What will this policy do?
Set the placemaking vision and the amount of development for a major new eastern quarter on land at Cambridge East – both the safeguarded land in the 2018 Local Plans and the adopted allocations for North of Newmarket Road and North of Cherry Hinton.
Proposed policy direction
The Greater Cambridge Local Plan will allocate land for a major new eastern quarter for Cambridge, enabling development of the airport site which was safeguarded for longer term development in the 2018 adopted Local Plans:
- For approximately 7,000 homes, including affordable homes, and 9,000 jobs on the ‘safeguarded land’ identified in the 2018 Local Plans. It is anticipated that around 2,900 homes will be delivered by 2041.
- Carry forward sites North of Newmarket Road (being built as Marleigh) and Land north of Cherry Hinton (with planning permission) and ensure a comprehensive approach to the eastern quarter as originally envisaged in the Cambridge East Area Action Plan
- Delivery of the full development will require the Greater Cambridge Partnership Cambridge Eastern Access scheme Phase B to be in place which will provide high quality public transport connections, with the amount of development that can come forward ahead of the scheme to be determined.
- Development is also reliant on the successful implementation of a Trip Budget approach, to ensure that the level of vehicle trips is limited to an appropriate level for the surrounding road network.
- The potential need for, or desirability of, other connections by new public transport, cycling and walking links to centres of employment and other sustainable transport connections, such as Cambridge North Station and North East Cambridge, Cambridge South Station and Cambridge Biomedical Campus, and Cambridge Station and the City Centre will be explored through the preparation of the draft local plan, including their deliverability.
- A mix of employment uses, including offices, workshops and other uses, providing a variety of opportunities to support not only Cambridge’s high technology clusters, but also industry and creative uses, including local jobs to provide for existing communities and help contribute to community integration.
- A new centre for retail, cultural and other uses that will serve the urban quarter and wider area whilst complementing and not competing with the historic City centre.
- All necessary supporting community infrastructure including primary and secondary schools.
- To retain a green corridor through the development to link the countryside with Coldham’s Common and the heart of Cambridge, that lies within the Green Belt and has a landscaping, biodiversity and recreation function whilst also maintaining the individual identity of Teversham village.
- Open space within the site, and green infrastructure within and adjoining the area, including providing additional wildlife habitat land surrounding the designated nature sites to the east of Cambridge, as part of the Eastern Fens green infrastructure initiative.
The proposal will integrate with the existing developments north of Newmarket Road and North of Cherry Hinton to ensure a comprehensive approach to this new eastern quarter as originally envisaged but updated to respond to the themes of the new plan. The proposal is also subject to continued evidence from Marshall to demonstrate that the existing Airport use will cease and the airside uses can be successfully relocated and in a timely way, currently anticipated to be in 2030.
The new plan will review and incorporate as appropriate the existing allocations for new mixed use developments adjoining the safeguarded land:
- S/CE/R45: Land north of Newmarket Road (within Cambridge)
- S/CE/R47: Land north of Cherry Hinton (within Cambridge)
- S/CE/SS/3(1a): Cambridge East (Land north of Newmarket Road within South Cambridgeshire)
- S/CE/SS/3(1b): Land north of Cherry Hinton (within South Cambridgeshire)
The following existing allocation which formed part of the wider Cambridge East area has been built out, and is therefore not proposed to be carried forward:
- R41: Land north of Coldham’s Lane
Why is this policy needed?
Land at Cambridge East has long been recognised as having significant potential to be a sustainable major new eastern quarter for Cambridge, that is well connected to the rest of the City, with a mix of homes and a range of jobs and services and supporting infrastructure. Whilst the Airport and land north of Newmarket Road around the car showrooms had originally been identified for development in 2003, the adopted 2018 Local Plans changed the allocation to an approach that safeguarded the land for future development if Marshall were to advise that the Airport land would be made available for development. The adopted plans allocate land north of Newmarket Road and Land north of Cherry Hinton for housing led development as early phases of the full development that could come forward while the Airport is still operational. The adopted plans say that development on the safeguarded land will only occur once the site becomes available and following a review of both the adopted plans and the Cambridge East Area Action Plan. The new plan will include the outcome of that review.
