A Cambridge City Council website

Cambridge City Council

Council and democracy

Home > Council and Democracy > Agenda item

Agenda item

Greater Cambridge Local Plan: Preferred Options (Regulation 18) – For consultation


Matter for Decision

The First Proposals (Preferred Options) represented the next stage in the preparation of the Greater Cambridge Local Plan being jointly prepared by Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council. It was proposed the public consultation would take place between 1 November and 13 December 2021.


Decision of the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport.

  i.  Agreed the Greater Cambridge Local Plan: First Proposals (preferred options) (Regulation 18) (Appendix A) for public consultation;

  ii.  Noted the First Proposals Sustainability Appraisal (Appendix B) and Habitats Regulations Assessment (Appendix C) and agreed them as supporting documents to the First Proposals that would also be subject to public consultation;

  iii.  Agreed the following supporting documents to the public consultation: (a) Topic papers for each theme (Appendix D) (b) Statement of Consultation, including the Councils’ consideration of and responses to representations received to the Issues and Options consultation 2020 (Appendix E); (c) Duty to Cooperate Statement of Compliance (Appendix F); (d) Draft Duty to Cooperate Statement of Common Ground (attached at Appendix G) (e) Equalities Impact Assessment (Appendix H);

  iv.  Agreed the findings of the following background document that informed the First Proposals and was proposed to accompany the public consultation: (a) Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (Appendix I and errata at appendix J);

  v.  Noted the findings of the following background documents that have informed the First Proposals and are proposed to accompany the public consultation (see Background documents to this report): (a) Greater Cambridge Local Plan: First Conversation (issues and options) (Regulation 18) data release published September 2020 (b) Interim Evidence published in November 2020 (c) New Evidence published August 2021; 6. Agree that any subsequent material amendments be made by the Lead Member for Planning Policy in Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council, in consultation with respective Chairs and Spokes;

  vi.  Agreed that any subsequent minor amendments and editing changes that do not materially affect the content be delegated to the Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development in consultation with the Lead Member for Planning Policy in Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council, in consultation with respective Chairs and Spokes.


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable


Scrutiny Considerations

The Joint Director of Planning Policy and Economic Development introduced the Officer’s presentation which outlined the first proposals and where the project was in the process.


Following a detailed presentation from the Planning Policy Manager and the Engagement and Communication Lead Officer, the following responses were given to Members’ questions. The questions were taken under four headings:


Needs and Numbers

  i.  Affordable housing (AH) was a key element to the Plan; it was important to maximise delivery of AH through the Plan.

  ii.  If the number of homes calculated were not provided this could increase commuting into Cambridge as the jobs in the City increased and would put pressure on accommodation costs.

  iii.  The job market in Cambridge was extremely successful which brought both benefits and disbenefits, increased commuting, a scarcity of housing for those working in Cambridge which impacted the rising cost of housing.

  iv.  The Climate Change Study had stressed the importance of homes being located appropriately for jobs in the city to reduce the volume of long-distance commuting.

  v.  A complex modelling exercise had been undertaken to quantify the growth of the job market; it sought to identify those sectors/jobs which would continue to draw people into Cambridge and who needed to be housed in locations that provided good access to those jobs. This would also address the quality of life issues which have been highlighted in the emerging Plan.

  vi.  Noted the comment that on p345 the reference ‘200,000 vehicles crossing the boundary every day’, should be 200,000 vehicle movements crossing the boundary every day.

 vii.  The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) defines sustainable development to included economic, social, and environmental considerations. Therefore, the emerging Plan needed to look at delivery of the governments definition of sustainable development which meant it did not just look at the housing need but had to look at the economic needs of the area for the Plan to be found sound.

viii.  The price/cost of workspaces in Cambridge had increased significantly which had an impact on small and local businesses as well as large companies.

  ix.  Within the emerging Local Plan, a flexible supply of employment land had been allocated, whether for multinational or local businesses. It was important to ensure that small local businesses were not priced out of the market.

  x.  Noted the comment there was an increased chance of achieving the goal of 40% affordable housing in the urban extension than adding new homes into new settlements.

  xi.  Work had been undertaken to try to determine the trajectory of water consumption; a wider water resource management plan for the region is being prepared which was expected to identify long and shorter term measures for supplementing or changing the existing supply arrangements  - in recognition of the impact upon the chalk streams that existing abstraction was having.

 xii.  The Environment Agency were due to review the abstraction licences for Cambridge Water from the aquifer as part of the regional water planning process.

xiii.  There was a regional planning process to address water issues and a Water Resources Management Plan was due to be published next year. This timeline meant that Officers would be aware of the outcome of the process of that Plan before the more formal stages of the emerging Plan were concluded.

xiv.  While consideration had been given to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review (CPIER), the emerging Plan did not seek to provide for the economic growth rates referred to in that plan but followed its recommendation and  was informed by additional evidence considering the need for homes and jobs in the Greater Cambridge area;

xv.  Officers would advise what the split of the 20,000 office and industrial positions were from the 58,500 jobs created during the Plan period outside of the meeting. 


