Interactive map: See the sites where nearly 49,000 new homes are proposed for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire
The sites where nearly 49,000 new homes could be built in Greater Cambridge have been revealed.
Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council have published them as part of the latest stage of developing the Greater Cambridge Local Plan, which will guide development in the region to 2041.
You can see all the locations on the map below and click on a site for more detail.
The proposals will be put to councillors for discussion and, following any changes, will go out to public consultation in November.
The councils say it is their “greenest” Local Plan to date - but South Cambridgeshire’s Conservative MP Anthony Browne claims it is a “nightmare” and will lead his constituency being “concreted over”.
Existing allocations are marked in purple in the map below, while red denotes new sites for development.
Developers and landowners put forward about 690 new sites for consideration, and planners considered a couple of hundred of others on top, but the first proposals for the plan suggest that only 19 of them should be taken forward in addition to those already allocated.
Most of these new sites are in and around Cambridge, as planners say this will generate a smaller carbon footprint amid the drive towards a net zero future.
Instead, the largest new developments are expected at North East Cambridge, with 3,900 homes initially envisaged when the waste water treatment plant moves, and at Cambridge East, where Marshall intends to vacate its airport site, creating room for an initial 2,850 homes. Both are due to be ‘low carbon’ neighbourhoods.
It is envisaged that with a new East West Rail stop on the way, Cambourne could grow into a more substantial town, with unspecified plans for a further 1,950 homes on top of the 2,590 being built at Cambourne West.
Delivery of homes already planned at Northstowe, Waterbeach and Eddington could be accelerated, it is suggested, but the numbers to be developed there have not changed.
There is no sign of developer Thakeham’s much-criticised plan for a 25,000-home community in the South Cambridgeshire countryside in the plans, nor the new towns that developers proposed at Dry Drayon, Elsworth and Six Mile Bottom.
Only about four per cent of new homes are proposed for rural village locations – equating to just 384 homes over the next 20 years. Among these are developments of 140 homes in Melbourn, 100 homes between Great Shelford and Stapleford, 64 at Caldecote and 20 in Oakington.
The proposals have been drafted to meet a predicted demand for about 2,320 new homes a year - some 550 more than are currently in the pipeline.
In total, the number of new homes suggested to meet the region’s housing requirements and rapid jobs growth to 2041 is 48,794.
In terms of employment land, an extension to Cambridge Biomedical Campus is envisaged – one of four sites to be released from the green belt – while growth at Babraham Research Campus is planned and already envisaged at the Wellcome Genome Campus.
The councils, working together as the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service, say reducing emissions, maximising biodiversity and enhancing green spaces are key themes in their Local Plan, with flood risk, transport and heritage impacts among other factors taken into account in drafting the site list.
Sites that will be close to good public transport links and within walking and cycling distance of local destinations and services have been prioritised to minimise future car use.
Cllr Katie Thornburrow, executive member for planning and transport at Labour-led Cambridge City Council, said: “We have listened carefully to what we were told during our consultation in 2020 and our planners have taken up the challenge to be as ambitious about dealing with the climate crisis as we can be, within the wider constraints set by central government.
“We want to use land carefully and wisely – building on as small an area as we can, so we can boost the amount of land managed for nature and take steps to increase our biodiversity. Before we go further, we want to hear what residents think about the choice of sites, when public consultation starts in November.”
Cllr Dr Tumi Hawkins, lead member for planning at Liberal Democrat-run South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “These first proposals are a serious response to protecting our climate and rural environment while providing for our housing needs now and in the future. In my view, this is the greenest Local Plan we have ever put forward.
“Our planners have set a high bar for what makes a site right for development – they considered nearly 900 sites, and have chosen only 19.
“The government requires us to meet the number of new homes that the evidence is showing us are needed. If we do not, the plan may not be signed off by the government’s planning inspectors, and we may end up having to accept developers’ proposals for homes in locations that could harm the environment. And without planning for homes where and when they are needed, we will see increases in house prices, rent and pollution as people will have to travel further. These proposals aim to achieve a greener way of living.”
But Mr Browne warned: “This is the worst nightmare for residents of South Cambridgeshire, who fear losing their quality of life. South Cambridgeshire District Council’s leaders are accelerating housebuilding to the point where they will concrete over much of the district.”
Look out for further reaction - and see more in-depth coverage and analysis in this week’s Cambridge Independent, out now.
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