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Greater Cambridge Local Plan Inception and Joint Planning & Transport Advisory Group Terms of Reference

12/09/2019 - Greater Cambridge Local Plan Inception and Joint Planning & Transport Advisory Group Terms of Reference.

Matter for Decision


To agree the terms of reference for the proposed Joint Planning & Transport Advisory Group.


Decision of Executive Councilor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces


  i.  Noted information regarding the inception of the Local Plan.

  ii.  Agreed the terms of reference for the proposed Joint Planning & Transport Advisory Group as outlined in Appendix A (amended).

  iii.  Agreed that Cambridge City Council representation on the Joint Planning & Transport Advisory Group should comprise two nominations from the Labour group and one from the Liberal Democrat group.


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 Strategy & Economy Manager.


The report referred to the proposed Joint Planning & Transport Advisory Group: a non-decision making joint member group intended to facilitate the development of a shared policy understanding to allow the timely preparation of the new Greater Cambridge Local Plan, coordinated with transport policy.


The Committee was informed of the following amendments to the terms of reference (additional text underlined and deleted text struck through).


Joint Local Planning and Transport Advisory Group Draft Terms of Reference



The Group is non decision-making and will offer a steer at Member level for the development of land use plans, and integrated with transport strategy. It will meet in public. The group will facilitate cooperation between the authorities and better decision making through the relevant processes.


The Group will report its recommendations to the respective Local Planning Authorities, for decision-making to be completed through each Council’s existing democratic processes.



The group will provide efficient and effective coordination of spatial planning including land use and integrated transport strategy for the Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire districts.


The group will provide opportunity for three-way discussion on other strategic and cross-boundary issues, at the discretion of the Chair in discussion with Vice Chairs.


The group will provide high level oversight of the Greater Cambridge growth strategy. There will be liaison with bordering authorities when appropriate.



The outcomes from the group will be:

(a)  to ensure facilitate a shared policy position that will allow the timely development of the new Greater Cambridge Local Plan, coordinated/integrated with transport policy; and


(b) to ensure facilitate a shared policy position that will allow the timely development of other key planning policy and transport documents within the Greater Cambridge area.



The group will consist of three Members from each of Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, and one from Cambridgeshire County Council. The membership of the group will be determined by each authority.


Each authority should also nominate substitutes should the core participants not be able to attend particular meetings.


Frequency of meetings

Every two months or as necessary, hosted on a rotating basis.





The secretariat for the group will be provided by either Cambridge City Council or SCDC South Cambridgeshire District Council. The Chairman and Vice-Chairman will be from Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council and will alternate annually.


Chairmanship and vice chairmanship will be determined each year on the anniversary of the first meeting.


Winding Up of the Group

The Group will be wound up by any one of the following means:


(a)  (i) five years from today’s date; or


(iiib) adoption of the Greater Cambridge Local Plan by the authorities, with no other Development Plan Documents still in preparation;


(cb) on withdrawal from the Advisory Group of by one of Cambridge City Council or South Cambridgeshire District Council; or


(de) on a simple majority vote by Members of the Advisory Group.


The Committee unanimously agreed the amendments.


In response to Members questions the Strategy & Economy Manager said the following:

  i.  Would look at the wording of the winding up of the group.

  ii.  Advice had been taken on the political proportionality from both of the  democratic services teams.

  iii.  The make-up of the JLPAG was comparable to the Joint Strategic Transport and Spatial Planning Group (expired) in preparation of the last separate but aligned Local Plan and Area Action Plans; both local authorities had rejected the suggestion of a statutory joint committee.

  iv.  Officers had found the previous JSTSPG to be very useful as there was a close relationship between the historical city of Cambridge (Cambridge City Council) and the surrounding area (South Cambridgeshire District Council).

  v.  The JLPAG was intended to provide an opportunity for both councils to meet in advance of their formal decision making meeting; members could identity issues which affected each local authority, and suggest a way forward before their relevant decision making meeting. This should allow a resolution in the decision making meeting and reduce the need for decisions to be taken away outside of the meeting under delegated authority.

  vi.  The first stage of the new Greater Cambridge Local Plan would be for members to look at a draft issues and options document. If the document was brought to each local authority separately it would be only natural to heavily focus on their relevant geographical areas; the JLPAG would allow the documents to be looked at holistically as a whole.

 vii.  The JLPAG would vote on a recommendation which would be taken to each local authority’s decision making meeting; JLPAG representatives would be present with the benefit of knowing what the other council’s view were.

viii.  It was the gift of both local authorities to determine if representatives from the County Council should sit on the advisory group.

  ix.  It was the task of the officers to undertake the technical work and development of documents. It was not unusual to have a high-level officer group assisting those officers working on these documents.

  x.  A joint high-level officer group comprising representatives of both councils, Greater Cambridge Partnership, Cambridgeshire County Council and the Combined Authority had been set up and would meet on a monthly basis to help steer the development of the forthcoming Local Plan. Ultimately it is Members who make the decisions.


The Committee endorsed the Officer recommendations with amendments by 8 votes to 0.


The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations as amended.


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


No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.


* Committee Managers Note: There has been a minor amendment to the JLPAG terms of reference as recommended by the South Cambridgeshire District Council Portfolio Holder and agreed by the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy & Open Spaces on 13 August 2019..


The change can be seen under the title Purpose of the attached document: last paragraph/sentence: There will be liaison with bordering authorities when appropriate. The word bordering to be changed to "neighbouring authorities and other relevant bodies".