Draft North East Cambridge Area Action Plan

Representation ID: 56014

Received: 05/10/2020

Respondent: Endurance Estates

Agent: Barton Willmore

Representation Summary:

Draft Policy 1 states that the Councils will work to secure the comprehensive regeneration of North East Cambridge during the plan period, in particular the creation of a new high quality mixed-use city district, providing at least 8,000 new homes, 20,000 new jobs, and new physical, social and environmental infrastructure. Draft Policy 1

The Draft Policy references both the Spatial Framework (Figure 10) and Land Use Plan (Figure 11), as shown below. (See submission attachment)

We have concerns regarding the quantum of development required within Draft Policy 1, and particularly the specified provision of “at least 8,000 new homes” (emphasis added). Given that the vast majority of these homes are to be provided on the eastern part of the Action Area (as shown in Figure 11, Proposed Land Uses), we are concerned that such a strategic-scale housing allocation should be focused on such a relatively small and highly constrained site. In addition to the 8,000+ proposed dwellings, Draft Policy 1 requires the provision of 20,000 new jobs and new physical, social and environmental infrastructure including three primary schools and safeguarded land for a secondary school.

Compared with strategic sites such as Cambourne, Northstowe and Waterbeach, the scale of residential development proposed is comparable, but necessitates residential densities that are unprecedented in the Cambridge area (see further comments on density below, re: Policy 9).

Whilst the NEC area is allocated in both the Cambridge Local Plan 2018 and South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018 (Policies 15 and SS/4, respectively), the Site is identified as a high-quality mixed-use development, primarily for employment within Use Classes B1, B2 and B8 as well as a range of supporting commercial, retail, leisure and residential uses (subject to acceptable environmental conditions). Whilst the local plan policies state that the amount of development, site capacity, viability, timescales and phasing of development are to be determined through the preparation of the AAP, we are of the view that the quantum proposed in the Draft NECAAP does not reflect the relevant policies within the adopted development plans. If the NEC Site is to be brought forward for the amount of development that is currently proposed, then this increased scale should be considered for allocation within the emerging Greater Cambridge Local Plan through the local plan process.

On a related note, the large number of unresolved constraints on development at NEC raise serious concerns regarding viability and delivery. Draft Policy 1 and the associated plans (Figures 10 and 11) provide very limited flexibility to accommodate local environmental factors, site constraints and market forces as land parcels come forward for development over time. In the meantime, we consider that the proposed quantum of development and the associated parameter plans should be considered indicative only. We remain of the view that requiring a minimum of 8,000 dwellings is too much, given both the size of the area allocated for housing and the various site constraints that remain at the time of the policies being drafted.