1.1 Cambridge Northern Fringe East (CNFE) is the working title for this important part of the city that represents an exciting development opportunity for Cambridge and the wider area. Both Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council have committed to its regeneration and redevelopment through respective policies in their new Local Plans. The policies both propose the preparation of a joint Area Action Plan (AAP) to secure an employment led mixed use development of the area.

1.2 In February 2014, Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council (with the support of Cambridgeshire County Council) began work on the AAP for the CNFE area.


1.3 The area at CNFE represents the largest brownfield regeneration opportunity in Greater Cambridge and its development has long been an objective for the two Councils. Extending to almost a square kilometre, this is a vitally important area to help provide new infrastructure and development to support the continued economic success of Greater Cambridge. The opening of the proposed new railway station in May 2016 is a key catalyst for finally delivering this development.

1.4 The CNFE AAP is a document that will shape the regeneration of the area. The improved accessibility afforded by the proposed new railway station and the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway provide an opportunity to create high quality employment led mixed use development, and help meet the long term growth needs of the Cambridge area.

1.5 We need your help to make this change happen. This issues and options report sets out the issues that need to be considered, and a series of options for future development. We would like your views on these issues and options, and your views on the development of this area. This will help to ensure that the final AAP meets the needs of the community as a whole.

Why you should read this document

1.6 The AAP will significantly influence how the CNFE area will be regenerated including:

  • the look and feel of the area and design of new buildings and spaces;
  • the type and range of jobs which are to be provided;
  • access to the jobs and other facilities in the area;
  • improvements to the road layout and pedestrian and cycle links in the area;
  • the range and quality of new homes in the area;
  • the safety and quality of public spaces;
  • bringing in more people and creating a vibrant and active new area.

1.7 This includes opportunities to bring benefits to existing and neighbouring communities. New links can be created to better integrate the area with the rest of the city. New facilities will also benefit existing and new residents, employers and employees. More people living in the area will also make it more viable for service providers, such as the bus operators and local businesses.

Location and Site Description

1.8 Figure 1 shows the location of the CNFE area. The area is situated between the A14 to the north, the A10 Milton Road to the west, the Cambridge to King’s Lynn railway line to the east, and the Chesterton residential area to the south. It includes Anglian Water’s Water Recycling Centre, a mix of predominantly office and industrial uses alongside the various branches of Cowley Road, Chesterton Rail Sidings, offices on the Cambridge Business Park, and industrial uses off Nuffield Road.

What is the purpose of an Area Action Plan?

1.9 An Area Action Plan (AAP) is a statutory planning document used for areas where there is to be significant change. It has a strong emphasis on the actions required to ensure that the change is deliverable in line with the broad approach set out in the emerging Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire Local Plans. The CNFE AAP will set a vision for the CNFE area and ultimately provide guidance on how the key landowners and developers involved can bring it forward for development.

1.10 The proposed new railway station received planning permission in December 2013. The opening of the proposed station in 2016 will act as a catalyst for wider regeneration of the area and the Councils are giving priority to preparing an AAP to help bring forward redevelopment to create a vibrant and attractive new gateway and quarter of Cambridge. Given the multiple land uses and ownership, and the complexity of the area, it is important to provide clear and comprehensive guidance for its redevelopment. This will help to ensure there is an integrated, rather than piecemeal, approach which maximises the potential of the area and ensures development opportunities are not missed or compromised.

1.11 The AAP must be in conformity with the National Planning Policy Framework and National Planning Practice Guidance. It should also have due regard to other planning policy documents such as the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Minerals and Waste Core Strategy (2011) and Site Specific Proposals Plan (2012).

What is the Cambridge Northern Fringe East Area Action Plan?

1.12 Both the Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire Local Plans (Submitted Versions) include policies (Policy 14 and Policy SS/4 respectively – see Appendix 1) for their respective parts of the CNFE area. The Plans have indicated the two Councils will jointly prepare an AAP for the CNFE area. The policies indicate the AAP will cover the amount and types of development, site capacity, viability, timescales and phasing of development. We now need to consider the planning framework to ensure that we take every opportunity to improve the area.

1.13 These opportunities include:

  • Regenerating the largest brownfield area in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire;
  • Maximising the benefits of the proposed new railway station on the Chesterton Rail Sidings and the extension to the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway as a catalyst for new investment in the area;
  • Look at options for new employment development which meets the growing needs of the Cambridge economy and provides jobs for the community;
  • Providing more homes to meet the pressing needs of the local community;
  • Utilising and enhancing Cambridge’s only rail freight head;
  • Making more of the existing environmental features including the First Public Drain;
  • Improving vehicular access off Milton Road and make the area more friendly for all road users especially pedestrians and cyclists;
  • Giving careful consideration to the amount of new development that will take place in the area. Generally speaking, if we increase the amount of investment that goes into the core area, by building more homes, shops and business space, more funding will be generated to improve public spaces and parks, pedestrian and cycle links, the road network and community facilities in the wider area.

