Local Plans are produced by Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council and set out how much and where development should take place over the period of their plan. They also set out the policies that the Councils will use to assess applications for planning permission. The Local Plans are the most important documents for determining development in our area. They must comply with the government's National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Local Plans usually cover a 10-15 year period and are reviewed and revised, a process which allows local people to have their say.

Joint Local Plan for Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire 2019-2023

Since the planning departments from Cambridge City and South Cambs merged, now called Greater Cambridge Shared Planning, there is an obligation to produce a single Local Plan for the area. The ink was barely dry from the adoption of the joint local plan in 2018, when the next round of planning got underway. The next Local Plan process runs from 2019 with a government examination in 2022-23 and adoption in 2023-24.

There are several stages in this process and at each stage an opportunity for CambridgePPF, other organisations and individuals to put forward their ideas. The first, Issues & Options, phase was a public consultation called the "Big Conversation", which took place in the winter of 2019/20. You can read our response to this by clicking here.

In 2020/21 the local authorities commissioned over 30 studies to provide an evidence base for the plan. These included studies into water resources, green infrastructure, landscape and heritage as well as housing and employment needs. CambridgePPF has fed evidence directly into these studies as an organisation that owns and cares for land around Cambridge. We have also been carrying out our own study in partnership with the local Wildlife Trust to identify a Cambridge Nature Network and we have been fed the outputs of this work to the planners as part of the evidence base.

The biggest issue to be decided for this plan is the rate of growth that will be planned for. The government now requires that the minimum level of growth be determined by use of a formula and local councils cannot aim for growth below this without strong evidence. Although it is a "minimum" it is set at a deliberately high level in order to achieve the government target of building 300,000 houses a year across the UK. In the case of Greater Cambridge this would create a requirement for around 40,000 new houses by 2040. This is a lot of new houses but the last Local Plan made provision for such a huge amount of housing that there is already around 35,000 in the planning pipeline. However, councils can plan for higher levels of growth than the government minimum, and as Cambridge has grown so rapidly in recent years some organisations are arguing that the plan should aim for 60,000 new houses by 2040. CambridgePPF believes that the government minimum would be a massive level of growth but one that it might just be possible to accommodate without further significant detriment to the area. We believe that planning for growth beyond this level is unsustainable and we will be arguing for the minimum level.

The Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service has a website dedicated to the Local Plan process. On this you can find the results of consultations, outputs from evidence base studies and what the next stages in the plan are, click here.

Local Plan 2013-2018

Between 2013-2018 we invested a significant amount of time through the help of our volunteers engaging with the two councils during the Local Plan process. We have put forward our case in front of the government Planning Inspector at most of the hearings, including challenging developers on their speculative proposals, release of green belt land and the need for growth to be in the right places.

Before the hearings began, we signed a Statement of Common Ground with both Councils to show solidarity in resisting the pressures of the developers for much higher growth targets. Our presence at the hearings was often one of the only voices arguing on behalf of the local community for a more sustainable level of growth.

After 6 years the Inspector concluded the Examination and in September 2018 determined that both Local Plans are 'sound' and they were subsequently adopted. These Local Plans will be in use until a new Local Plan is adopted.

For the latest information on these Local Plans, please visit each Council's website: Cambridge City Local Plan and South Cambridgeshire Local Plan