10. Retail, Leisure and Community Services & Facilities

What you told us previously

We asked you about the approach to services and facilities for the area, and what a new local centre for the area should be like.

You told us you were supportive of services being provided in the area, to help create a vibrant community. Early provision was needed due to pressure on existing facilities. A new local centre should complement other nearby centres. There was some support for provision of a hotel in the area.

We asked you whether we should use Cambridge Local Plan's open space standards rather than the South Cambs standards.

You told us there was general support for this approach. Open space was an important way of making places pleasant to live and work. We should also consider how the site links up to green infrastructure in the wider area. We also needed to consider the need for formal sports.

Retail and Leisure

10.1 Being primarily an employment area, the current NEC area has little by way of existing retail or local services. The intensification of employment use and substantial new housing will drive a need for new provision. North East Cambridge provides an opportunity to deliver new shops, services and infrastructure that can offer opportunity and improve amenities in this part of Cambridge. The form and function of this requires careful consideration. The quantity and type of retail and leisure provision should fully meet local needs (residents, businesses and visitors) but should not seek to compete with the City Centre, which will continue to provide higher order services and facilities for this new community.

10.2 Such centres can help provide a focus for community, cultural and civic life. To fulfil this function they will need to be welcoming, attractive, vibrant and inclusive, adding to the character and appreciation of NEC, rather than becoming another indistinguishable generic local centre or shopping parade. In this respect, a mix of unit sizes should be provided to cater for both national as well as independent traders and should enable a diverse range of retail and leisure uses, including shops, local small supermarkets, bars, cafes, and restaurants, as well as public and private sector services. Consideration should also be given to extending activity into the evening.

Issue: Retail and Leisure

(12) Question 55: Do you agree with the range of considerations that the AAP will need to have regard to in planning for new retail and town centre provision in the North East Cambridge area? Are there other important factors we should be considering?

(6) Question 56: Should the Councils be proposing a more multi-dimensional interpretation of the role of a town centre or high street for the North East Cambridge area, where retail is a key but not solely dominant element?

Community Facilities

10.3 A range of community facilities will be required to serve local residents and staff. This will require either new provision on site, or improvements to existing facilities. Where these are off site, we will need to consider how these can be easily accessed. The Councils are in discussion with service providers on what these needs are, and this will continue as the draft AAP is developed.

Issue: Community Facilities

(44) Question 57: What community facilities are particularly needed in the North East Cambridge area?

Open Space

10.4 Open spaces can provide for a variety of uses including amenity, recreation, education, biodiversity, drainage & flood management, sustainable transport, to help mitigate climate change and maintain air quality. Open space also delivers a range of health benefits[7]. Active open space often requires facilities and structures to support and promote this use, such as toilets, walkways, run routes, interpretation material, seating, tables, children's play areas and sports fields. There is also a need for such areas to be located and designed to meet the needs of the community. There may be opportunities to seek innovative approaches in this area, such as use of roof space for sport or play use. As we move forward a sports strategy will be needed, to consider how the needs of the new development will be met, building on the findings of the Councils' existing Playing Pitch Strategy and Indoor Facilities Strategy.

10.5 Well designed and managed spaces can help bring communities together, provide a place to meet, relax and exercise. Poor maintenance and management of park spaces, on the other hand, can deter people from visiting and using and appreciating these spaces. Barriers to participation can include fear of crime / feeling unsafe, lack of facilities / things to do, mess (e.g. dog mess, rubbish) and lack of accessibility for the disabled. Spaces also need to be appropriately located so that they can be enjoyed as intended and are suitable for use.

10.6 Opportunities exist to enhance access to the existing open space serving the area, and to improve the quality of these spaces to increase their use and their contribution to the amenity of the area.

10.7 In order to make best use of this highly accessible urban area, it may not be practicable to meet all the needs for sport and open space on site. Meeting needs could rely in part on connections to enhanced facilities and open spaces beyond the development.

Issue: Open Space

(10) Question 58: It is recognised that maximising the development potential of the North East Cambridge area may require a different approach to meeting the sport and open space needs of the new community. How might this be achieved?

(11) Question 59: Should open space provision within the North East Cambridge area prioritise quality and functionality over quantity?

(9) Question 60: Should open space provision within the North East Cambridge area seek to provide for the widest variety of everyday structured and unstructured recreational opportunities, including walking, jogging, picnics, formal and informal play, casual sports, games, dog walking and youth recreation?

(5) Question 61: Where specific uses are required to provide of open space as part of the development, should the AAP allow for these to be met through multiple shared use (for example school playing fields & playing pitches for the general public)?

Supporting Study



Cambridgeshire Flood & Water SPD

Provides guidance on the approach that should be taken to manage flood risk and the water environment as part of new development proposals.


Cambridge and Milton Surface Water Management Plan

Outlines the preferred strategy for the management of surface water in the area. Prepared by Cambridgeshire Flood Risk Management Partnership in 2011.


Decarbonising Cambridge

Evidence base to inform setting targets for the CO2 performance of new developments in Cambridge. Prepared in 2010 to support the Cambridge Local Plan. This study provides an assessment of the feasibility of sustainable design and construction standards for new development in Cambridge, and provides useful background for suggested approaches to carbon reduction.


Cambridge Sustainable Drainage Design and Adoption Guide

This guide is primarily intended for use by developers and their consultants where they are seeking adoption of SUDS (Sustainable drainage systems) by Cambridge City Council within the public open space of new developments. It sets out the design and adoption requirements that the City Council will be looking for, in order to ensure a smooth and satisfactory adoption process.


Cambridge Tree Strategy 2016 to 2026

Sets out Cambridge City Council policies for managing the city's trees to maximise their benefits. Approved in 2015.


[7] See Section 2 of Cambridgeshire New Developments & Built Environment Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) 2015/16

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