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News release from 11/12/2018

Could regeneration deliver low carbon community on edge of Cambridge?

Could regeneration deliver low carbon community on edge of Cambridge?

Plans have been published for how a major brownfield site on the northern edge of Cambridge could be regenerated to deliver a new low carbon community with thousands of new homes, jobs and high quality facilities.

The Greater Cambridge shared planning service – a partnership between South Cambridgeshire District and Cambridge City Councils – have published a joint plan for how a new district could be created on the land between the A14, new Cambridge North Railway Station and Cambridge Science Park.

Councillors at both Councils will now discuss the plans before a public consultation exploring the issues for the site, and options for regenerating it, is carried out early next year.

Comments on the issues facing the site will be invited during the consultation. These include:

  • The overall vision for the area
  • The types of development that could take place
  • Any constraints influencing how it is developed

Comments received will help shape the Councils’ understanding of the opportunities, benefits and challenges for the area. It will also influence how the development could help address housing and employment needs across Greater Cambridge.

Ideas within the report include the opportunity to create a “low carbon” district. This reflects the fact that jobs in the adjoining science and business parks could be supported by nearby new homes and local facilities for new and existing residents and businesses, reducing the need to commute.

Following initial feedback, it also highlights the need to significantly reduce the reliance on private cars at the development, so it does not further contribute to congestion on the local roads in the area. The site is next to the Cambridge North Railway Station and the Guided Busway and has good walking and cycling links.

Anglian Water’s water treatment facility will need to be relocated for comprehensive regeneration of the area to take place. In the past the cost of relocating the facility has meant this has not been an option the Councils could consider.

However, a bid to Government under their Housing Infrastructure Fund – which was set up to help sites like Cambridge Northern Fringe get off the ground – has recently been submitted to move the water treatment facility. The bid successfully passed the first round of Government assessment and the final outcome is expected in the spring.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Scrutiny Committee will consider the plans on Tuesday 18 December before the Council’s Cabinet will be asked to agree a public consultation at their meeting on Wednesday 9 January. Cambridge City Council’s Planning Policy and Transport Scrutiny Committee will also consider them on Tuesday 15 January.

Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer (pictured - above left), South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Deputy Leader and Lead Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, said: “We have a unique opportunity to regenerate this significant brownfield area on the edge of the city to provide environmentally friendly living. We need to take a different approach here to car use as the network in this area simply cannot cope. By putting homes, jobs, excellent public transport links and facilities together in the right way we can achieve a new type of low carbon living. This would also keep people’s commutes to a minimum, reducing their overall cost of living, and therefore making the homes more affordable to live in. Subject to approvals by Councillors, a public consultation will launch early next year. I really hope that people will get involved in this, as your views on how we develop a plan for this area are really important.”

Cllr Kevin Blencowe (pictured - above right), Cambridge City Executive Councillor for Planning, said, “If the bid to Government is successful, this will be a game changer, as it enables us as a community to decide what role the future northern fringe will play in meeting Greater Cambridge’s growth needs. As one of our last strategic brownfield sites, it has the potential to deliver a wide range of benefits, not just for the area but the city as a whole. I strongly encourage everyone to engage in the forthcoming consultation to ensure we achieve a high-quality plan that will deliver our aspirations for this important part of the City.”

The public consultation is proposed to be carried out early next year. More details will be published at the start of 2019.

The full report is available to read on this part of our website.

The report has been published as part of the agenda for South Cambridgeshire District Council's upcoming Scrutiny and Overview Committee meeting on 18 December.