Category Archives: Development

Budding snappers to create a picture of Castor life

Keen photographers are being invited to take part in a venture that could help build up a picture of village life in Castor.

Linden Homes – developer of Drover’s Mead – is challenging the people of Castor and those who have an association with the village to capture its best bits on film.

The images will be judged by a Linden Homes panel. Prizes will be awarded for the best before a selection of the top photographs are displayed in the sales and marketing suite.

Linden Homes sales and marketing director Steve Garton said: “We believe this will be an excellent way of not only engaging with the local community but will produce some fabulous images which we may even be able to us as part of our promotion of the village as a fantastic place to live.”

The competition is open to all ages, and the photos can depict all aspects of village life. Entrants can submit up to three emailed JPEG images by sending them to

Prizes will include £250 photographic voucher for the winner and £150 for two runners-up.

Deadline for entries is Friday 15 July 2011.

Personally, I’m not keen on promoting the unsympathetic over-developement of villages, as this can lead to the destruction of that which makes it an attractive place to live in the first place. However, I do applaud the sentiment that it can build up a valuable photographic record of modern village life for future residents to enjoy so fill your boots.

HCA responds to residents’ concerns

Signpost in Castor, Cambridgeshire
Image via Wikipedia

Following earlier revelations on the Homes and Communities Agency‘s (HCA) intentions for the land it holds around the villages of Castor and Ailsworth in Cambridgeshire it has responded to a query from the Parish with a typically oblique reply:

At the present time, the HCA does not have detailed proposals for this site as the site is not allocated for
development in any existing adopted planning policy for Peterborough, nor is it included in any emergent planning policy currently being considered.  Should the site be required at some point in the future to provide for Peterborough’s growth, the HCA will look to plan the site in a comprehensive
manner, working with local partners.

There is still nothing to stop it selling off its holdings around the village envelope (between the village and the by-pass) to developers – like Clay Lane.  And, since the government’s decision to scrap regional spatial planning has been ruled unlawful, it seems that housing quotas are again back on the agenda.

The true extent of rural development plans revealed.

The Town Hall, Upper Bridge Street (1930 1933)...
Image via Wikipedia


More threats to Peterborough‘s rural communities. It would seem that the Homes and communities Agency (HCA), which owns a significant amount of land in this corner of the shire, is slowly revealing its intentions for the wholesale development of the area.   

This is its objection to plans for cemetery allocation in the villages (See post dated 3 September 2010).   

Site C003 is in the ownership of the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) and forms part of a larger landholding belonging to the HCA at Castor & Ailsworth, having been in the ownership of the HCA’s predecessor bodies, English Partnerships, and the Commission for the New Towns. The HCA wishes to see this large landholding planned in a comprehensive manner to aid Peterborough’s ambitions for growth and considers that piecemeal development of the landholding for a cemetery at this stage would compromise the HCA’s aspirations for this site. The HCA therefore objects to the proposal to use C001 Land North of Peterborough Road and West of village of Ailsworth for Cemetery Provision without it being considered as part of a mixed use community at this site.   

Just in case you missed it, this is the signifcant bit: The HCA wishes to see this large landholding planned in a comprehensive manner to aid Peterborough’s ambitions for growth….   

We could be looking at development on the scale of Bretton or the Ortons. That was certainly the case in the 1970s before local opposition was able to fight off the developers. There will come a time when local opposition to development of this kind will have to re-crystalise or residents and other groups who don’t want this kind of rural development will be steam rollered by the HCA and the city council.   

To quote Heather O’Rourke in Poltergeist: ‘They’re here’.   

‘Dogging’ developments

Local government in Peterborough
Image via Wikipedia


Peterborough City Council is digging into its coffers to provide road surface improvements for Splash Lane. According to natural networks project officer James Fisher the Council has received various complaints about the current state of the road surface down there. 

