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Agenda item

Memorandum of Understanding Between Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire Council - Greater Cambridge Housing Trajectory


The Committee received a report from the Planning Policy Manager, South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) regarding the Memorandum of Understanding.


The report outlined the close functional relationship between Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire that has long been recognised in planning terms. Changes in circumstances since the submission of the Local Plans indicate that a Memorandum of Understanding between the Councils will demonstrate the soundness of the plans and is in accordance with the on-going duty to co-operate.


The Joint Strategic Transport and Spatial Planning Group (JST&SPG) was asked to consider a Memorandum of Understanding between Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council which confirms the agreement between the Councils. Comments made at this meeting would be then reported to both Councils


Councillor Kindersley sought clarification regarding how soon the Memorandum of Understanding would take effect and asked if it would work. He questioned how much lobbying of Ministers had taken place. He expressed concerns regarding what steps had been taken to protect the planned future development in the area and to protect that vision from opportunistic development.


The Planning Policy Manager responded and suggested that this was a ground breaking approach. However, it would not have an impact until it had been tested alongside the Local Plans. Legal advice had stated that a good case could be made for a joint approach.


Councillor Kindersley stated that he was disturbed that the Planning Inspectorate had not given a clearer steer on this matter. In addition he suggested that local members of Parliament should also be pressuring for urgent action. He suggested that relevant portfolio holders be asked to do what they could to influence the Planning Inspectorate to take on board the Memorandum of Understanding. He stated that they should highlight that this was time critical due to development plans in the pipeline.


Officers confirmed that the same inspector would be looking at both local plans. Officers stated that the Memorandum of Understanding would be incorporated into the relevant hearing statements for the examination and be presented at an early stage of the examination.


Councillor Wotherspoon suggested that the pre-hearing meeting should clarify priorities and the Inspector might bring forward housing supply matters and issue an interim statement. Ministerial recognition had already been given to this approach.


Councillor Herbert stated that there would be opportunities for dialogue with the Inspector. The Inspector needed to make judgements on the ability to meet housing needs.


In response to Members questions, officers confirmed that the boundaries with other authorities had been considered.


Councillor Kindersley expressed concerns that applications considered now, such as recent cases in Waterbeach, left the council in a position where they had no policy in place to support a rejection. Officers confirmed that the Inspector had been made aware of the need for urgent recognition of the Memorandum of Understanding.


Councillor Jenkins suggested that a more comprehensive list of actions was needed in order to be ready for the next steps.


Members agreed that the next step would be a public statement on the joint approach being adopted.


Resolved (unanimously)


Members considered the report and advised Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council that they:


Support the adoption of Memorandum of Understanding between Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council – Greater Cambridge Housing Trajectory as set out in Appendix 1 of the Officers report.

Supporting documents: