Continued economic success and quality of life at heart of growth plans

14 May 2013

Three local councils have announced plans that put new jobs, the economy and quality of life at the heart of development plans to maintain Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire as one of the best areas to live and work in the country.

Growth plans for the next 20 years revealed today (Tuesday 14 May) would see a new town built at Waterbeach, a new village on a brown field site at Bourn Airfield, an extension of Cambourne and homes on the edge of Cambridge to provide well‑connected and much-needed housing to support around 44,000 new jobs forecast to be created in the area up until 2031.

Council bosses have said that forecasted population and economic growth means an additional 8,800 homes will be needed by 2031 in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire. This is on top of just over 24,000 homes already being built or in agreed plans, on sites in and on the edge of Cambridge as well as at the new town of Northstowe.

Less than 1,500 homes of the proposed 8,000 at the new town of Waterbeach are expected to be built over the next 20 years, but committing to a new town will help provide high quality homes well into the future with good facilities and public transport links.

Of the 3,500 homes proposed at Bourn Airfield less than 1,500 would be built before 2031 giving flexibility in plans as large developments take a longer time to get off the ground.

Most of the proposals put forward for development on the green belt have been ruled out for the draft Plan including a possible community stadium. Both Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District councils have said that evidence of a need for the facility wasn’t found and a number of the options considered for the facility would significantly impact on the green belt.

Some modest changes to the green belt are proposed for up to 430 homes at Worts’ Causeway, as well as allocating land for employment next to ARM – a world-leading high tech firm on Fulbourn Road. A small expansion of an existing site between Huntingdon and Histon roads is also proposed, although this would not increase the overall number of homes currently planned but instead provide more room to ensure a high quality development.

Regeneration is also planned for Cambridge Northern Fringe around the new Cambridge Science Park Station that is proposed to begin being built next year. This would create a new gateway to the northern part of Cambridge and to South Cambridgeshire with high density mixed employment led development.

The larger sites put forward for development will now be discussed by councillors of the three local authorities at the Joint Strategic Transport and Spatial Planning Group on Wednesday 22 May before meetings at South Cambridgeshire District and Cambridge City Councils finalise their draft Local Plans for consultation over the summer.

Both Councils have been working with Cambridgeshire County Council to ensure development is linked up with a well-planned transport strategy. The strategy aligns with the growth plans to ensure that the transport network can cater for planned growth. This proposes sustainable transport capacity between the key employment clusters and destinations in and around the city and to where people live and access services.

The strategy recognises the great potential in the area for more people to walk, cycle or take a bus or train, and proposes a range of improvements to accommodate growth while maintaining current levels of accessibility.

Employment and housing sites in Cambridge and at South Cambridgeshire villages will be announced by the two councils separately.

Cambridge City Council will publish planned development sites within Cambridge on 20 May to be discussed at the City’s Development Plan Scrutiny Sub-committee on 29 May.

South Cambridgeshire’s smaller village sites will be published on Monday 3 June and discussed at the Planning Policy and Localism portfolio holder’s meeting on Tuesday 11 June.

Development sites agreed by the councils will be consulted on this summer as part of the draft Local Plans for the two areas. The draft transport strategy for the areas will be consulted on at the same time. The consultations will run between Friday 19 July and Monday 30 September.

Cllr Pippa Corney, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for planning policy and localism, said: “Our highly successful local economy means we are in an enviable position of having thousands of new jobs being created over the next 20 years and we must have a dynamic and flexible plan to support growth. Many people have told us they favour development being focussed around Cambridge or in a new town or new village and we have listened to our residents to put forward a plan to provide much‑needed and well-connected high quality homes. South Cambridgeshire is consistently voted as one of the top places to live and work in the country due our high employment rates, good education and rural lifestyle which this plan will enhance and protect.”

Cllr Tim Ward, Cambridge City Council’s Executive Councillor for Planning and Climate Change, said: “The new local plan for Cambridge proposes a strategy that supports the continuation of Cambridge as a compact, attractive and accessible city where the quality of life and place underpins economic success and the opportunity for sustainable living. The plan identifies how Cambridge can meet its needs for homes and jobs and continue to make its important contribution locally, nationally and internationally to research and knowledge-based sectors.”