8.5 Planning contributions

Planning contributions can take the form of financial or in-kind contributions from developers to mitigate the impacts from the development. These help to provide affordable housing, can secure employment opportunities during the construction of a development as well as infrastructure, all of which should be provided in a timely manner alongside development. The mechanism for planning contributions across the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan will be different from those set out in the adopted 2018 Local Plans because the site is located in both authorities, and because the site needs a significant level of infrastructure investment. This policy sets out how this process will work.

  • You acknowledged the need for developer contributions to deliver the infrastructure that will support development within North East Cambridge. There was no clear preferred approach to securing and delivering the necessary infrastructure, and whether it would be via a Section 106 agreement or an alternative mechanism.
  • Given the complexities of the site, most comments seemed to support in principle a strategic site wide approach. Comments mentioned that a strategic approach could enable equitable contributions across different land owners.
  • One comment mentioned that it was important that development also provides off-site enhancements.
  • Your comments made it clear that, to achieve good growth principles and to improve the walking and cycling network within the area, developer contributions would be key in funding and delivering these.

How your comments and options have been considered

  • This policy responds to comments by identifying a robust mechanism that mitigates the negative impact of new development and contributes to site-wide infrastructure where relevant. These contributions are sought in a coherent manner to prioritise infrastructure that supports good growth.

(9)Policy 27: Planning Contributions

The Councils will seek appropriate planning contributions on a scheme-by-scheme basis to:

  1. finance the early delivery of major strategic infrastructure as identified in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan established up-front by the Councils, such as a strategic noise barrier, road, rail and guided busway crossings, digital infrastructure such as a site wide energy efficient power network, open space and recreation facilities, strategic drainage, education facilities, training and community facilities and strategic public transport;
  2. secure the provision of affordable housing in relation to residential development schemes, employment opportunities;
  3. mitigate site specific impacts made necessary by the proposal.

It is expected that applicants engage in pre-application discussions with the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service to agree draft S106 Heads of Terms that will be submitted with each application.


Where there are concerns with site specific development viability, the onus is on the applicant to provide clear evidence of the specific site circumstances. Viability concerns should be raised at the pre-application stage.

Where viability considerations are accepted, the Councils will determine the balance of obligations and will require a future review and, where appropriate, clawback mechanisms.

Relevant Objectives: 1, 2, 3, 4

Planning contributions from developments will be secured to ensure infrastructure is delivered in a timely manner to mitigate and support new development within North East Cambridge.

The mechanism for planning contributions for North East Cambridge Area Action Plan differs from those set out in the adopted 2018 Local Plans due to the site's location across both authorities.

Developer contributions towards infrastructure will be key in overcoming the significant challenges in delivering the site in line with the Area Action Plan's good growth ambitions and ensuring that development is viable. For example, the area's significant transport challenges require a level of investment in sustainable travel infrastructure to ensure that the trip budget can be met. Equally, development will need to contribute to the mitigation of human health constraints such as noise, air quality and land contamination prior to development coming forward, all of which are shared issues across the Plan area.

The Area Action Plan brings together within a single document both Councils' policies relating to planning contributions in North East Cambridge. It sets out the affordable housing requirement that will apply to new residential development. It also sets out how planning obligations will be secured for the provision or improvement of infrastructure, including open space, education, transport and public realm infrastructure.

The affordable housing and planning contributions requirements set out within the Area Action Plan will not undermine development viability.

The Plan has to ensure its deliverability given the significant site wide infrastructure requirements, therefore the Councils will seek to establish strategic infrastructure upfront. Contributions for this initial financing will be sought through an equitable apportionment costs mechanism through the plan period.

  • Investment and timely provision of infrastructure and community facilities alongside new development
  • Progress and development on strategic site allocations
  • Affordable dwellings permitted as a percentage of all dwellings permitted on sites where the policy requiring affordable dwellings applies

Cambridge Local Plan 2018

  • Policy 85: Infrastructure delivery, planning obligations and the Community Infrastructure Levy             

South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018

  • Policy SS/4: Cambridge Northern Fringe East and Cambridge North railway station
  • Policy TI/8: Infrastructure and New Developments
  • Policy H/10: Affordable Housing
  • Policy E/14: Loss of Employment Land to Non Employment Uses Policy
  • Policy E/22: Applications for New Retail Development
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