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Decision details

Cambridge Northern Fringe East

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Strategy and External Partnerships

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No


To approve the establishment of a joint venture with Anglian Water to drive the relocation of the Cambridge Water Recycling Centre and the subsequent development.

To note the update on the progress of the project and the appointment of the Master Developer for the site

To note the update on the Housing Infrastructure Fund bid proposal and to delegate submission of the business case for the bid to the Strategic Director in consultation with the Exec Cllr.


Matter for Decision

The Officer’s report provided an update on the current status of the Cambridge Northern Fringe East and proposals for the site and to recommend next step actions.


Decision of the Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources

i.  Noted the current status of the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) bid, the continued engagement with Homes England and wider partners on the development of the business case, and the intention to submit a business case in December 2018, with the expectation of receiving a final outcome decision in early 2019.

ii.  Approved the appointment of the preferred bidder, U&I, as the Master Developer for the core site, subject to final contracting as referred in 2.3.

iii.  Approved the establishment of a joint venture with Anglian Water, in line with the confidential draft heads of terms appended to this report in Appendix 4

iv.  Delegated to the Strategic Director, in consultation with the Exec Cllr and in line with legal and financial advice:

a. Approval of the final Joint Venture Agreement

b. Subsequent approval of the Master Development Agreement with U&I

c. The development and submission of the business case for HIF funding

d. The progression, in line with the MDA requirements, of the development of a business plan covering the core site within six months of the contract being awarded.

v.  Noted the timescales related to the HIF funding, and the progression of the associated planning framework with SCDC and the proposed consent route, which require agreement with the local planning authorities and partners as to the appropriate arrangements to meet the timescales involved.

vi.  Noted that all contractual commitments to the MDA and Joint Venture Agreement at this stage are only approved subject to the HIF outcome.

vii.  Agreed to provide a further progress report to this Committee following final confirmation of the HIF outcome.


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.


Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Strategic Director.


The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

  i.  Noted the division of roles that the council had, one as a developer and the other as a decision maker for planning applications and asked for assurances that there would be a clear separation between the two roles. 

  ii.  Asked what the relationship was between the Area Action Plan (AAP) and the Masterplan for the site.

  iii.  Asked if there were any clawback arrangements regarding the HIF bid if it was successful.

  iv.  Asked if the Council had considered what would happen if the Water Recycling Centre could not be relocated.

  v.  Asked if a planning application could be submitted to underpin the HIF application.

  vi.  Asked when a ‘plan B’ option for the development of the area around the Water Recycling Centre site would be taken forward if the HIF bid was not successful.

 vii.  Asked what the costs would be for the council if the HIF bid was unsuccessful.


The Strategic Director said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The Council was mindful of its role as part-landowner and the County Council would be the local planning authority for any future application to move the water treatment works. The Council would work with all parties involved to ensure the most appropriate development was brought forward on the site.

  ii.  The AAP set the framework for the large development area and brought all the landowners and developers together. The Masterplan would be developed alongside the AAP to bring specific development with the AAP area forward.

  iii.  The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) stated in their expression of interest and business case documentation that the grant was not provided freely, there were levels of uplift and how this would be utilised. 

  iv.  There was a level of risk with the work being put into the HIF bid that it may not be successful, however the quality of the work that had gone into the bid was hoped to be good enough to ensure a successful outcome.

  v.  A planning application could not be submitted to accompany the HIF bid because this required a site for the relocation of the water recycling centre to be identified and this piece of work (identification of a preferred site) was currently being undertaken.

  vi.  Commented that if the HIF bid was not successful then there would be no funding available to relocate the water recycling centre. It was understood that the water recycling centre did not need to relocate as it had sufficient capacity on site to be able to upgrade its facilities when / if the time arose.

 vii.  Had tried to reduce the amount of costs for the HIF bid for example some of the work was undertaken in-house for example the OJEU process and legal agreements had been put in place that were conditional upon a successful HIF bid.


The Executive Councillor for Strategy and External Partnerships commented that:

  i.  He commended the work that had been done by the Strategic Director and her team, Anglian Water, South Cambridgeshire District Council the Combined Authority and other partners. Half a million pounds had been budgeted for the work undertaken on the project this year. He wanted to ensure that the MHCLG worked to the projects timescales and provided a decision on the HIF bid by February 2019 so that the city council did not spend money un-necessarily. The Water Recycling Centre site was a brownfield site which had complications however it was hoped to build 40% affordable housing on the site which equated to approximately 2000 houses.


The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.


The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.


Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.



Publication date: 05/04/2019

Date of decision: 08/10/2018