Cambridgeshire Local Plan Watch - Spring 2024

16.4.24 2 MINUTE READ

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Cambridge continues to remain firmly in the headlights of Michael Gove.

His aspiration is for it become Europe’s science capital. His Cambridge Vision includes for new housing and R&D floorspace to be delivered by a Development Corporation.

On 6 March 2024, the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities published their Case for Cambridge setting out the case for growth and their anticipated “next steps” along with the Cambridge Development Group (CDG). They identify four main challenges facing Cambridge including housing affordability, water supply, transport and mobility and the demand for laboratory space across the Golden Triangle.

On 26 March Gove made a further statement along with updated guidance ‘Cambridge Delivery Group: Establishing a Growth Company’. The Delivery Group is to act as a Growth Company as a precursor to the formation of a Development Corporation. It will accelerate development, establish a Cambridge presence and brand, establish an evidence base, lead developments and undertake cross-government engagement.

The rhetoric for Cambridge grows, but the powers and remit to deliver a step-change in growth are not yet clear. Both Councils have called for more detail around the housing growth being proposed and ensuring they and their communities are closely involved.

What is clear is that Cambridge can support more if housing and infrastructure is part of the package.

Cambridge Water have published their revised draft Water Resource Management Plan (rrdWRMP24), which sought to address the EA objections to press ahead to adoption. Two recent major applications have been halted by the water objections from the EA, Cambridge North, and Darwin Green Phases two and three, for which the inquiries were concluded in October 2023 and January 2024 respectively. Cambridge Water is undertaking further modelling works to address the latest objection from the EA and request for further information from Defra, which are currently estimated to be completed by end April/early May 2024.

Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire have both published an indicative updated LDS which confirms that until such time as officers have clarity regarding the matters of water resources, transport, the relocation of the Cambridge Waste Water Treatment Works, planning reforms regarding a new national plan-making system and the ‘Cambridge 2040’ initiative, they do not consider it possible to progress the emerging Local Plan to the next consultation stage. A 30-month plan review process will commence by Autumn/Winter 2025 with a potential adoption of the updated Local Plan in Spring/Summer 2028. This timetable will be updated once the external uncertainties are resolved.

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 Wastewater 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 but remains ongoing; once resolved it would then release the Northeast Cambridge Area Action Plan to progress though consultation and Examination in Public through to, likely, 2028.

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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Spring 2024

Local Plan Watch

Our Local Plan Watch provides an update on the progress of the Local Plans coming forward across our region to allocate new land for development and highlights the key opportunities for landowners, promoters and developers. 

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