PROTECT RURAL PETERBOROUGH #PRP - News release 3rd January 2017 – Full release

Rural Community says “No” to Township of 2,500 houses + Commercial & Industrial areas in the middle of open countryside

It is completely out of scale in a rural location

  • 4 times the size of Castor & Ailsworth villages combined
  • Would dominate the nearby villages and rural setting of the 5 Parishes (Ailsworth, Castor, Marholm, Sutton and Upton)

It is out of character with the rural area

  • Would be in some of the area’s best open countryside and ignores the plan’s own policy on ‘Landscape Character LP26
  • Contradicts its own Development in the countryside policy LP11, designed to ensure development is consistent with rural location and does no harm to open countryside or designated natural or heritage sites.
  • However proposed development is:
    • Within 200m of the National Nature reserve and SSSI at Castor Hanglands
    • 10 hectares (size of 14 football pitches) of Commercial and Industrial usage

The Plan flies in the face of its own Vision, Objectives and Policies

  • The Vision tells of “a network of characterful villages set within an attractive rural landscape”.
  • It also envisages “a robust well managed network of wildlife-rich habitats and accessible spaces which support a wide range of priority habitats and species”.

How can “one large settlement” (Township) meet that vision, plonked in the middle of open countryside amongst the existing ‘characterful network of villages’ of Ailsworth, Castor, Marholm, Sutton and Upton and close by to wildlife habitats and a National Nature Reserve?

It is also at odds with 3 out of its own Local plan’s 10 Objectives

  • 3) Land use and Wildlife – protect landscape and biodiversity
  • 5) Local and sustainable food – conservation and wise use of productive land
  • 8) Culture and heritage – protect and enhance heritage assets

Our recent survey of visitors to the area, most of them from urban Peterborough says that these assets are hugely valued “we visit because this hasn’t been touched yet”

This is a City Council (PCC) plan in a hurry

  • Consultation period was originally going to be held largely over the festive season.
    • The #PRP campaign challenged whether this would provide genuine consultation.
    • City Council have now extended the consultation period by 2 weeks to 9th February 2017, which we welcome. Our campaign starts now.
  • The area is in the Countryside, separate from the Urban area

    • But is referred to under 'Urban extensions and Large allocations'.
    • The Plan’s own Landscape Character policy LP26 stipulates that ‘new development in or adjoining the countryside, should be located and designed in a way that is sensitive to its landscape setting, retaining and enhancing the distinctive qualities of the landscape character are and sub area, in which it would be situated.
  • Mention of some of Peterborough’s nationally important Archaeology and Historical assets found in Castor & Ailsworth and the surrounding area, are conspicuous by their absence in the Plan. They would be affected by the proposed Township
  • Part of a deal. Not part of objectively assessed housing needs. Although the PCC Plan has an “Objectively Assessed Housing need” of 25,000 houses, it has agreed a deal with Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) to take an additional 2,500 houses of their housing target.

    • There are other sites around the City either rejected or bound up in red tape.
    • This ‘one large settlement’ means PCC can deliver on that deal in one go.
    • Make life easier for both Peterborough and Cambridgeshire Councils and their Joint Chief Executive Gillian Beasley,
  • PCC Plan (“Their Plan”) ignores the draft Neighbourhood Plans (“Our Plans”) that a group of volunteers in Castor & Ailsworth, supported by both Parish Councils, have been researching and developing over the last 2 years. “Our plans” are being consulted on over a similar period, before going to a referendum of residents in the Summer.
  • Ignores National Planning Framework says that Local authorities (i.e. City Council) should work with local communities on any development. Ignoring the drafts of “Our Plans” doesn’t seem to meet this policy advice.

This is not a Garden Village. Despite widespread publicity around the Government’s ‘Garden Village Scheme’, this is not part of that scheme (ironically run by the HCA who own this land!)

As the Environment Capital, Peterborough seems to have forgotten its Environment

Peterborough's planning system is being left in the dark ages of planning, making sweeping large housing allocations while the rest of the country moves on with garden villages.

Protect Rural Peterborough (#PRP) is a campaign group of local volunteers formed in November, after a public meeting held by Castor & Ailsworth Parish Councils. The meeting was a

attended by nearly 300 residents.  After hearing the PCC Draft Local Plan, the meeting almost unanimously said they could not support the current PCC proposal.

The PRP campaign has the support of both Parish Councils, Ward Councillors John Holdich OBE and Peter Hiller and Shailesh Vara MP has already spoken in the media opposing the PCC proposals.

We are also in close contact with Marholm and Sutton Parish Councils who share our concerns

We have also been talking to Nature and Wildlife organisations who are extremely concerned at the proposals and their effect on wildlife habitats, with local evidence of effects on wildlife from housing

Find out more here at

The City Council consultation on its Draft Local plan runs until 9th February 2017 and can be found in your local Library or here, where you can respond online via the Consultation portal or by e mail to

You can also write and post your comments to:

Peterborough Local Plan Consultation, Sustainable Growth Strategy, Peterborough City Council, Town Hall, Bridge Street, Peterborough, PE1 1HF

We would also encourage people to write to their Ward Councillors and also to John Holdich OBE (Council Leader) , Peter Hiller (Cabinet Member for Growth) and Gillian Beasley Joint CEO Peterborough City Council & Cambridgeshire County Councils)

For further details or interviews, contact:

Martin Chillcott – Chair, Protect Rural Peterborough

(01733) 380819 or 07734 298701