We monitor and review planning policies and planning applications. We respond when we are concerned about their impact on heritage, landscape, environment and quality of life. In 2019 we responded formally to 46 applications, plans or proposals.

We do not have sufficient resources to submit written responses to all the development proposals that we review, and so we do not usually respond to proposals when we have no major concerns or significant comments to make about them.

Click on the links below to read some of our responses, the most recent is at the top.

2020 Responses

  • Proposals for a new Cambridge South train station. Our response to a public consultation by Network Rail on proposals for station access, construction compounds and indicative designs. We support the principle of a new station and the location selected. We are pleased with principles for landscape and biodiversity mitigation but encourage Network Rail to appoint a quality architectural practice.
  • Application to build a new police station in the green belt near Milton. We objected to this planning application by the constabulary because it is contrary to planning policy: It is in the green belt, there is no evidence that there will be a gain in biodiversity, the development is predicated on car travel and there is excessive car parking and unsympathetic high security landscaping.
  • Proposals for a radical reform of the planning system. Our response to a public consultation by the government for reforms to the planning system in England. We have serious concerns about these reforms because instead of solving the housing crisis they will result in a less democratic system, with less community involvement and therefore less desirable outcomes. We are concerned about the capacity of community groups to engage in a more intense Local Plan process and of the resources available for already over-stretched planning departments - and that the term "Protected areas" is misleading because they are not actually protected!
  • Plans for a new urban centre in north east Cambridge. Our response to a public consultation by City and South Cambs Councils on a draft Area Action Plan to create a significant high density development. We do not have confidence that the market can deliver the welcome aspirations for this development and we stress the need to establish a local delivery vehicle to achieve the vision. We raise concerns about the lack of a large green space, building heights and impacts on views, the overall density proposed and the overly ambitious car reduction targets for the science park. The Action Plan was developed prior to Covid-19 and we question whether some of the assumptions used are now valid.
  • Proposals to relocate Cambridge Sewage Works. Our response to a public consultation by Anglia Water to relocate the works into the green belt to enable the creation of a new urban district in north east Cambridge. We highlight the need to consider the impact on the green belt, landscape and ecology and of the opportunity to create a state-of-the art environmental recycling centre.
  • 14-17 Regent's Terrace (Parker's Piece), Cambridge. We object to an application for a new block of flats which we consider to be out of character and well short of the quality that should be acceptable for a prominent location next to one of the city's main green spaces and in a Conservation Area.
  • Conversion of offices to flats in northwest Cambridge. This is one of the worst development proposals we have ever seen and we have objected to the conversion of the poor quality 1960s office/laboratory extension to the NIAB building into 95 undersized flats, all of which fail to meet minimum standards in almost every respect.
  • 29 High Street, Chesterton. We objected to an application to demolish buildings and build new ones in a Cambridge Conservation Area.
  • Stapleford Retirement village. We object to an application to build a retirement village on green belt countryside because it is a speculative proposal that is not in the Local Plan and is contrary to national and local planning policy. We also raise concerns about the viability of the proposed countryside park that is part of this application.
  • East Cambridge future transport. Our response to a public consultation by the Greater Cambridge Partnership about improving transport on the eastern side of the city. We stress the importance of green corridors and Wilbraham Fen SSSI and the need to protect them. We highlight the opportunities presented by the under-used rail line.
  • Cambridge-Waterbeach future transport. Our response to a public consultation by the Greater Cambridge Partnership about improving transport between Cambridge and Waterbeach. We stress the importance of the wildlife corridor alongside the River Cam and the need to protect this. We highlight that there are so many proposals that they are competing with each, potentially wasting public funds and that their cumulative impact on the green belt countryside would be significant.
  • Park & Ride car park between Trumpington and Hauxton. We object because this is the wrong scheme in the wrong place. It is a short-term solution that will create a long-term impact. It will result in building over the green belt countryside in order to create a giant car park and associated roads and other intrusive infrastructure. Even the council admits that “it is estimated the use of the Travel Hub would result in an increase of carbon emissions over the next 60 years.” We note that it will be at least 15 years before new trees/hedges grow sufficiently to mitigate the visual impacts of this scheme on the landscape.
  • Cambridge Metro policy. Our response to a public consultation by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority on a new policy for a future Cambridge Metro. We raised concerns about whether the huge costs of such a scheme can ever be met and the lack of a Plan B if that proves to be the case. We also highlight that the environmental aspects of the proposed policy should be significantly improved.
