local plan update

Cambridge City  Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council have, this week, published various correspondence with the Local Plan Inspectors ahead of the forthcoming Publication of Proposed Modifications recommended by the Inspector to make their Plans ‘sound’.

In summary, the Inspectors have so far only recommended a limited number of modifications to address the soundness of the Plans. So, whilst the final report is awaited, they appear to have implicitly endorsed the Councils’ development strategy for the provision of 33,500 new houses and 44,000 new jobs by 2031. However, this comes with the caveat that the objective assessment of housing needs and the progress in implementing the strategy, particularly the proposed new settlements, should be considered further as part of the forthcoming Joint Local Plan reviews committed to through the City Deal. Whilst the Inspectors have now classified that this is not their final position, it therefore appears likely that no further allocations will be required to make the Plans sound.  

Key points are:

  • Proposed modifications are required to include reference to the early Joint Local Plan review commencing by end of 2019 with Submission of the Plan in 2022. 
  • The Inspector has confirmed that both Councils should provide a 20% buffer as part of their 5-Year Housing Land Supply but the Inspectors have found the ‘Liverpool’ method of calculation (spreading the deficit in housing delivery to date over the entire plan period to 2031 rather than meeting this in the next 5 years) to be appropriate due to the Plan’s emphasis on delivery on strategic sites. 
  • The Inspectors have not raised any soundness issues with the Councils’ proposed use of a Joint Housing Trajectory covering both Authorities so this seems to be implicitly endorsed. The proposed methodology for calculating the 5YHLS position will be included as a modification to the Plans along with the latest revised housing supply figures. 
  • The further expansion of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus has been endorsed.
  • The affordable housing policies in the Plans need to be changed to reflect the latest Government position and Written Ministerial Statement on the 10-dwelling threshold.
  • There are other minor changes to site boundaries and policies for a few sites including Waterbeach and Bourn Airfield but nothing particularly significant.

The forthcoming consultation on the Proposed Modifications is to be limited to the new modifications recommended by the Inspectors only.  Consultation on these is likely to commence in the next few weeks and is likely to be extended to 8 weeks to account for Christmas.

Thereafter, the Inspectors may convene further hearings to hear further objections on these new Modifications before issuing their Final Report with adoption of the Plans likely in Spring/Summer 2018.

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