is safeguarded in the adopted Minerals and Waste Local Plan. At the time of consultation, neither of the sites have a strategy for relocation off-site and represent major constraints to the proposed development.

Looking specifically at the issues of acoustics and vibration, the following conclusions can be drawn:

• The current proposals locate the most noise-sensitive uses, such as housing, on the east end of the site. The Land Use Plan (Figure 11) indicates that a high proportion of the proposed residential development will be sited close to the A14, although noise impacts from road and rail traffic will continue to be a long term issue in this area (as set out in the Noise Model and Mitigation Assessment, February 2020). By contrast, the Land Use Plan proposes the allocation of commercial and other less noise-sensitive uses further away. The proposed arrangement of land uses poses a significant challenge to design in terms of both façade requirements and ventilation / cooling.
• A better and more balanced design could be achieved through locating less noise sensitive uses along the perimeter of the site in taller buildings, which would in turn act as a screen to the lower residential buildings in the centre of the site, protecting them from the dominant noise sources. This would be beneficial for the ventilation and cooling strategies of the residential buildings, bringing them more in line with the Councils’ preferred natural ventilation approach. It would also provide quieter external amenity areas, promoting the wellbeing of the occupants.
• Vibration and structure-borne noise from trains to and from Cambridge North station and from the future CAM network does not seem to have been considered. Moving residential buildings away from these sources would prove successful in reducing the impact of vibration and structure-borne noise on the foundation design of the buildings.

The findings have an important bearing on the proposed layout of the NEC Area. There are fundamental implications for the Spatial Framework (Figure 10) and Land Use Plan (Figure 11), with a consequential effect on Draft Policy 1 and other elements of the Draft NECAAP. However, we consider that amenity issues such as noise and vibration are of utmost importance when planning and designing a high-quality new city district such as NEC.


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