Interactive: Where, when and how to have your say on Greater Cambridge Local Plan, covering 48,794 homes and 19 new developments
Residents are now able to have your say on the first proposals for the 20-year Greater Cambridge Local Plan.
A six-week consultation on the first proposals for the plan is under way and runs until 5pm on December 13, inviting residents, businesses and groups to help shape the development of the area to 2041.
Online and in-person events are taking place - listed in full below, with links - to enable residents to discuss the detail directly with council officers. Comments on the full plan can be made online.
The plan is the formal planning blueprint for the region, which will guide the development of homes and commercial space in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire.
Some 37,198 of the 48,794 homes in the plan are already in the pipeline from the last Local Plan. But there are also 19 new developments envisaged, adding the remaining 11,596 homes, including at North East Cambridge, Cambridge Airport and Cambourne.
These additions have proved controversial, with South Cambridgeshire’s Conservative MP Anthony Browne arguing the extra homes envisaged go beyond what the government requires of the region and threaten to “concrete over” the landscape.
But the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service - which brings together Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council - argues that it has a duty to assess demand, and the region’s high level of jobs growth means we must plan for more housing than the minimum standard enshrined in government policies.
Failing to provide sufficient homes would lead to an increase in long-distance commuting and more expensive housing, planners argue.
Cllr Katie Thornburrow (Lab, Petersfield), executive councillor for planning policy and transport at Cambridge City Council, said: “This stage is critical in setting the direction of travel for the new plan, so we want to hear from everyone about whether we’ve got it right so far.
“We know our area faces some big challenges in the future, but also has great opportunities to reduce our carbon emissions and increase the quality of everyday life for our communities.
“We want new development to provide affordable housing, affordable business space and better community facilities alongside reducing congestion, pollution and carbon emissions. We think that our proposals can achieve this – but we need your input to make them even better.”
In an initial ‘conversation’ on the Local Plan, climate change was the top public priority. New homes that have not already passed through the planning process will need to be carbon neutral.
The first proposals that are out for consultation state that new homes must generate as much renewable energy as they demand over the course of a year. No new homes will be connected to the gas grid and all new buildings – domestic or otherwise – must have a space heating demand of 15-20 kWh per meter squared per year
The policy also demands developments of 150 homes or more and non-residential development of 1,000 square metres or more must calculate whole life carbon emissions, taking into account emissions associated with construction.
Cllr Dr Tumi Hawkins (Lib Dem, Caldecote), lead cabinet member for planning at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “The new Local Plan is not just about jobs and homes, but recognises the urgency of addressing climate change.
“It puts forward bold proposals for new green spaces, low-carbon design standards and much more. It looks to a future where we have doubled the amount of land managed to nature, and where development generates as much energy as it consumes through renewable sources.
“This is a long-term plan and it will have a big effect on everyday life for people growing up and living in the area over the next twenty years. We hope that everyone will share their feedback on our proposals, so we can shape a plan that works for the next generation and beyond.”
The councils have said the area could only accommodate 48,794 new homes if sufficient investment is made by central government and water companies to improve water supplies in what is one of the driest areas of the country. New reservoirs are expected to be needed to support the new development. Failure to act in time, the councils say, means the number of homes would be reduced.
That, however, is exactly what Mr Browne wants to see.
He points out that his constituency would shoulder the overwhelming burden of the proposed development, with 34,772 (or 71 per cent) of the new homes planned for South Cambridgeshire at sites such as Waterbeach, Northstowe, Bourn and Cambourne.
Speaking in the House of Commons, he said this was 53 per cent more house building than the government requires and would double the amount of house building.
Responding, housing minister Christopher Pincher said the government welcomed “ambitious local authorities” but confirmed local authorities have “an absolute responsibility to set their own housing targets”.
The level of house-building – and the locations – are sure to feature prominently in the consultation.
Meanwhile, two more consultations – from the Greater Cambridge Partnership and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority – are examining transport issues, including moves to improve public transport, encourage cycling and cutting car use.
Visit greatercambridgeplanning.org/localplan to see the plan, respond and for details of events.
Inside the new Local Plan first proposals
37,198 homes are planned for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire between now and 2041 under existing Local Plans adopted back in 2018
The plan also envisages:
- 3,900 new homes at North East Cambridge, on and near the site of the current waste water treatment plant
- 2,950 new homes at Cambridge East (the airport site);
- an additional 1,950 new homes at Cambourne at unspecified location, due to the uncertainty of the location for the new East West Rail stop
- Bringing forward development at Waterbeach new town and Northstowe at a faster rate
- Adding 1,000 new homes at Eddington, on the land already allocated for development;
- Six additional village sites, totalling 384 homes;
- One additional site in central Cambridge for 20 homes.
- North East Cambridge, Cambridge East and potentially Cambourne are described as long-term proposals which could be further developed beyond 2041
Online and in-person events
- Wednesday 10 November, 6-8pm: Local Plan team will be attending Cambridge East Community Forum
- Thursday 11 November, 12-1pm: Online event: Explore the sites and spatial strategy. Join via Zoom, passcode 390946.
- Thursday 11 November, 4-7pm: In-person drop-in event: Clay Farm community centre
- Saturday 13 November, 10am-1pm: In-person drop-in event: Melbourn Hub
- Wednesday 17 November, 5-6pm: Online event: Climate change and water. Join via Zoom, passcode 643381.
- Wednesday 17 November, 6pm: Local Plan team will be attending North West and West Cambridge Community Forum
- Thursday 18 November, 4.30-7.30pm: In-person drop-in event: Cambourne Hub
- Thursday 18 November, 6.30pm: Local Plan team will be attending North Area Committee
- Friday 19 November, 10am-12pm: Local Plan team will be attending Abbey People community coffee morning, Barnwell Hub
- Saturday 20 November, 10am-12pm: In-person drop-in event: Barnwell Hub
- Wednesday 24 November, 12-1pm: Online event: Biodiversity and green spaces. Join via Zoom, passcode 482734.
- Wednesday 24 November, 6pm, Local Plan team will be attending A428 Development Cluster meeting.
- Thursday 25 November, 12-1pm: Online event: North East Cambridge: the Area Action Plan and the Local Plan. Join via Zoom, passcode 400405.
- Thursday 25 November, 3-7pm: In-person drop-in event: Arbury Community Centre
- Thursday 25 November, 6.30pm: Local Plan team will be attending West Central Area Committee
- Saturday 27 November, 9am-12pm: In-person drop-in event: Great Shelford Farmers Market
- Monday 29 November, 7pm: Local Plan team will be attending South Area Committee
- Thursday 2 December, 6.30pm: Local Plan team will be attending East Area Committee