  • A10 Corridor Transport/Road Dualling. Our response to a public consultation by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority on their ideas for reducing journey times on the A10 between Cambridge and Ely. We feel that building new roads during a climate and biodiversity emergency is not the right solution and instead we would like to see investment in cycling, public transport and junction improvements.
  • Kings Road, Hardwick. We object in principle to a proposal to demolish farm barns and build an office and car park because the development is in the green belt, in a Conservation Area and outside the Village Development Framework.
  • Lilac Court, Cambridge. We raise a number of concerns about plans to build new houses in a residential area, including the impact on trees, over-development, loss of cycle parking and impact on the amenity of residents.
  • St Matthew's Piece, Cambridge. We object in principle to a proposal put forward by Federated Hermes to construct a block of student flats adjacent to a Cambridge park. In our view the best scenario for the long-term future of St Matthew’s Piece is to remove the current building when it reaches the end of its life and expand the park into a green square in order to better serve the community. We also raise concerns about the design of the flats.
  • Netherhall Farm GB1, Wort's Causeway. We raise a number of concerns and objections to proposals to build 200 new homes on former greenbelt land on the south side of Cambridge. Including impacts on views, the landscape and nature and also the failure to develop a scheme that will create a new community rather than a suburban extension.
  • Conversion of Anstey Hall, Trumpington, into residential home and 87 new flats. Anstey Hall is a significant building and grounds, whilst we are not opposed in principle to the proposals put forward, this application clearly needs further work before it could be approved. We note several objections from council officers due to inadequate information. There is no consideration of the ecological impacts. We recommend that it is withdrawn in order for further work to be carried out and to re-think some of the designs.
  • Cambridge Autonomous Metro (CAM) Consultation seeking the views on whether a CAM was needed and on initial proposals for underground sections in Cambridge. We raised concerns about whether the huge costs of such a scheme can ever be met and the lack of a Plan B if that proves to be the case. The consultation is lacking sufficient information to provide informed responses. We raise concerns about this scheme leading to higher levels of development and the impact of the CAM itself on heritage, environment and communities.
  • Erection of 6 flats to the rear of The Seven Stars Public House, Newmarket Road, Cambridge. We commented on the outline application to erect 6 studio flats on a scrap of land at the rear of The Seven Stars Public House.  The proposed dwellings are just 13.2sqm in size falling far below the government standard of 37sqm for a 1 bedroom flat.  We suggested that the Council should not be supporting the over development of scraps of land to provide inadequate housing. 
  • Greater Cambridge Local Plan - First Conversation. This consultation by Cambridge and South Cambs Councils posed 50 questions to identify the main issues and opportunities that a new Local Plan will need to address. This was not a small task and took us two months to consider. Our responses cover the full breadth of the planning spectrum: levels of growth, spatial patterns of development, the environment, heritage, place making and well-being. In our response we challenge the high levels of growth suggested and we outline a proposal for a Cambridge Landscapes Nature Recovery Network as a solution for the Local Plan to tackle the biodiversity emergency and improve well-being. We have also published a series of blogs about some of the issues raised by the Local Plan consultation.  
  • South Cambridge Station Consultation by Network Rail. In principle we support the new station and our main concerns are to ensure that the new station does not negatively impact the adjacent country park, its wildlife and users and that any impacts on Nine Wells Nature Reserve, Hobson’s Brook and an ancient monument are minimised. Our secondary concern is that the new station should essentially be “car free” and does not become a magnet for London commuters’ cars. Therefore it must be supported by excellent walking, cycling and public transport links. 
  • Downing Street Junction Consultation. We commented on the proposed changes to the busy Downing Street Junction in Cambridge by recommending that due care and consideration is given to street signage, street furniture and road markings to respect the conservation area, adjacent listed buildings and positive street views.
  • Fernleigh Farm Teversham redevelopment proposals.  The proposals are for redevelopment of the site to expand current use.  In principle we do not object to this proposal but have commented on two areas of concern: transport, and the need to upgrade the cycle route that accesses the site, and landscaping to enhance the setting and biodiversity of the site.
  • 32 St Andrew's Street change of use to a public house.  The site was previously occupied by Cambridge Building Society and occupies a prominent site at the corner of St Andrew's Street and Downing Street.  We have objected to this application on the grounds that it will cause further congestion for pedestrians, deliveries to the site will cause disruption to traffic, cycle and pedestrian routes and it will increase the concentration of public houses and eating establishments in this area. Overall the proposed change appears ill-conceived for such a busy and prominent location and will not contribute positively to the Central Cambridge Conservation Area.

