Policy J/FD: Faculty development and specialist/language schools

DRAFT version for various committee meetings.

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What will this policy do?

This policy will state when new faculty (higher education) development, teaching hospital facilities, specialist colleges and language schools will be supported, and the requirements that will need to be satisfied.

Proposed policy direction

We propose to support new faculty and specialist facilities/development in Greater Cambridge which meet the following requirements:

  • make effective use of land, including a mix of uses on larger sites to meet the needs of the relevant institution, and
  • take reasonable opportunities to improve circulation for pedestrians and cyclists, together with public realm improvements, reductions in car parking provision and the introduction of active frontages at ground floor level.

We propose that the development of existing and new specialist colleges and/or language schools will be permitted where they provide residential accommodation, social and amenity facilities for all non-local students (students arriving to study from outside Cambridge and the Cambridge sub-region), with controls in place to ensure that the provision of accommodation is in step with the expansion of student places. The use of family dwelling houses to accommodate students of specialist colleges and/or language schools only is not appropriate.

Why is this policy needed?

The University of Cambridge continues to be a world leader in higher education and research. It is also a vital driver of the Cambridge economy and is the reason why so many high technology and knowledge-based employers decide to locate in the city. It contributes to, and is dependent upon, the quality of life in the city and city centre.

The University of Cambridge and its colleges are also significant employers, providing over 12,000 jobs. Their reputation and heritage continue to attract students from across the world, tourists, language students, spin-off enterprise and medical research, and it continues to be a vital driver of the local and national economy.

Anglia Ruskin University has made significant investment in its East Road sites which remain the most sustainable location for future investment.

There are a growing number of specialist colleges in Cambridge, which is an important centre for the study of English as a foreign language. Courses are run throughout the year for a broad range of students, including people working in business as well as the more traditional younger students. These institutions can have significant economic benefit however it is important that the impacts of their growth is properly managed. Specialist colleges and language schools can place additional burdens on the housing market.

It is therefore important to support the growth of higher education institutions, language schools and specialist colleges while minimising their potential impact of new development.

What consultation have we done on this issue?

Key feedback we received through the First Conversation included the following points:

  • Anglia Ruskin University highlighted the need to support modernised and enhanced provision on Anglia Ruskin University’s East Road site and surrounding area.

Separate stakeholder engagement with Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Cambridge has taken place to better understand their future development ambitions including the impact of COVID-19.

Anglia Ruskin University

  • Anglia Ruskin is developing a new masterplan for their Cambridge campus on East Road. This will focus on consolidation and refurbishment of campus buildings with further adaption to provide blended learning/teaching with a mix of on campus and off-site learning and teaching using digital technologies.

The University of Cambridge

  • The University will concentrate its operational and non-operational development through the lifetime of the next Local Plan at existing operational sites including Eddington, West Cambridge, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, New Museums Site, Downing Site, and the Department of Engineering Site, in order to:
    • Meet new needs for academic research, teaching and supporting professional services
    • replace building assets that are at or nearing end-of-life or which have inadequate functional suitability (we have recently completed estate wide building condition and functional suitability surveys that will inform the forthcoming Strategic Estates Masterplan and an associated Capital Investment Plan). This is relevant to the Downing and New Museums Sites, in particular. Existing Local Plan policies for development of sites such as these should roll forward.

What alternatives did we consider?

No policy – Not considered a reasonable alternative as this could result in unsustainable development such as locating new faculty development in relatively less accessible locations or not providing satisfactory mitigation measures to reduce the impact of the new development.

Supporting evidence studies and topic papers

  • Greater Cambridge Local Plan: Topic paper 6: Jobs

Existing policies in adopted 2018 Local Plans

South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018 - None

Cambridge Local Plan 2018

  • Policy 43: University development
  • Policy 44: Specialist colleges and language schools

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