Proposed sites and green space

  i.  The definition of sites referenced as the ‘edge of Cambridge’ and the ‘city of Cambridge’ followed the Issues and Options Consultation which had categorised site by location. When viewing the digital map of the emerging Plan the locality of these sites would be clearer to the reader.

  ii.  When viewing the Plan digitally the reader would be able to search by area.

  iii.  With reference to the BioMedical Campus Policy S/CBC, noted the comment that the proposal submitted through the call for sites from  landowners, from Jesus College, St John’s College, Pembroke, and Cambridgeshire County Council.

  iv.  The Plan identified an appropriate windfall allowance within the Cambridge area and South Cambridgeshire area; these figures had been determined by a housing delivery study.

  v.  The annual monitoring report published by the Council highlighted locations of sites and anticipated sites which would be brought forward including windfall sites. The data which showed the completion of sites could be found through the annual survey. With this data it would be possible to undertake further tracking of assumptions around the windfall sites and the cumulative impact as it was important to understand the infrastructure needs.

  vi.  Noted the comment there was no reference to cumulative impact under the banner of health and wellbeing.

 vii.  Noted the suggestion the CBC Addenbrookes site would come under greater scrutiny for use of the green belt.

viii.  The issue of open spaces would continue to be looked at throughout the Plan process; it was important to get the right balance between off site contributions towards green open spaces

  ix.  There was a policy proposal which would ensure a good level of self-builds would be provided.

  x.  Noted the recommendation that the needs of Gypsy, Romany, and Travellers needed to be accommodated. Currently an assessment was being undertaken regarding this matter; permanent provision and / or temporary space would be investigated based on the needs collated from the results.

  xi.  The delivery study explored issues such a market absorbency, market trends, and current issues in the area; these would be considered when determining if the sites could be delivered at a faster rate.

 xii.  Central Government had a substantial stake in the two sites identified in the Plan for faster delivery. The Council’s expected to engage with Homes England on the matter of new/additional tenures and at ways in which more accessible housing could be delivered. 

xiii.  The Housing Strategy would also explore the ongoing issues around the delivery of affordable housing and the build to rent properties.


Environmental issues – policies

  i.  Noted the advice that it would be helpful to provide additional information on article 4 directions (which can add additional controls for changes of use that do not otherwise require planning permission) regarding retail centres, so the public have a greater understanding of the meaning of article 4.

  ii.  Noted the suggestion the wording on the section regarding retail centres could be changed from Cambridge city centre and village centres to local centres within the city.

  iii.  The people and place responsive design did highlight community engagement to inform design decisions and would look to develop this point further. 

  iv.  Believed the Plan did take a strong and innovative approach regarding visitor accommodation but noted the comments regarding better control of short term lets.

  v.  Work would begin on the statement of consultation for the plan which would address community engagement.

  vi.  The digital glossary would allow the reader to click on a word such as neighbourhood plan or article 4 and an explanation of the term would appear.

 vii.  As part of the consultation, residents would be welcome to put forward policy suggestions to be carried over from the existing plan or new policies for consideration.


Resilience/ structures to support the plan

  i.  Believed that through evidence and engagement work to date, the Council was in a good position to understand the infrastructure and collateral requirements required as part of the Plan process with those external agencies who would assist with delivery.

  ii.  It was important to recognise the issues of working with external agencies, such as utilities companies, or external partnerships such as the Greater Cambridge Partnership, to ensure the growth strategy could be met by all involved or whether due to the level of growth had to be rethought.

  iii.  Through the independent examination process the deliverability of the plan would be tested.

  iv.  The emerging Plan related to several internal and external documents which could be used as an evidence-based document when speaking to Central Government.

  v.  The 10% buffer included in the number of new homes to the year 2041 would allow flexibility and safeguarding of supply.

  vi.  Officers would be exploring whether it was possible to seek agreement with Central Government for greater flexibility over issues such as  the 5-year housing land supply (as Oxfordshire had done as part of the housing and growth deal for their area). This discussion could be progressed with government as part of the ongoing work surrounding the Oxford-Cambridge Arc Spatial Framework.

 vii.  The Plan would be accompanied by a viability assessment. Such an assessment had been carried out at this current stage which had demonstrated that the proposals were reasonably viable. Polices and standards were developing which would be fed into the viability assessment for further work.

viii.  Noted the conversation around resilience from the utility companies, climate change resilience and the wish to expand on community resilience in the Plan.

  ix.  Would investigate whether it was possible to take out the word ‘options’ from the title Greater Cambridge Local Plan: Preferred Options (Regulation 18) – For consultation.

  x.  Noted the point that it needed to be clearer that approximately 11,500 homes were required for the new plan; 37,000 homes were existing commitments.


The Committee

Resolved unanimously to endorse the recommendations as set out in the Officer’s report.


The Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport approved the recommendations and congratulated Officers on their efforts to produce such outstanding work.


Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any

Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.


Supporting documents: