Propose land around Cambridge not to be built on? That’s a novel idea.

The creation of a Local Plan in England starts by asking landowners and developers if they have land that they would like to build on (unsurprisingly they usually do). It’s a process known as a “call for sites” and took place in greater Cambridge in the spring of 2019. We don’t know what land has been suggested but our councils do, and they have indicated that over 500 sites were put forward totalling far more land than would ever be needed.

Would it be better to ask what land we would want to see used for the benefit of people and nature, and then fit any development around these? Where would we like to have new nature reserves, parks, green corridors and woodlands? This would be a “call for green sites” where landowners and the public could suggest land where they would like to see this happen.

It’s a novel approach but one that our councils are giving a go. As part of the first stage of public consultation on the Greater Cambridge Local Plan they are asking people to put forward potential green spaces and wildlife habitat.

There is a lot of pessimism about the environment at the moment, so this is a welcome opportunity for people to propose something positive, and for landowners to step up and do their bit. Cambridge Past, Present & Future will be putting forward some of our land as well as suggesting where we think new green sites could deliver the best benefits for nature and people.

If you would like to suggest new green places in the greater Cambridge area then now is the time to do it. Perhaps if you are involved with an organisation that owns land, such as a Cambridge College, large business or religious group, then you could approach them to ask if they would be willing to put forward any of their land.

Green spaces submitted to this call for sites could include Wildlife opportunity sites, Country Parks, Neighbourhood Public Parks & Gardens, Informal Parkland & amenity space, Growing spaces (including allotments, community gardens and orchards), Natural & Semi Natural Open Space, Green space for carbon offsetting and tree planting, Green space for flood storage and River restoration.

The deadline is 24 February 2020 and you can find more details at