Policy S/NEC: North East Cambridge

DRAFT version for various committee meetings.

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Figure 15: Map of proposed North East Cambridge policy area
Figure 15: Map of proposed North East Cambridge policy area

What will this policy do?

This policy will set out the placemaking vision for, and the scale and scope of development at North East Cambridge and provide a robust planning framework for the comprehensive redevelopment of this site.

Proposed policy direction

North East Cambridge will form an important part of the development strategy for the Local Plan. This site is one of the last few remaining significant brownfield sites within the city, where comprehensive redevelopment will support new homes and jobs as part of a new city district.

We want North East Cambridge to be an inclusive, walkable, low-carbon new city district with a lively mix of homes, workplaces, services and social spaces, fully integrated with surrounding neighbourhoods. Separately to the joint Local Plan, the Councils are also preparing an Area Action Plan for North East Cambridge which will provide a detailed planning framework containing site specific policies which will be of equal status to those in the Local Plan once adopted. A key component of the Area Action Plan is the Spatial Framework which will set out how this new city district should be planned.

Once developed in full, which will extend beyond the Local Plan period of 2041, North East Cambridge is anticipated to deliver 8,350 new homes, 15,000 additional jobs as well as a wide range of necessary infrastructure to support the development including new schools, community and cultural facilities, open spaces as well as enhanced and new walking and cycling connections into and through the Area Action Plan area. This amount of development is predicated on the relocation of the existing Waste Water Treatment Works, a process being led by Anglian Water. It is also reliant on the successful implementation of the North East Cambridge Trip Budget, which has been calculated to ensure that there are no additional vehicle trips on Milton Road at peak times (from 2017 levels) and subsequently not result in queuing on the A14 at Milton Interchange (Junction 33).

To achieve the vision of a compact, walkable and mixed-use city district, the policy approach for North East Cambridge is for a higher density development. This will create a critical mass of new residents and workers to support these new services. It will also seek to place more homes closer to existing and future employment areas as well as public transport. The North East Cambridge site is well served by public transport and active travel options, including Cambridge North Station and the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway. It is expected that this will improve further with a number of planned projects such as the Chisholm Trail, Waterbeach to Cambridge Public Transport Corridor and Waterbeach Greenway.

The key requirements for the site to come forward for development will be set out in the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan.

The following allocations fall within the North East Cambridge area, and are therefore not proposed to be carried forward as they will be superseded by this policy and the emerging Area Action Plan:

Cambridge Local Plan 2018:

  • M1: 379-381 Milton Road
  • Policy 15: Cambridge Northern Fringe East and new railway station Area of Major Change

South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018

  • E/1: Cambridge Science Park
  • SS/4: Cambridge Northern Fringe East and Cambridge North railway station

Why is this policy needed?

North East Cambridge is identified in the adopted Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire Local Plans (2018). The Plans identified that an Area Action Plan should be prepared by both Councils to establish the boundary of the Area Action Plan and amount of development within it.

In March 2019, the government announced that the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, working with Cambridge City Council, Anglian Water and other key partners, had been successful in securing £227 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) to relocate the Waste Water Treatment Plant off‑site. This is a separate process that will enable the North East Cambridge area to be unlocked for comprehensive development.

Based on the preparation of the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan undertaken by the Councils to date, it is considered that the Area Action Plan area could accommodate in total up to 8,350 dwellings (with around 4,000 during the Local Plan Period), around 15,000 new jobs (with only some of those anticipated during the Local Plan Period) and adequate infrastructure to support the development. The amount of development has been amended since the consultation on the draft Area Action Plan to take into account the comments received as well as the latest evidence. This includes the enhanced provision of on‑site informal and children’s play space as well as envisaging some off‑site provision at Chesterton Fen for informal amenity space. Formal sports facilities will be largely delivered off-site as part of a comprehensive approach to new provision when the need for future sport facilities is considered in combination with other planned growth and proposed sites. The revised Area Action Plan will be considered by the Councils in autumn 2021 and look at these issues in more detail.

North East Cambridge forms an important part of the development strategy for the Local Plan. Therefore whilst there is a separate Area Action Plan process underway by the Councils, the amount of growth planned for also needs to be reflected in the Local Plan. The member process to confirm the next stage of the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan will take place in late 2021.

What consultation have we done on this issue?

There was no specific consultation on this issue in the First Conversation consultation but sites such as North East Cambridge did provide some context to some of the proposed Spatial Options for future growth across Greater Cambridge.

Separately, there have been two rounds of Issues and Options consultation (2014 and 2019) on the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan as well as consultation on a draft North East Cambridge Area Action Plan in 2020.

What alternatives did we consider?

1. No Policy – This alternative is not the preferred approach as it would not make best use of the opportunities provided by this brownfield site in Cambridge or provide a policy for the future evolution of the site, and the emerging North East Cambridge Area Action Plan.

2. Reduced developable area by retaining a consolidated Waste Water Treatment Works on site as either an indoors or outdoors facility – Rejected as evidence shows that this is not deliverable or viable and is therefore not considered to be a reasonable option.

3. Higher quantum of development – This alternative is not the preferred approach due to placemaking implications, including open space provision, building heights and development mix as well as delivery of the Trip Budget.

4. Lower quantum of development - Rejected as evidence shows that this is not deliverable or viable and is therefore not considered to be a reasonable option.

Supporting evidence studies and topic papers

  • Greater Cambridge Local Plan: Topic paper 1: Strategy

Existing policies in adopted 2018 Local Plans

Cambridge Local Plan 2018

  • Policy 14: Areas of Major Change and Opportunity Areas – general principles
  • Policy 15: Cambridge Northern Fringe East and new railway station Area of Major Change
  • M1: 379-381 Milton Road

South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018

  • Policy SS/4: Cambridge Northern Fringe East and Cambridge North railway station
  • Policy E/1: New Employment Provision near Cambridge – Cambridge Science Park

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