Cambourne is one of South Cambridgeshire's newest settlements located nine miles west of Cambridge, just off the A428. The thriving community has four primary schools, a secondary school, shops and a range of sporting facilities and large expanses of public open spaces. New homes are presently being built at Upper Cambourne and further homes have been approved to the west of Lower Cambourne.
The history of Cambourne starts with the consultation on the Cambridgeshire County Council’s draft Structure Plan Review in 1986, which proposed two new settlements – one near Swavesey on the A604 and one north of Cambridge on the A10. Following the consultation a Government Panel held an 'Examination in Public' into the Structure Plan Review in 1987. Before submission to the Secretary of State in May 1987 the Structure Plan Review had been amended so that it proposed a single new settlement of 3000 dwellings on the A10 in East Cambridgeshire.
In January 1988 the Government Panel concluded that a smaller settlement was appropriate for the A10 north and that there should be a major new settlement on the A45 west corridor. This resulted in the Secretary of State approving a modified Structure Plan in March 1989 with an A10 north new settlement and one of 3000 dwellings (2000 dwellings up to 2001) along the A45 west or east.
In 1989 applications for new settlements along the A45 (6 to the west and 2 to the east were called in by the Secretary of State to determine through a public enquiry that started in 1990. In March 1992 the Secretary of State rejected all the applications, though acknowledged that Great Common Farm was the best choice in 'site specific terms' other than details relating to the size of the business park and the lack of clarity regarding access arrangements in relation to the Broadway. He indicated that a revised application which addresses these problems would be acceptable.
Two outline planning applications for new settlements at Monkfield Farm (S/1371/92/O) and Great Common Farm/Bourn Airfield (S1635/92/O) were submitted in 1992. In December 1993 the Planning Committee considered the applications, which had an officer recommendation of approval for the Great Common Farm site. Planning Committee rejected the officer recommendation and approved the 417 hectares (ha) Monkfield Farm site, subject to necessary conditions and legal agreements. Formal planning consent was issued on 20th April 1994. The original consent had provision for 3,000 homes, with a contingency of an additional 10% (3,300), of which 30% were affordable housing. It also included land for employment, retail, community and sporting facilities, open space and highways on land in the parishes of Bourn and Caxton.
The original master plan for Cambourne that was produced by Terry Farrell and Partners was approved in 1996. It set out a vision of three interlinked villages each planned around village greens and connected by a central spine road running east to west. Lower Cambourne is the westernmost village and is adjacent to Great Cambourne, which is the largest of the three villages. Upper Cambourne lies between the eastern valley and the Broadway, the road which leads south from the old A428 to the village of Bourn.
The masterplan also set out the locations of infrastructure and facilities to be provided with the majority of services and facilities being concentrated in the northern part of Great Cambourne. Two gentle valleys separate the three villages and provide significant areas of open space and lakes for water attenuation. Employment is principally provided in Cambourne Business Park, which is located to the north of Lower Cambourne, adjacent to the main entrance from the A428.
Work started on site in 1998 with the first residents moving in in 1999. Cambourne became a separate parish in 2004. At the time of the 2011 census there were 8,186 residents, making it the largest settlement in South Cambridgeshire. In addition to housing there are four primary schools, a supermarket and 16 smaller retail units, hotel, police and fire stations, church, health centre/library, community centre, sports centre and pitches, youth centre, play areas, allotments, country-park, and a business park. Further shops and a hotel are due to be delivered on the remaining sites in the centre.
The original masterplan envisaged development at densities ranging from 24.9 dwellings per hectare (dph) in Great and Upper Cambourne to 23.2 dph in Lower Cambourne. As detailed planning applications (reserved matters) were submitted densities were increased, in line with the subsequently issued changes to national Planning Policy Guidance 3 (2000). This resulted in overall net densities increasing to approximately 30 dph and meant that the permitted 3,300 homes were built at Lower Cambourne, most of Great Cambourne and only on the north-western part of the Upper Cambourne footprint. This left the remainder of Upper Cambourne with no allocated development. Therefore, in 2007 an outline application for a further 950 homes at Upper Cambourne was submitted. This application was approved in 2011 with 30% affordable housing and financial contributions towards services and facilities within Cambourne. The site for the 2007 application was within the boundaries of the original outline application and completes Upper Cambourne.
Lower Cambourne has been fully built out for a number of years. Other than vacant sites on Back Lane and High Street the majority of Great Cambourne, including all of the residential land parcels to the south of the centre, has been built out. Of the 950 homes approved at Upper Cambourne detailed applications for all of these homes have now been approved and almost 700 have been built and occupied. There are remaining plots to be built out on the business park. The eastern valley has been identified as a site for a golf course once the land is no longer being used for spoil distribution. However, should this not be deliverable then the land would revert to being a country park.
In 2013 Cambourne Secondary School opened to the west of the Lower Cambourne perimeter treebelt on land within the parish of Caxton. This was followed by the opening of Cambourne Community Primary School next to the secondary school in 2015. The location of the secondary school, which was not included in the original masterplan, was the first material intrusion into the land to the west of Cambourne. It had originally been anticipated that secondary schooling would be provided by Comberton Village Collage but this position was reviewed in light of increasing pupil numbers. A temporary access road serves the school from Sheepfold Lane with the expectation that any further development on the surrounding land would deliver a permanent road to the school with a more central access from the north.
You can look at this planning application via the planning portal.
Cambourne West Background
In March 2014 the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan was submitted and is presently subject to independent examination. Policy SS/8 of the submission local plan proposes the allocation of a site of 49.3ha to the west of Cambourne for up to 1,200 homes. The draft allocation also includes undeveloped land within Cambourne Business Park to accommodate a mix of residential and employment uses. The draft allocation extends broadly half way across the land between Lower Cambourne and the A1198, with the western boundary of the draft allocation broadly following the shallow valley running north south through the middle of the agricultural land.
Following the submission of the draft Local Plan to the Government for Examination in Public Taylor Wimpey and Bovis Homes submitted an outline application for 2,350 homes (S/2903/14/OL) on a 147ha site to the west of Lower Cambourne. Although the site, which extends up to the A1198, is mainly in the parish of Caxton it has become known as Cambourne West.
In order to accommodate the needs of the increased population Cambourne West will deliver a new secondary school and two further primary schools and sporting facilities including an all weather athletics track and a BMX track. Financial contributions will also be made to Cambourne Parish Council so they can deliver community and off site sporting facilities such as a swimming pool.
The outline application for Cambourne West was approved by the Council’s planning committee on 11th January 2017. This approval was based on the argument that delivering the larger site would result in a more comprehensive and sustainable form of development than if the land to the west of the proposed Local Plan allocation were to be developed at a later date.
Once the Section 106 legal agreement that will secure all of the contributions and off site transport mitigation works has been finalized detailed applications for infrastructure and the first phase of development will be submitted and consulted upon in the usual way.
Although not within the site of the Cambourne West application there are proposals for homes and small business units on the undeveloped land within Cambourne Business Park. This land falls within the Council’s draft allocation and offers the opportunity for a route through the Business Park to Cambourne West. An application for this land is expected sometime in 2018.
You can find more detailed information regarding this planning application via the planning portal.
If you do not have internet access, you can also come and view the plans at our office Monday-Friday, 9am and 5pm.