Cambridgeshire Local Plan Watch - Spring 2021

28.3.21 3 MINUTE READ


There are efforts to make Cambridgeshire and Peterborough more connected and to spread the economic success of Cambridge across the county. As a growth area, it continues to receive central government commitment for significant infrastructure improvements. With investment, there is an expectation for growth and for Local Plans to spearhead it. The ongoing Local Plan process will start to show if individual authorities share overarching economic aspirations.


Key highlights

  • Oxford-Cambridge Arc Spatial Framework – The Government has released a policy paper on its Arc Spatial Framework; a cross-boundary planning document that is set to steer the development strategy across the defined Arc area of 23 authorities. Cambridgeshire lies at the east end of the Arc. The preparation of the Greater Cambridgeshire Local Plan and the Arc Spatial Framework are set to run in parallel, with the Local Plan preparation having to respond to the Arc Framework and its direction on infrastructure, housing and jobs.

  • Carbon – Sustainability is at the fore of planning decision taking. While sustainability is a wide-ranging term, the focus has become carbon. Long-term Local Plan decisions are set to be made with a heavy consideration to carbon impacts and achieving a net-zero carbon community before 2050. The Local Plan agenda is set to support those site promotions that can demonstrate a beneficial carbon impact.

  • Transport Infrastructure – Cambridgeshire continues to be a place for investment into transport infrastructure, but with a move away from road capacity to supporting more sustainable modes of transport. Greater Cambridge released a number of interim Local Plan background documents at the end of 2020, one of which looks at the potential impact of developments on carbon; it finds that the associated transport has the greatest impact by some margin. Those areas receiving sustainable transport improvements may well be the corridors to see notable Local Plan growth allocated.

Cambridge City

The Local Plan for Cambridge was adopted on 18 October 2018 and covers the period until 2031.

The council is now preparing a joint Local Plan with South Cambridgeshire District Council. See section on Greater Cambridge for further detail.

South Cambridgeshire

The Local Plan for South Cambridgeshire was adopted on 27 September 2018 and covers the period until 2031.

The situation is the same as for Cambridge City as the two councils are preparing a joint Local Plan. See section on Greater Cambridge for further detail.

Greater Cambridge

Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District has become one shared planning service under the banner of Greater Cambridge.

The councils are now preparing a joint Local Plan. An Issues and Options public consultation, also referred to as the ‘First Conversation’ consultation, ran for six weeks in January and February 2020. The Councils have now published all the submissions received, together with a set of initial reports including a Sustainability Appraisal. The councils will publish their full assessment of the sites as part of the Preferred Option consultation due in Summer/Autumn 2021.

An updated Local Development Scheme was adopted in July 2020, and the key stages are summarised below.

  • Preferred Options Consultation (Reg 18) - Summer/Autumn 2021
  • Draft Plan Consultation (Reg 18) - Summer 2022
  • Proposed Submission Consultation (Reg 19) – Spring 2023 or autumn/winter 2023 (two potential scenarios)
  • Submission to Secretary of State (Reg 22) – Autumn 2023 or spring 2024 (two potential scenarios)

The Council’s timetable reflects two potential scenarios for the later stages of the plan making process (from 2022 onwards), due to the unknowns around the current complexity and uncertainty to the delivery and timescales of a number of major infrastructure proposals being developed in the area (the relocation of the Milton Waste Water Treatment Plant in North East Cambridge, East West Rail and the Mayor’s proposal for Cambridge Autonomous Metro (CAM).

In broad terms it is likely to be into 2025 that the emerging Local Plan will become adopted along with any land allocation contained within it.


The Fenland Local Plan was adopted on 8 May 2014 and covers the period from 2011-2031.

An emerging Local Plan is currently under preparation, with an Issues and Options consultation having taken place from October/November 2019. A Call for Sites exercise was held as part of this consultation, including nominations of Local Green Spaces and views on the Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report.

The Stage 1 SHELAA Report (Strategic Housing & Economic Land Availability Assessment) sets out all site submissions received during the Call for Sites exercise, and other available sites such as existing Local Plan allocations and major sites with planning permission. At this stage, no assessment has been carried out to determine the suitability of submitted sites. The findings of the site assessment process will be set out in a 'Stage 2' SHELAA report, which will be published alongside the draft Local Plan. The council's preferred sites will be included in the draft version of the Local Plan.

An updated Local Development Scheme was adopted in July 2020. The draft Local Plan consultation (Regulation 18) is now scheduled to take place in Spring 2021, with the adoption of the Local Plan scheduled for November 2022.


Huntingdonshire’s Local Plan to 2036 was adopted on the 15 May 2019 and is not expected to be subject to an early review.

East Cambridgeshire

East Cambridgeshire District Council is undertaking a Single Issue Review of the 2015 Local Plan to provide an update to the housing requirements set out under Policy GROWTH1.

At present, the council is not anticipating the need for any new site allocations.

The council is currently consulting on Stage 1 (Regulation 18) of the Single Issue Review. The consultation closes on the 7th May 2021. Once representations have been carefully considered from the Single Issue Review Stage 1 consultation, the Council will proceed to a further round of consultation setting out the precise proposed changes to the 2015 Local Plan. We anticipate that consultation to take place later in 2021. The Local Development Scheme October 2020 anticipates adoption in October 2023.

The council has recently adopted a new Climate Change SPD (published February 2021). and Natural Environment SPD (September 2020)


The Peterborough Local Plan to 2036 was adopted on 24 July 2019 and is not expected to be subject to an early review.

Peterborough would not be subject to transitional arrangements and would need to use the Proposed Standard Method figure as their starting point.

Under the Proposed Standard Method, the number of dwellings increases to 1,282dpa from 926dpa under current Standard Method.

The Housing Requirement set out in the Peterborough Local Plan 2019 is 971 dwellings per annum.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Non-Statutory Spatial Plan

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Non-Statutory Spatial Plan Part 2 is under preparation and was due to be published by now.

There is no formal position by the authority for when the delayed Part 2 may yet emerge. In any event, as a non-statutory document, there is no requirement for formal consultation, and it will not carry the status of a Development Plan Document.



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Alison leads multi-disciplinary teams in the preparation and submission of major, mixed-use development proposals, providing sound strategic planning advice from the start.

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Harriet enjoys planning for spaces and new settlements to meet the needs of a variety of people and in which communities and nature can thrive.

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