5. Vision & Strategic Objectives

What you told us previously

We proposed a vision and objectives for the AAP.

A wide variety of opinion was expressed. There was support for achieving a comprehensive and masterplanned development of the area around the new railway station. There were mixed views on whether the Water Recycling Centre should be relocated. Some considered the vision should be focused more on housing development. Others were concerned about the impact on existing uses and businesses. Infrastructure needs were highlighted, both in terms of services and facilities on the site, and transport connections off the site. We also received a number of comments on the existing constraints of the site, and future opportunities.

5.1 In 2014, we consulted on an employment led vision for Cambridge Northern Fringe East, reflecting the allocations of the Local Plans and the significant constraint of the Water Recycling Centre. There was overall support for this from the comments received but also support for a more ambitious comprehensive and masterplanned regeneration of the area, recognising this is the last major brownfield site in Cambridge and the potential that could be realised by provision of the new railway station and extension to the Guided Busway.

5.2 However, with Cambridge City Council and Anglian Water's HIF bid receiving positive support from Homes England, the extent and ambition for the regeneration has grown with the ability, through HIF funding, for the relocation of the Water Recycling Centre. Subject to this funding, this would remove this significant constraint on the site that previously limited development to compatible employment and industrial uses and a small amount of residential.

5.3 In addition, significant new transport infrastructure has been delivered serving the NEC area which radically changes the accessibility model for the area and makes sustainable modes a realistic and viable reality to support an innovative low carbon way of living.

5.4 The 2014 approach made best use of the land at that time but did not allow for the creation of a balanced and mixed community that creates the real possibility of a self-sustaining new City District, that responds to the transport challenges and opportunities facing the area. Accordingly, a new vision for North East Cambridge is now proposed that captures the ambition for the area and that puts innovation and a sense of community at its heart. Such a vision captures the spirit of enterprise and technological excellence to create a gateway to Cambridge and which also reflects the inherent qualities of the Cambridge area. The Centre for Cities organisation provides a helpful definition of what great Innovation Districts are all about, bringing together 'leading research institutions such as universities and R&D companies with large firms and small start-ups in well connected, mixed-use, urban locations that are attractive places to live, work and play.'[4]

Innovation Districts from around the world


22@Barcelona Innovation District

Pompano Beach Innovation District


Area Action Plan Vision

'North East Cambridge – A socially and economically inclusive, thriving, and low- carbon place for innovative living and working; inherently walkable where everything is on your doorstep'

Issue: Future Vision for the North East Cambridge area

(35) Question 5: Do you agree with the proposed Vision for the future of the North East Cambridge area? If not, what might you change?

Overarching Objectives

5.5 The following AAP 19 objectives are key to realising the broad strategic vision for the North East Cambridge area:

A place with a strong identity that successfully integrates into Cambridge, bringing economic growth and prosperity that is delivered with social justice and equality

  1. NEC will be design-led to create a true 'place making' approach to fostering an identity rooted in the essence of Cambridge and which promotes a sense of belonging and liveability, bringing together a diverse range of business and employment opportunities, education and training, living options, retail and recreation in a vibrant, safe and integrated mixed use district.
  2. NEC will be demonstrably resource efficient, supporting the transition to zero carbon living that successfully combines low-tech green solutions with high-tech smart city technology to respond positively to the challenges of climate change.
  3. NEC will be a new walkable district for Cambridge that promotes easy navigation and transition between sustainable transport modes using density and critical mass to support and sustain uses.
  4. NEC will provide a new model for low car dependency living, through maximising the use of and integrating with public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure.
  5. NEC will integrate with surrounding communities, spreading the benefits it delivers to surrounding areas.

A high quality, healthy, biodiverse place which will be a major contributor to achieving zero carbon in Greater Cambridge by 2050

  1. High quality spaces and buildings will be multi-functional to create a richer, fine grain and more vibrant place that makes efficient and effective use of the land and allows imaginative rethinking of existing buildings and spaces.
  2. Green spaces will be a core part of the place structure extending, connecting and improving biodiversity to achieve a net gain and integrating Sustainable Drainage Systems within the development.
  3. Microclimate will be understood at all scales and development forms designed to maximise positive orientation.
  4. Individual neighbourhoods will be attractive, human in scale and have their own recognisable and legible identity.
  5. NEC will be a healthy place, with a focus on creating a new community with good health and wellbeing.
  6. Seamless links between adjacent land uses will ensure a workable and consistent approach that ensures the quality of place is maintained at a high level over the longer term.

A City Innovation District which will deliver affordable homes, a diverse range of quality jobs and excellent neighbourhood facilities

  1. NEC will deliver economic growth and prosperity that achieves social justice and equality.
  2. NEC will be a welcoming and inclusive district that supports the knowledge economy of Cambridge with a local and global reach
  3. Innovative and adaptable, so that it is resilient and able to evolve and adapt over time.
  4. NEC will make a significant contribution to the housing needs of the Greater Cambridge area including affordable housing and a range of housing types and tenure.
  5. NEC will provide a layered economy that includes large, small and start-up businesses, integrated with opportunities to facilitate collaboration between educational institutions and businesses and supported by business uses such as cafés, hotels, leisure facilities and service providers that help create community.
  6. NEC will be an inherently legible place centred round identifiable new centres of activity and focussed on a new green space network and sustainable transport infrastructure.
  7. Density will not mean 'town cramming' but will respond positively to the uses and accessibility of the site to create a critical mass capable of creating a self-sustaining place.
  8. NEC will consider its role in meeting the strategic needs of the city, for example enabling the continued use of the minerals railhead.

Issue: Overarching Objectives

(37) Question 6: Do you agree with the overarching Objectives? If not, what might you change?

Supporting Study



Landscape Character & Visual Impact Assessment

An assessment of the impact of development on the landscape and key view points, and potential mitigation measures.

To be completed

Development Capacity Study

An assessment of the capacity of the relevant land parcels within NEC to accommodate development (including employment activities, residential and other uses) including the quantum of floorspace and assumed typologies.

To be completed

North East Cambridge Leisure and Cultural Placemaking Strategy

A Leisure and Cultural Strategy will explore issues regarding service provision and place making.

To be completed

For instructions on how to use the system and make comments, please see our help guide.
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