The Greater Cambridge planners have today published the list (and an interactive map) of sites submitted as having potential for development, following the recent “call for sites”. This is an initial step required in the formulation of the next Local Plan for South Cambridgeshire and the City. It is an extensive list, the publication of which is required by law.
Over 600 sites of varying sizes were submitted across South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City. These sites have not yet been assessed or filtered in any way, and therefore have no planning status. It is a wish list created by landowners and developers of potential sites that may be used in the plan making process. But first South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City have to decide on what spatial strategy to use to achieve the multiple objectives presented in the First Conversation consultation.
There are many sites in Histon and Impington, demonstrating the attractiveness of the village to developers. The largest is, of course, the land to the east of Impington forming the bid by Trinity College to expand the Science Park. There are many others, some just big enough for a few houses, some much larger, as well as potential commercial sites. For the current Local Plan, less than 10% of the submitted sites were selected, and only a small number of sites on this list are expected to be selected for inclusion in the draft Local Plan.
The Greater Cambridge planners are now starting to assess the evidence that will help weigh up the different spatial strategy options that will then guide any decisions about suitability of the proposed sites. Planners have been gathering evidence on transport, jobs, housing numbers, water availability, zero carbon and biodiversity implications to make those assessments. That evidence should be available in October/November. One or a mixture of spatial strategies will be proposed based on that evidence. These spatial strategies include: densification of existing urban centres, adding to existing villages, building along public transport corridors, alongside public transport hubs, developing in the green belt, creating new towns and villages etc.
Sites will then be assessed according to the spatial strategy being proposed. We would expect many of them to be dropped after that process – but some are, of course, likely to be taken forward into the draft Local Plan.
As with previous Local Plans, the Parish Council would expect to register its views on any such sites, so as to ensure that any and all developments in the village bring benefits to all.
The Parish Council has produced the Neighbourhood Plan, and worked with SCDC to produce the Village Design Guide and all sites that do get through to the Local Plan will be required to fit with both of these.