Cambridgeshire Local Plan Watch - Autumn 2023

01.11.23 2 MINUTE READ

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Cambridge has been highlighted by Michael Gove as Europe’s science capital in his speech on 24 July 2023. His Cambridge 2040 Vision includes a new urban quarter, increased supply of homes and the creation of more R&D space, but what is the scale of opportunity?

Peter Freeman, chair of Homes England, has been appointed to lead the Cambridge Delivery Group to scope a plan to meet the Cambridge 2040 Vision. Meetings are being held in Cambridge with local leaders, officers, statutory providers, institutions, and private sector representatives to discuss the key issues. We anticipate his work will inform the Chancellors Autumn Statement on 22 November in which we anticipate Cambridge will figure prominently. It is a significant step forward on the Government’s promise to make the UK a science superpower by 2030 as discussed at the Creating a Scientific Superpower Conference in June 2023. We think this will dovetail with a revised NPPF and updated PPG  in which we hope to see the Spring budget emphasis on meeting R&D needs, including the need for additional laboratory space, and help local authorities take fuller account of the commercial land needs of businesses and better plan for inward and high value investment come to fruition.

Gove also discusses a “Sustainable Transport Network” to tackle congestion in his speech. Although there is a lot of work in the region around improved  sustainable transport corridors and travel hubs, in October, the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Making Connections group halted proposals for a Sustainable Travel Zone due to lack of political consensus. Additionally, budget constraints have led to the pausing of two projects: Foxton Travel Hub and Phase Two of the Cambridge Southeast Transport project.

Water supply is another current issue for the county. Cambridge Water has now published its Revised Draft Water resources Management Plan 2024 which can be found here. This outlines the plans for potable water and a strategic solution for water management. The plan prioritises demand management through a reduction in leakage and consumption but also includes alternative supply options to reduce the amount abstracted from chalk aquifers. These include time limited transfers, a new regional reservoir and transfers and effluent re-use.

The Greater Cambridge Local Plan, especially the related North East Cambridge Area Action Plan, are currently held up while a decision is awaited about the relocation of the Waste Water Treatment Works for which a DCO (Development Consent Order) has been submitted. If the DCO is successful, this will free up a strategic area of land for a new urban quarter.

There are planning applications coming forward for new R&D development in Cambridge, but demand continues to massively outstrip supply. 

Five Year Land Supply

The Housing Delivery Test latest figures do not give any immediate opportunities in the area, a product of earlier five year housing supply deficits giving way to developments that are now coming through the system, allied with a long-awaited strategy for new settlements to deliver new homes. 

The relocation of the Cambridge Waste Water Treatment Works would provide land for more than 5,600 new homes and one million square feet of commercial space. Examination of the Development Consent Order began on 17 October 2023 and will last for six months, which would then release the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan to progress though consultation and Examination in Public through to, likely, 2027.

For detail on emerging Local Plan position in Cambridgeshire please click on the map below.


Our Planning team


Guy Kaddish

Partner, Planning

Guy is head of one of the largest planning teams in Cambridge, and planning representative in our science and technology leaders group.

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Alison Wright

Partner, Planning

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 Wooler

Principal Planner

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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