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Planning towards 100,000 new homes and 90,000 new jobs by 2036

By OPINION | Lewis Herbert

Cllr Lewis Herbert, the leader of Cambridge City Council. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cllr Lewis Herbert, the leader of Cambridge City Council. Picture: Keith Heppell

The Labour leader of Cambridge City Council writes for the Cambridge Independent

Cllr Lewis Herbert. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cllr Lewis Herbert. Picture: Keith Heppell

The new Cambridgeshire and Peterborough strategic spatial framework considered for adoption by the Combined Authority last week is the first plan for our wider geography for more than 15 years.

While non-statutory, it provides an integrated future, joined-up strategy for housing, transport, sustainable economic growth and environmental protection. It is also a key step towards achieving the Combined Authority and council ambition for 100,000 new homes and 90,000 new jobs by 2036.

It will enable councils across our geography to work together to rebalance growth – which is over-concentrated in Greater Cambridge – and to assist disadvantaged areas including in the north of Cambridgeshire share in that prosperity, as well as develop their communities and economy.

A separate transport delivery plan brings together all of the major transport projects taking place across the area, including a focus on the pipeline of projects to be funded by the Combined Authority, the Greater Cambridge Partnership and others, given how critical improving north/south and east/west connectivity is.

Strategic planning was seriously damaged by the Coalition government in 2010, including with the demise of the valuable East of England plan and county structure plans, but it is clear from Treasury and the most recent batch of national plans on housing delivery that it is rightly back as a central tool in getting the right development, and this plan fills that gap and supports our case for continued additional national infrastructure investment here.

The plan shows that more than 60 per cent of the 100,000 new homes planned for our area will be delivered via larger strategic sites, of 1,000 or more homes, which means we need to give very careful consideration not only to the infrastructure serving those sites, but also how they connect to the wider area to ensure we create healthy, thriving and prosperous communities.

Creating large new settlements needs thorough planning and full resourcing to ensure that successful communities result.

This plan contains significant disadvantage analysis and data, enabling the Combined Authority to better focus on those parts of the area that are not thriving, where economic opportunities and quality of life are not what they should be.

Cllr Lewis Herbert. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cllr Lewis Herbert. Picture: Keith Heppell

Strategic planning and team working will ensure that all parts of our area gain a fairer share of prosperity, with inclusive growth that is spread and rebalanced across our geography. This also underlines the central role of quality “social infrastructure” – making the case for proper funding for public services, health and high performing education from pre-school to 19-year-olds and beyond across our area, particularly to give deprived communities the fresh energy and positivism they need to thrive.

The Combined Authority can then support growth plans in an evidenced manner, focusing tactical investments and pressure on Government to maximise total benefit to the area.

High quality development matters in the future and we are also determined to work with councils to help shape the next generation of local plans, with an ambition to deliver on 5Cs – “community, connectivity, character, climate change and cohesion/inclusivity”.

A sound planning principle core is planned with an updated ‘Cambridgeshire Quality Charter for Growth’. Its value now will be even more important to ensure successful and sustainable future development and larger settlements than it has been for the last decade.

Other issues addressed include obstacles on development viability and land value capture, on deficits in utility, water and telecommunications provision, and critical linkages to linking growth to districts in our surrounding counties.

In phase two, the Combined Authority will engage with partner councils and wider stakeholders to develop a longer-term sustainable growth framework beyond 2030 to 2050, by December 2018.

This will integrate with work by the Independent Economic Commission and council planning teams to look beyond current local plans. This will mesh the contributions of key partners our area’s future needs and ambitions, and make full use of Government policy and support and national investment.

You can download the full plan, and related transport delivery plan on the Combined Authority website.

And, if you have any comments on the document, please email contactus@cambridgeshire peterborough-ca.gov.uk.


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