The South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City Local Plans have been found 'sound' by the Planning Inspectorate subject to a number of modifications, almost four and a half years since being submitted to the Secretary of State for Examination.
Bidwells has identified the following headlines from the long-awaited Inspectors’ Reports:
- South Cambridgeshire’s OAHN of 19,500 and Cambridge’s OAHN of 14,000 dwellings are sound;
- Five year housing land supply has been calculated using the Liverpool method due to South Cambridgeshire’s reliance on the delivery of two new settlements at Waterbeach and Bourn; and with a 20% buffer due to persistent under-delivery;
- The use of a joint housing trajectory across the two plans, as a temporary measure, has been supported until a Joint Local Plan is prepared; including for use for five year housing land supply assessment;
- Inspector’s opinion that both plans will provide for a five year housing land supply on adoption and that the housing requirement will be met;
- The plans are sound without the allocation of additional sites in the Green Belt;
- The Nationally Described Space Standards for residential units, rather than setting local standards, have been included;
- It is considered necessary to include a commitment to an early review of the plans, through the preparation of a Joint Local Plan to commence before the end of 2019 and anticipated to be submitted for examination by the end of summer 2022;
- Some concerns are raised regarding the challenges of delivering new development at Waterbeach and Bourn; and
- The affordable housing threshold for South Cambridgeshire has been raised from 3 dwellings or more to 11 dwellings or more.
The Cambridge Local Plan will be discussed at a Policy and Transport Scrutiny Committee meeting on Tuesday 2 October before a final decision on adoption is made at a Council meeting on Thursday 18 October. South Cambridgeshire's Local Plan will be presented to a Cabinet meeting in late September before a final decision on adoption is made at a Council meeting on Thursday 27 September. The expectation is that the Councils will advance the Plans for adoption.
Copy of the Inspectors’ Reports and list of Main Modifications can be found here
Whilst there is some disappointing detail in the final version and the Inspectors did not embrace the overwhelming evidence by many parties that there is a greater housing need that should be addressed, it is nevertheless helpful that this long-running examination will be drawn to a conclusion. It has been known for some time that these Local Plans will be an interim measure because the commitment to immediately commence the preparation of a Joint Local Plan has been known for some time. It will be in 2019 that the debates will start again over Green Belt, housing numbers and appropriate development sites. In the meantime, keep an eye out for the Mayor’s Non-Statutory Spatial Plan across the Greater Cambridgeshire area by the end of the year.
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