Growth of Godmanchester
Comments on development and future implications for the Town
Much has been debated, printed and commented upon regarding the growth of Godmanchester and the future pressures for development here, amongst the overall pressing needs of the Cambridge sub-region.
A few personal thoughts of Stuart Bond, follow.
Now, with an emotive opening paragraph like that, I hope it will encourage some of you to read on and maybe to consider how we can maintain the sense of community, you might even to write an article or two in future for the web site and magazine, reflecting on your own experiences here and elsewhere and the lessons learnt which we may try to apply in Godmanchester? Whatever your views on my comments below, I hope this can be a catalyst to spark debate.
Obviously in the last century, the housing developments of the 1980s led to a step change in population, but the growth subsequently has been in line with the trend over the preceding 200 years. So, the growth has not been as large as other parts of the country and Godmanchester retains a small town / village atmosphere. However, consider other rural communities which have not had any growth and that this has resulted in a stagnation of the village and frequently resulted in no affordable and suitable properties for young people, closure of doctors surgeries, shops, post offices and village pubs. So a controlled growth would appear beneficial.
The Future - can we develop Godmanchester and still retain the qualities
we all enjoy?
In the UK the private rental stock has until recently tended to result in periods of tenancy little more than two or three years at the most before needing to move. Hardly conducive to bringing up a family requiring education. In addition, our household sizes are changing. There is a trend to more people living alone but without housing stock that is suitable, they remain in larger properties.
So, we do need to develop more housing in the region and with it the necessary infrastructure for transport, amenities and sufficient job / career opportunities locally. Managed correctly, using best environmental practice such as low light pollution, consideration of safe pedestrian and cycle access, transport and infrastructure requirements etc should enable quality development to meet these needs.
Note however that there are no plans for massive housing development of Godmanchester within the Local Development Guidance (previously Local Structure Plan) from Huntingdonshire District Council, although developers can make applications outside of these guidelines if they wish and it is then necessary for you to make your views heard on whether you believe such changes are desirable and beneficial to the entire community.
So even without significant expansion, Godmanchester has coped favourably with growth of around 10% per decade over the past 200 years. If future growth is managed well, then the town should continue to prosper and provide opportunities to those who wish to live here. This will require your involvement, if you care of course.
Any comments? E-mail and I'll open a discussion topic in the forums.
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