Marshall has advised the Councils of its commitment to relocate the Airport related uses and seeks to demonstrate the availability and deliverability of the site. It advises that it has a signed option agreement at Cranfield Airport, Bedford and that there would be no commercial, planning, technical or regulatory impediment to a move to Cranfield and vacant possession is anticipated by 2030. This gives a reasonable level of confidence at this early stage in the plan process that the site is likely to come forward in time to help meet development needs in the plan period as well as beyond. It is important that there should be sufficient evidence to demonstrate clearly that the plan can be delivered by the time it reaches the later formal stages and so the position will be kept under review during the plan making process.
The proposal to include the Airport as part of the strategy for the new plan would make good use of safeguarded land in the 2018 Local Plans that is also a brownfield site and is a good fit with a low carbon growth strategy. Delivery of homes and jobs would start post 2030 to follow relocation of Marshall’s airside activities. Marshall proposed a larger site that would require land to be released from the Green Belt. The councils consider there are no exceptional circumstances for releasing the land from the Green Belt, and that homes and jobs would not come forward in the plan period on the basis that that only part of the site is capable of coming forward by 2041 and that development should build out from the current edge of Cambridge.
The new eastern quarter has the capability of being well connected to the rest of the City, both in terms of its location and also the provision of a new high quality public transport connection (Phase B of the Greater Cambridge Partnership Cambridge Eastern Access scheme). To ensure a low carbon development the proposals will need to ensure trips in and out of the area are minimised by providing a balance between new homes and a range of jobs. The development will also be expected to integrate positively with surrounding neighbourhoods to ensure the development is accessible to and also brings benefits to those communities, including through provision of local jobs that help meet needs of adjoining communities and help support community cohesion. There will be a range of densities across this large site, with variations that focus higher densities at the new centre and close to the new public transport scheme.
The adopted 2018 Local Plans retained in the Green Belt a green corridor through the development site to ensure the green corridor linking the countryside with Coldhams Common and on into the heart of Cambridge is maintained. Also that at the end of the green corridor around Teversham, it widens out to provide green separation between the new eastern quarter and the village. It is intended that this would be carried forward into the new plan.
Development here would provide an additional impetus to provide additional wildlife habitat land surrounding the designated nature sites to the east of Cambridge, as part of the Eastern Fens green infrastructure initiative which has been identified in the Green Infrastructure and Biodiversity theme.
What consultation have we done on this issue?
In the First Conversation consultation we asked what you thought about developing around the edge of Cambridge on land outside the Green Belt, and highlighted that the only large site on the edge of Cambridge not in the Green Belt is Cambridge Airport. There was support for development of the site as it was not in the Green Belt. Some questioned its availability, although Marshalls themselvesIn the First Conversation consultation we asked what you thought about developing around the edge of Cambridge on land outside the Green Belt, and highlighted that the only large site on the edge of Cambridge not in the Green Belt is Cambridge Airport. There was support for development of the site as it was not in the Green Belt. Some questioned its availability, although Marshalls themselves commented in support of allocating the site. commented in support of allocating the site.
What alternatives did we consider?
- To not allocate the site and instead carry forward the safeguarded land and more limited allocations in the adopted plans, but this was not preferred given the suitability of the safeguarded land, Marshall’s have confirmed that the site will be available during the plan period, and the evidence suggests that could fit with the themes and vision for the plan.
- A larger land release reflecting the proposal by Marshall – This alternative is not the preferred approach, due to the level of harm to Green Belt and landscape that is not justified by exceptional circumstances or a need to meet housing or employment provision in the plan period.
Supporting evidence studies and topic papers
- Greater Cambridge Local Plan: Topic paper 1: Strategy
Existing policies in adopted 2018 Local Plans
Cambridge East Area Action Plan 2008 (Adopted Jointly by Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council)
Cambridge Local Plan 2018
- Policy 13: Cambridge East
- R41: Land north of Coldham’s Lane
- R45: Land north of Newmarket Road
- R47: Land north of Teversham Drift
South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018
- Policy SS/3: Cambridge East
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