Anglian Water publishes next stage of consultation feedback as proposal for new Cambridge waste water treatment facility takes shape.

Following a second public consultation, Anglian Water has shared the next stage in the proposals for the modern, low carbon waste water treatment facility which will serve Greater Cambridge.

During Summer 2021, Anglian Water asked the community and wider stakeholders for their views on the initial look and feel of the new facility. This feedback, together with ongoing technical surveys and assessments, is helping to further develop design proposals ahead of the next phase of consultation in early 2022.

Anglian Water received more than 350 feedback forms and over 650 comments on their digital engagement platform during the second phase of consultation. Karen Barclay, Head of the public consultation for Anglian Water said: said:

“All of the feedback we’ve received is incredibly valued. We have been carefully considering all of the comments alongside continuing our feasibility studies, surveys and ongoing technical assessments to help us develop more detailed design proposals.”

The design for the new facility takes its inspiration from the local landscape, both past and present, and will provide vital waste water treatment services for the community and protection for the wider environment, helping Cambridge to grow sustainably.

The feedback received overwhelming indicated a preference for a more natural design to help the new site blend into the surrounding landscape. Anglian Water plans to achieve this by installing a more natural screening on top of the organic, earthwork bank designed to conceal the facility, alongside a sky-like architectural finish on the taller elements of the plant.

Karen said: “We have carefully considered the landscape and engineering design for the new facility following the feedback from the community and stakeholders, who were understandably concerned about the visibility of the taller elements of the facility against the horizon. As well as developing the design to have a less intrusive impact on the landscape, we have committed to reduce the heights of the taller elements by six metres, compared to the heights outlined in the initial plans.”

The consultation also highlighted that the community feels strongly about the site will be accessed.

Karen continued, “We recognise this is a sensitive and important issue for residents, and one we are taking very seriously.  Given the strength of views on this issue, we wanted to consult more widely and appraise the options more deeply and have carried out a detailed assessment of the options against a wide range of criteria, and alongside expert partners organisations, to ensure we’re fully considering safety, visual impact, carbon and highways policy in our decision making.” The assessments found that the option to utilise junction 34 (option 1 in the consultation documents) is better than alternative options including the creation of a new junction off the A14.

Karen added, “It has been a difficult decision to make, knowing the community’s clear preference for option 3, a new junction off the A14.  We will continue to work with the community ahead of the next phase of consultation to develop this option further and ensure any impacts are minimised and managed, both during the construction phase and once the plant is operational.”

Alongside the formal responses received during Anglian Water’s phase two consultation the water company also held collaborative meetings with both community and technical stakeholders to develop their proposals on landscape and connectivity to the local environment to support the evolving designs. This has included ongoing engagement with Natural England, the National Trust, The Wildlife Trust, and Cambridge Past, Present and Future amongst others.

The company is undertaking a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the relocation project, to further inform the developing design. Preliminary findings will be presented in the next phase of consultation which will take place in Spring 2022.  Alongside providing an update on the findings from the environmental studies, Anglian Water will be asking for further feedback on the developed design for the facility.

A final application to the Planning Inspectorate for a Development Consent Order (DCO) will then be submitted towards the end of 2022. The full consultation response can be viewed here