Figure 1

Figure 1

1.14 Once adopted the CNFE AAP will:

  • guide the regeneration and future development of the Cambridge Northern Fringe East area;
  • set out a vision which describes the kind of place that Cambridge Northern Fringe East will be;
  • provide clear objectives and a series of principles and concepts to guide development that will help the community, land owners and developers work with the Councils and their partners to deliver the vision by 2031;
  • show how CNFE will become a joined up part of Cambridge;
  • create a balanced approach to regeneration that will deliver a significant number of additional jobs, through the provision of space for existing and new businesses to grow and thrive, as well as housing, open space and community uses;
  • set the planning policy and high level master-planning framework for its redevelopment including policies for employment, homes, transport, open space and a wide range of community and infrastructure development;
  • protect areas particularly sensitive to change e.g. nature conservation;
  • identify opportunities to deliver new development, growth and regeneration, and propose sites within the AAP boundary for certain uses;
  • co-ordinate transport and public realm proposals in the area;
  • set out a strategy for its development and regeneration, including how the opportunities presented by the development can be used to ensure that existing and nearby neighbouring communities benefit from the changes;
  • set out the strategy and timetable for the implementation of its proposals including phasing and identify short, medium and long term actions to promote and manage growth and change.

1.15 The CNFE AAP will be used by:

  • landowners, business owners to help them contribute to delivering the overall vision;
  • local government and public sector organisations to bring forward infrastructure that supports sustainable development;
  • local planning authorities making decisions on planning applications;
  • the local community to influence sustainable development in CNFE.

Evidence Base documents

1.16 A wide variety of other documents have informed and support the Issues and Options consultation. These include a Sustainability Appraisal, Employment Options Study and a Supporting Technical Statement. The Evidence Base documents are listed in Appendix 2 and can be views on the Councils’ websites (see paragraph 1.24).

How to get involved

1.17 This is your opportunity to tell us what you want CNFE to be like once it has been developed. What do you like and dislike about the area? What should be changed? What should stay the same? You may comment on one, some or all the questions.

1.18 To help you comment, we have outlined various issues that need to be tackled in CNFE, the different ways (options) we can deal with them, and the questions that we would like your answers to.

1.19 The report is arranged into different chapters:

  • Chapter 1 - Background information on the CNFE area, what the AAP is and how you can get involved.
  • Chapter 2 - Our aspirations and overall vision of how we think CNFE should develop.
  • Chapter 3 - The development objectives that come from the spatial vision.
  • Chapter 4 - The site boundary, explanation of the underlying rationale, and possible options to change it.
  • Chapter 5 - Important information on the strategic planning policy context.
  • Chapter 6 – A high level summary of the site context and constraints (more detailed information is available in the supporting technical statement).
  • Chapter 7 - Summary of proposed development principles.
  • Chapter 8 - Summary of redevelopment options.
  • Chapter 9 – Goes through the policy issues and options for CNFE.
  • Chapter 10 – Outlines the infrastructure issues and options and the key delivery and phasing issues, and how we propose to deal with them.

1.20 It is really important you get involved at this early stage when your input now can have the most influence in shaping the future of CNFE.

1.21 Consultation on the Issues and Options Report begins on Monday 8 December 2014. All comments must be received by 5pm on Monday 2 February 2015.

1.22 This Issues and Options Report, along with the questionnaire and details on how to make comments, are available to view on the Councils’ websites.


1.24 For more information, including the accompanying documents, go to the Councils’ websites:

1.25 For more details about how to get involved or if you have any queries, please contact either Cambridge City Council or South Cambridgeshire District Council:

Cambridge City Council:
Address: Planning Policy Team, Planning Services, Cambridge City Council, PO Box 700, Cambridge, CB1 0JH.
Email: policysurveys@cambridge.gov.uk
Tel: 01223 457384

South Cambridgeshire District Council:
Address: Planning Policy Team, Planning & New Communities, South Cambridgeshire Hall, Cambourne Business Park, Cambourne, Cambridge, CB23 6EA
Email: ldf@scambs.gov.uk
Tel: 01954 713183

What happens next?

1.26 This public consultation will not be your last chance to get involved.

1.27 The AAP will be prepared in two main stages, each stage providing you with an opportunity to give your views.

  • 1st stage – this document – the ‘Issues and Options’ stage. The comments you give us will be considered by us in preparing the 2nd stage.
  • 2nd stage - the Proposed Submission version, which we will invite your views on in the autumn of 2015.

1.28 It is anticipated that this plan will be submitted to the Secretary of State in 2016, to go through formal examination (where an independent inspector will consider whether the plan is sound), and be adopted in October 2016.

1.29 A summary of the key stages in the preparation of the AAP is below.

Stages of preparation of the Cambridge Northern Fringe East AAP

Figure 1A
For instructions on how to use the system and make comments, please see our help guide.
back to top back to top