  • Climate Change & Environmental Strategy (DRAFT) of Cambridgeshire County Council. We welcome this strategy from the County Council and suggest some ways that their strategy could be improved. In particular we highlight the need to include land owned by the County Council that it wishes to develop through its property company This Land. These developments provide an opportunity to be exemplars of the County Council’s Climate Change & Environment Strategy by building housing to the highest carbon neutral standards, by achieving high levels of net-biodiversity gain and providing green infrastructure, climate mitigation through tree planting and flood mitigation. They should also be exemplars of housing design which support cycling, walking and public transport. Such developments would provide leadership and set hight standards for the private sector to follow. We would like to see a clear statement in this document that this is its aspiration for This Land and the development of County Council land.
  • Hill Trees, Babraham Road an application for change of use from public house car park to car sales. This is the former public house on the hill between Babraham Road roundabout at Great Shelford and the MaGog Hills. It has not been a public house for almost 20 years and yet the application is to simply change the use from a pub car park to a lot for car sales. We have serious concerns about the lack of sufficient information included in the application as well as the impact both to biodiversity and visually. 
  • Barnwell Junction House- new fencing proposal immediately adjacent to the Cambridge Leper Chapel. We feel that security fencing is inappropriate given its context and proximity to the Grade I listed Chapel.
  • Meadows and Buchan area redevelopment in Arbury application for redevelopment of the existing community centre and open space provision, including new social housing. Application follows two public consultations, both of which we responded to. Concerns include quantum of development, heights of buildings, loss of protected open space and lack of sufficient parking plans. 
  • Emmanuel College, 1 Park Terrace redevelopment of site including new building on Park Terrace adjacent to listed buildings, within conservation area and across from Parker's Piece. Sensitive location and proposal poor quality design for new build and blocks Furness Lodge views. 
  • Royston to Granta Park transport study public consultation our response to the initial and basic consultation from Granta Park to Royston looking at the transport and traffic corridor. We highlight need to consider potential develop along the A1301 as well as the area around Bassingbourn and ask to include environmental issues and biodiversity. 
  • 104-112 Hills Road 2nd public consultation second round of public consultation on the redevelopment of 104-112 Hills Road. The Flying Pub has been apparently saved, but what be built around it? We comment on concerns about heights and density within the context, especially against the backdrop of the designated Botanical Gardens. 

2019 Responses

  • Great Shelford Parochial Charities provision of 21 Almshouses this is a challenging application. The site is within the green belt and outside the village framework- which go against our development principles. However, the proposal is for 21 new homes for local residents at less than market rates, which is laudable. 
  • Proposal for a new Retirement Village in Stapleford we attended the public consultation for a new retirement village in Stapleford within the green belt, outside the village framework and possibly adjacent to the proposed new guided bus from Haverhill to Cambridge. We have highlighted numerous concerns. 
  • Rupert Brooke pub, Grantchester the pub has built a new low wall to create an outside garden area, but it does not accord with the approved plans in height or materials. We have raised this concern due to its visual impact on the setting and character of the conservation area. 
  • Conversion of Bolton's Warehouse a building that our Heritage Watch group put forward and got designated as a Building of Local Interest (BLI). Proposal to convert from business space to single residence. Our main concern is for the retention of the building and its historic fabric. Read how we feel turning it into a single residential dwelling might actually be positive for the building and its setting. 
  • Barrington Cement Works EIA a major development at the former cement works in Barrington. We argue that an environmental impact assessment is required. 
  • Carpenters Arms pub, Great Wilbraham our response to the demolition of the existing extension and building a new larger extension. The proposed new extension will have a larger footprint and seek to physically connect the listed outbuilding to the listed pub building. In doing so, it will result in the loss of historic context and relationship of the buildings to each other and the site. In addition, we have serious concerns about the feasibility of the proposed extension in structural terms. 
  • Cambridge South East Busway Consultation Greater Cambridge Partnership consultation on a proposed busway and park/ride between Cambridge and the A11 to the south of the city. We do not support these proposals for numerous reasons, including harm and impact to the open countryside as well as failure to serve the villages the route goes through due to the distance to the stop from the centre of the village. 
  • Netherhall Farm, land north of Worts Causeway EIA Scoping Opinion our response to an application for an Environment Impact Assessment on the proposed development of land north of Wort's Causeway. There was an application earlier in the year for a Screening Opinion and the Council's conclusion was that they needed an EIA. However, instead of submitting one, they have asked for another opinion. It is unclear why and we have raised this as suspicious. In addition, the documents fail to include net gain on biodiversity, climate change, etc. 

