Michael Gove has promised to “solve” concerns that government plans to transform Cambridge into a new ‘Silicon Valley’ could damage the City’s water supplies, in a visit to Trumpington on Thursday (16/11).
The Housing Secretary made the commitments while stating he was “in a hurry” to “push ahead” with the government’s ‘Cambridge 2040’ proposals, which will develop up to 250,000 new homes in the city as part of a new approach to the housing crisis.
Gove’s plans to rebuild Cambridge in the image of California’s thriving centre of technological innovation is reportedly at the heart of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s strategy to boost Britain’s economy through digital technology and green industries.
The proposals have been criticised over how they could affect water supplies in the region.
The Environment Agency has already suggested development plans in the City could “pose a significant risk” because of “water scarcity”.
Gove, who has said that the project is about developing new communities “sympathetically”, acknowledged concerns during his visit, suggesting improvements to water supplies will have to be prioritised if ‘Cambridge 2040’ plans are to go ahead.
“We know this is one of the most water-scarce parts of the county,” Gove said, adding, “The issue with water will absolutely be solved”.
“Whether it’s making sure that we can take steps to reduce some of the demand for water or increase the supply through the building of a new reservoir and other routes, that has to be part of the plan,” Gove said.
Addressing concerns about the visual impact of the proposed development, Gove said CambridgeshireLive that “high aesthetic standards are at the heart of new development”.
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