An overview of the history of Cambourne

Cambourne is located 9 miles west of Cambridge, just off the A428.

The original permission

Two outline planning applications for new settlements at Monkfield Farm (S/1371/92/O) and Great Common Farm/Bourn Airfield (S/1635/92/O) were submitted in 1992. You can view the plans to the original planning application is by visiting our planning portal.

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 masterplan for Cambourne, approved in 1996, set out a vision of 3 interlinked villages - each planned around village greens and connected by a central spine road running East to West. Lower Cambourne is the westernmost village, Great Cambourne, 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.

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.

Work started on the site in 1998 with the first residents moving in 1999. New homes are presently being built at Upper Cambourne and further homes have been approved to the west of Lower Cambourne.

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 at the time. At a meeting of the Cambourne Parish Council on Tuesday, 5 March 2019 the Cambourne Parish Council voted to become Cambourne Town Council. The Town Council have regular meetings and events on a range of matters and comment on planning applications within their boundaries. 

The 950 homes – S/6438/07/O - view the outline application 

In 2007 an outline application for a further 950 homes, within the boundaries of the original application, for Upper Cambourne was submitted. This application was approved in 2011 with 30% affordable housing and financial contributions towards services and facilities within Cambourne.

Of the 950 homes approved at Upper Cambourne, detailed applications for all of these homes have now been approved and many have been built and occupied.

Cambourne Business Park

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.

Cambourne School

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.

Cambourne West – S/2903/14/OL - view the outline planning permission 

In March 2014 our 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 (Cambourne West) for up to 1,200 homes.

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.

The outline application for Cambourne West was approved by the Council’s planning committee on 11 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.

Following detailed consideration and assessment in partnership with the developers, the Town Council and interested parties, South Cambridgeshire District Council approved the Cambourne West Design Code on 12 July 2019 under S/2709/18/DC. This forms the basis for future detailed applications and the Design Quality expected.

Reserved Matters submissions have been submitted under the following:

Strategic Engineering S/1430/19/RM

Strategic Landscaping S/4161/19/RM

The First Development Parcel has been submitted under S/4537/19/RM. Further applications are expected during 2020 and beyond.

Cambourne Town Centre

In addition to housing there are planned a range of shops and community uses which include:

  • four primary schools
  • a supermarket
  • 16 smaller retail units
  • a hotel
  • police and fire stations
  • a church
  • a health centre and library
  • community centre
  • sports centre and pitches
  • youth centre
  • play areas
  • allotments
  • a country-park, and
  • a business park

Many aspects have been built with retirement living, further shops and a hotel under construction on sites in the centre. A further development has been the subject of pre-application consultation.

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