Cambridgeshire Local Plan Watch - Autumn 2021
The big planning news for Cambridgeshire is the upcoming Preferred Options consultation for the Greater Cambridge Local Plan, which has been named their ‘First Proposals’.
This presents the Council’s full position for how many jobs and homes they think the area needs over the next Local Plan Period and which sites will deliver them.
The question now in the planning arena; ‘is this enough?’. The Council’s evidence suggests that a high-growth scenario has many advantages, but it has opted for only a medium-growth scenario, which in real terms is somewhat a low-growth scenario. There is likely to be a push for the Local Plan to better reflect the commercial needs of the City.
It is hard to remember a time when there has been so much interest in commercial development, focussed on the Research & Development sector. This is to the extent that some commercial proposals are outbidding on sites that could be residential. However, jobs drive the need for homes. Cambridgeshire based companies in the science, technology and medical sector continued to recruit highly skilled staff during the pandemic, which, along with the temporary Stamp Duty cut has driven an exceptionally strong housing market.
Cambridgeshire recorded annual house price inflation of around 6% to July 2021. This has continued to bolster confidence in the land market and Bidwells continues to see strong demand and increased competition for residential development sites across the county, with frequent approaches from housebuilders and promoters enquiring about the availability of new opportunities. This demonstrates the current positive attitudes in the land market.
There is every prospect that the Greater Cambridge Local Plan will need to provide for more sites, and it has confirmed it will accept new site promotions. With adoption not until 2025 at the earliest, it is still a Plan to engage with and promote good sites.
Cambridgeshire remains a location for growth, especially where it drives the sustainability agenda.
For detail on emerging Local Plan position in every authority please click on the map below.