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Planning Policy Monthly Update

Planning Policy Monthly Update (April 2014)

Highlights news items relevant to planning policy at national, regional, county and local levels.

Please note that we can only be responsible for our own programmes. Information from other organisations is the latest and most up to date given to us.

South Cambridgeshire News

City Deal

George Osborne's latest Budget, delivered on Wednesday 19 March 2014 had important news within it for South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City. The Government announced that it will commit £100 million to Greater Cambridge until 2019-20 to support their ambitious transport and infrastructure proposals through a Gain Share mechanism. This agreement could be worth up to £500 million over 15 to 20 years, dependent on the economic impact of their investments and, in addition to Greater Cambridge’s own plans, could deliver over £1 billion of infrastructure investment in the Greater Cambridge area.

This agreement is known as the ‘City Deal’. City Deals are agreements between central Government and local partnerships to address the key barriers to economic growth in an economic area. Cambridge City Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership and the University of Cambridge have been working together on a City Deal since the Autumn of 2012.

The local partners were asked to identify the key barriers to economic growth in the local economic area (the area covered by Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council, which contains around 75% of the Travel To Work Area, and the greatest concentration of hi-tech businesses in the “Cambridge Cluster”). We identified the two intertwined issues of housing and transport, as well as issues of ensuring that local people had the right skills to engage in the successful elements of Greater Cambridge’s economy.

The full details of the Deal will be set out in a ‘Deal Document’ that the Leaders and partners expect to be invited to formally sign in coming weeks.

A report on the City Deal and how it will affect our district is being considered by the Scrutiny and Overview Committee on 3 April, by Cabinet on 10 April and Council on 24 April 2014.

National News

National Planning Policy Guidance

The Government launched the final version of the National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) on 6 March 2014. Its launch was accompanied by a Ministerial Statement by Planning Minister Nick Boles MP on local planning. 

The NPPG is a web-based resource – only available online and has been designed to be easily accessible to all. It consolidates 7,000 pages of complex and many out-dated documents – a list of the documents that are now cancelled can be found on the Planning Portal Website.

The guidance covers a large number of topics from air quality, climate change, local plans, neighbourhood planning, open space, green space and rights of way, rural housing, viability to water supply, wastewater and water quality. It will be updated as needed and each section is dated so that it will be clear when any sections are amended. It is possible to sign up to be notified by email when changes are made to the guidance.

A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme

The Highway Agency on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport is consulting on its planned improvements to the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon. The proposed scheme extends from the existing A14 at Ellington to the Cambridge Northern Bypass at Milton, a distance of 21 miles. It includes a new bypass to the south of Huntingdon, carriageway widening on the existing A14 between Swavesey and Girton, and improvements to the Cambridge Northern Bypass. It also includes junction improvements, the widening of a 4.5 miles section of the A1 trunk road between Brampton and Alconbury, and nearly 7 miles of new local access roads. As part of the scheme the existing A14 between the Ellington and Swavesey junctions will be returned to a local road status and the road viaduct over the East Coast Mainline railway at Huntingdon would be removed. A Statement of Community Consultation has been published by the Highway Agency to set out how they will consult on the proposals for the A14 scheme.

A 10 week public consultation is being held between 7 April and 15 June 2014 for local communities, residents, businesses, visitors, road users, wider interest groups and the general public to view and comment on the developing scheme. 

The consultation material will be available to view at a number of locations including at South Cambs offices in Cambourne and the following libraries within our district: Swavesey; Bar Hill; Histon and Cambourne.

A consultation leaflet is to be distributed containing information on the consultation and events to be held. There will be a series of exhibitions to provide an opportunity to view the proposals, to discuss any issues with members of the project team and to comment on the proposals by completing a questionnaire. The larger events are marked with an asterisk. The following table shows those exhibitions that are to take place within South Cambridgeshire. There are also additional venues outside of our district which are listed in the consultation leaflet.





*Bar Hill Tesco Extra*

Tuesday 8 April 2014

14.00 to 20.00

Papworth Everard Library

Thursday 10 April 2014

14.00 to 20.00

*Bar Hill Church Centre*

Friday 11 April 2014

14.00 to 20.00

*Girton College*

Saturday 26 April 2014

10.00 to 16.00

*Cambridge Science Park (The Trinity Centre)*

Monday 28 April 2014

14.00 to 20.00

The Hub Cambourne

Tuesday 13 May 2014

10.00 to 14.00

Over Community Centre

Saturday 17 May 2014

10.00 to 14.00

Longstanton Village Hall

Friday 23 May 2014

15.00 to 19.00

Dry Drayton Village Hall

Saturday 24 May 2014

10.00 to 14.00

Milton All Saints Church Hall

Tuesday 27 May 2014

15.00 to 19.00

Oakington Pavilion

Wednesday 28 May 2014

16.00 to 20.00

Impington Village College

Thursday 29 May 2014

16.00 to 20.00

Boxworth Village Hall

Friday 30 May 2014

15.00 to 19.00

Madingley Village Hall

Saturday 31 May 2014

10.00 to 14.00

Lolworth Robinson Hall, High Street

Monday 2 June 2014

16.00 to 20.00


Following the consultation the design of the scheme will be developed further to take into account comments received.  A preferred route will subsequently be announced and the Highway Agency will prepare for the formal submission of a Development Consent Order application to the Planning Inspectorate. It is anticipated that the agency will apply for a Development Consent Order in Autumn 2014 and that an examination into the scheme would be carried out Spring / Summer 2015.

Ministerial Statement on Local Planning

The Ministerial Statement mentioned in the NPPG section above had some additional government reforms which will allow greater flexibility for change of use to encourage the re-use of empty and under-used buildings. 

  • Allowing change of use from retail to residential 

Reforms will be introduced that will permit under-used shops that are located outside of key shopping areas to change to residential use. Change of use from shops (A1) and financial and professional services (A2) to houses (C3) will become permitted development. 

  • Allowing change of use from agricultural to residential

Reforms will be introduced to allow up to 450m2 of agricultural buildings on a farm to be able to change to provide a maximum of 3 houses.

  • Allowing change of use from agricultural to educational 

Proposals will be introduced to allow agricultural buildings up to 500m2 to be able to change to state-funded schools and registered nurseries. Previously it had only been schools and not nurseries that had this permitted development right.

Consultation on a New Threshold for Affordable Housing

In the Autumn Statement 2013 the Government committed itself to carrying out reforms to the planning system. A government consultation has now begun called Planning performance and planning contributions which includes a proposal to introduce a new national threshold for Section 106 affordable housing contributions of 10 units. Rural Exception Sites would be outside the scope of this new threshold. 

If you wish to take part in this consultation the closing date for responses is 11.45pm on 4 May 2014.   

Local Plan News

Local Plan News highlights where we would like your involvement in future plan making in South Cambridgeshire and shows the progress of past consultations.


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