North East Cambridge Area Action Plan Issues and Options 2019
Representation ID: 33600
Respondent: Historic England
We broadly support higher density, however, no mention of exact appropriate building heights alongside no evidence-base included to explain the impact that the varying heights of buildings might have on designated heritage assets make it difficult to comment.
It is likely that new buildings of similar heights to those on the existing Cambridge Business Park would not adversely impact on the setting of nearby heritage assets. However, the vicinity of Cambridge North station could potentially adversely impact on the character and appearance of conservation areas such as Cambridge central, Fen Ditton and the setting of listed buildings within those conservation areas. Without a robust evidence base Historic England is unable to support a more flexible approach to the issue of building heights within the AAP.
Thank you for your consultation in respect of the above document. As the Government's adviser on the historic environment Historic England is keen to ensure that the protection of the historic environment is fully taken into account at all stages and levels of the local planning process.
Historic England is primarily concerned with the historic environment and from an examination of our records it is clear that there are no designated heritage assets within, or immediately adjacent to, the area covered by the proposed Area Action Plan (AAP). However, depending on the scale of new buildings on the site, there is the potential for development of this area to impact on the setting of nearby heritage assets. Those include assets located within the historic core of Cambridge, the character and appearance of the central conservation area (and in particular the eastern arm that extends along the river corridor immediately to the south of this site) and the conservation area of Fen Ditton to the east of the site, including the wider setting of the many listed buildings that lie within that conservation area.
Our detailed comments are listed below by paragraph/question/figure.
Glossary - Historic Environment typo - time rather than tine. We also suggest the addition of a definition for Conservation Areas.
Paragraph 4.14 We welcome this section on townscape and landscape. We welcome the requirement to maintain and, where appropriate, enhance the overall character and qualities of the townscape and skyline of Cambridge as the city continues to develop into the future. We suggest that the Cambridge Central and Fen Ditton Conservation Areas are specifically mentioned in this paragraph. As set out above, development of this area has the potential to impact upon the wider settings of these conservation areas.
Question 6 Overarching Objectives. Whilst we broadly welcome the overarching objectives for NEC, there is no mention of the Historic Environment and in particular the conservation areas and listed buildings/townscape and skyline. Some reference to the historic environment needs to be included in the objectives. Objective 9 could also benefit from adding reference the need for development to draw on to local vernacular/buildings materials etc.
Question 15 of the document asks should clusters of taller buildings around areas of high accessibility including district and local centres and transport stops form part of a design-led approach to this new city district. We would broadly support higher density development around transport interchanges and district or local centres. However, the consultation refers to appropriate building heights with no mention of what height might be considered appropriate. Unfortunately there is no evidence base included with the document to explain the impact that the varying heights of buildings might have on designated heritage assets to the south west, south and east of this site. It is therefore difficult to objectively comment on the potential impact of taller buildings. You will be aware that we had considerable input into the Local Plan policy for tall buildings. We commend the approach set out in the Local Plan to this situation. We note that page 82 indicates that a Landscape Character and Visual Impact Assessment is to be completed. This work might help to inform an appropriate strategy in this regard. The impact of tall buildings on the Conservation Areas, listed buildings, townscape and wider skyline will require careful consideration.
We can comment that it is likely that new buildings of similar heights to those on the existing Cambridge Business Park would not adversely impact on the setting of nearby heritage assets. However, the new Cambridge North station is located in the southeast corner of the site and tall buildings in the vicinity of this station would have an increased potential to adversely impact on the character and appearance of the Cambridge central conservation area (and in particular the eastward arm that extends along the river corridor to the south of this site), the Fen Ditton conservation area to the east and the setting of listed buildings within both conservation areas. Without a robust evidence base Historic England is unable to support a more flexible approach to the issue of building heights within the AAP.
Finally, we should like to stress that this opinion is based on the information provided by the Council in its consultation. To avoid any doubt, this does not affect our obligation to provide further advice and, potentially, object to specific proposals, which may subsequently arise where we consider that these would have an adverse effect upon the historic environment.
If you have any questions with regards to the comments made then please do get back to me. In the meantime we look forward to continuing to work with you and your colleagues.