The Council plans to level the surface of the byway and tarmac it from the Woodlands entrance to the Nene Park Trust car park. Apparently, the Nene Park Trust has plans of its own to improve the surface of the car park – possibly tarmacing it, erecting a gate and height barrier and hedgerow management. 

A height barrier will be needed because the suggested improvements will make this an ideal location for travellers, who will not be able to access the Ferry Hill car park once a height barrier and gates are erected there, to pitch-up in their vans and turn it into the usual shit hole, which will cost the City Council even more cash to clean up when they are finally moved on. At least the travellers will keep the doggers away. 

Well known locally as a spot for dogging, a nice new surface on the car park will mean that exhibitionists won’t get their high heels and brothel creepers muddy. And neatly trimmed bushes will give voyeurs a better view. However, the Trust is monitoring the use of the car park and considering its long-term future. There are of course other people who use the car park – ramblers, anglers and so on and their wishes should be considered. 

This is a country by-way. The volume of traffic using it and consequently the number of complaints regarding the state of the road surface must be small. Save on our council tax by filling in the potholes and re-surfacing the lane with crushed stone – the suggested treatment for the lane beyond the car park – and ensure that it retains the character of a country lane not a city centre car park. 

What’s in a name?

Quite a lot apparently. Stamford Homes, the developer of the new housing site off Clay Lane decided to call it Drover’s Mead – a suggestion that stirred up a hornet’s nest of consternation.

It has now caved in to pressure from the Parish Council, renaming the site with a moniker more historically and culturally significant to the village.

Instead of twee generic pap they have opted instead for ‘Berrystead,’ which has now received approval from the City Council. A quick look on Facebook could have helped them gauge the feelings about the original suggestion:

“…this lane was always meant for Fred Green, taking the cows back to the field after milking. These “newbies” will never know it as it was.”


“Who came up with that stupid name Drovers Mead? Let’s hope the Parish Council soon kick that into touch and give it a name that has some meaning to the village. DROVERS MEAD MY ARSE !!”


“Probably some marketing bloke who’s never been to the village!  Wouldn’t have been difficult to do a nice bit of local PR and asked for suggestions from the village.”

So, with a long list of suggestions including The Spinny, Todd’s Piece and so on why has the developer gone for Berrystead? A poll of possible names was carried out by the Parish Council and the list of suggestions – including Berrystead – was sent to the Council and the developer. After consideration they plumped for Berrystead.

The name Berrystead dates back to the 11th century when the abbot of Peterborough held a manor in Castor known as the Castor or the Berrystead Manor. In 1321 it included a manor-house with garden, dovecote, woodland and fisheries in the Nene, which remained a church manor until the 20th century. 

In the survey of the ‘Manor of Castor or Berrystead’ carried out by the Parliamentary Commissioners in 1649 it was described as ‘consisting of one Hall, one Parlour wainscoted, one Kitchen, one Buttery with a little parlour adjoining, one Larder, one dairy, one Chamber over the Parlour, three other chambers, one little Chamber over the Porch, one gate entering into the Courtyard Chamber over, one Stable with Outhouses with eight small bays, one great barn of six bays besides the Berrystead, all built of stone and slated, one Kiln House, the yard and garden being three acres’ – a substantial farmstead for the period. The important manor also included fields including the site of the Stamford Homes development at the end of Clay Lane – hence the name Berrystead. 

For a full description check out the archive.

They’ve still gone for something generic and safe but it’s relevant. But, given that the area just up the lane is known locally as The Spinny perhaps that might have been a more appropriate name. But at least they’ve compromised.

Rural housing developments

A regional house developer – Stamford Homes, a cuddly sounding local house builder that is part of the less cuddly national construction outfit Galliford Try – has started work building houses on a few acres of former grazing land in this corner of the shire.

The problem is that the site is difficult to access and will mean heavy plant, lorries, vans and assorted other traffic passing through a once tranquil part of the village.

Keep an eye out to see how things develop and watch rural housing development as it unfolds.