The councils of Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire have published where they think 44,000 houses and 58,000 new jobs should be built and are asking us what we think.

This is what planners call a spatial strategy, but for local residents this is the thing that matters most, and the question for you is: “how will new development effect the place where I live”.

People often feel that the development of their area is imposed upon them by local authorities, developers and agencies and that local people don’t have a say. That is often because by the time people find out what is planned, it is already too late – decisions HAVE been made. Those decisions are now being made so, if you want to influence the future of your neighbourhood or village then this is the time to do it.

So, where are they planning to build? The location for new housing is principally in large new developments that are already being planned or have previously been earmarked for development. These include, amongst others, Cambourne, Northstowe New Town, North West Cambridge/Eddington, North East Cambridge, Waterbeach New Town and Cambridge Airport. The council’s proposals are that these large new developments should be built more densely and more quickly than previously planned, thus increasing the number of houses provided by 2041 without the need to allocate further land for development. This approach is probably to be welcomed but it does mean that, if Cambridge continues to grow rapidly, that any future local plan will need to identify new large development sites from 2041 onward. So, there is some political can kicking here.

Not all the development is in these large sites, and some is proposed to be built on the green belt. This includes an extension of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, extension of Babraham Research Campus and 100 houses in Great Shelford, all on the southern edge of the city. A group has already formed to campaign against the latter.

It is important that people are made aware of what is being planned and how it will affect them. For example, building houses on Cambridge Airport has long been in discussion but many people living on the eastern side of the city will be unaware that this will mean that the airport will eventually be replaced by around 12,000 new houses and an additional 30,000 people, something which will transform the area.

The public consultation runs until 13 December, information can be found at the councils have also arranged some online briefings to help people understand their plans, one of these on 11 Nov 12-1pm is about the location of new development. There are also opportunities for people living in eastern Cambridge to find out more at a coffee morning and drop in at Barnwell on 19 and 20 November.