  • 15-16_Emmmanuel_Road, Cambridge our response to the demolition of Buildings of Local Interest, mainly on the grounds of lack of maintenance and neglect. We object to the demolition on these grounds and without any attempt to try and incorporate the existing buildings into the scheme. In addition, we object to the pastiche replacement proposed for such a prominent site - in a Conservation Area and adjacent to numerous heritage assets. 

  • Renovating the existing toilet facilities at Silver Street bridge this is an application to upgrade and improve the existing toilet provisions at the Silver Street Bridge in Cambridge. Since the toilets are located within the bridge (except for the disabled toilet) there have been problems with flooding and drainage. This is an opportunity to enhance the facilities and hopefully enhance the street level public realm. 

  • GCP Bottisham/Swaffham/Horningsea Greenways public consultation In principle we support the concept of Greenways in order to increase the number of journeys made by cyclists and pedestrians in order to benefit the environment and public health and as a means of reducing traffic congestion. The location and design of these routes must consider their impact on the natural and built environment and on the local landscape – especially if they are to be able to proceed through the planning system. We object to one of the options due to ecological impact.

  • Public consultation Meadows Centre and Buchan Street recreation grounds redevelopment CambridgePPF responded to the first consultation for redeveloping the recreation ground and community centre at Meadows and Buchan in the Arbury area. This second consultation does show the Council is listening, but we still have concerns about the quantum of development and reduction in amenity to existing residents in an area with lower than average open space. 

  • Newbury Farm outline application on GB2 (land south of Wort's Causeway) We acknowledge the land was removed from the green belt during the last round of local plans so can now be developed upon, however, we are very concerned about the quality of this outline application that only addresses access into the site. CambridgePPF met with the developers for both GB1 and GB2 to encourage them to create a masterplan for both sites to ensure cohesion, cross working and enable the community to understand the totality of development - to date this has not happened. 

  • CambridgePPF response to Making Space for People public consultation the City Council held a public consultation on assessing the wider public realm in and around the city centre, including some of Hills Road and Mill Lane. It will inform an SPD - or supplementary planning document - which planning officers will use when assessing applications. We are supportive of this work but we queried the document's 'vision' and challenged the City to be braver in their aspirations and aims. 

  • GCP Foxton Travel Hub park and rail public consultation Our response to a public consultation for a 750 space car park adjacent to the Foxton train station. It is unclear if this is to be a park and rail site or if, as we recommend, the GCP could consider a wider scope for the site to include buses, cycles, etc. This may also take the pressure off of a proposed new park and ride at Junction 11 M11. In addition, we query the rationale behind the proposal and challenge the financial case. 

  • Proposed new Greenway between Cambridge and Royston, serving Sawston and Melbourn In principle we support the concept of Greenways in order to increase the number of journeys made by cyclists and pedestrians in order to benefit the environment and public health and as a means of reducing traffic congestion. The location and design of these routes must consider their impact on the natural and built environment and on the local landscape – especially if they are to be able to proceed through the planning system. We have raised concerns about the overly “centric” nature of some of the proposed routes and the need for Greenways to better connect with employment centres. We are therefore pleased to see two routes come forward that will connect with Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC).

  • Cambridegshire & Peterborough Local_Transport_Plan_Consultation In our view the LTP is too focused on large public transport engineering schemes. These schemes will be expensive to deliver and to operate and will have significant impacts on local communities, the environment and heritage. The entire plan for Greater Cambridge hinges on a Cambridge Metro, without any ‘Plan B’.

  • Park Street Car Park redevelopment, Cambriddge ref 191159FUL in principle we are supportive of the redevelopment of this site as it is of no architectural or historic significance. However, being located within a Conservation Area and adjacent to numerous listed buildings, we raised some concerns, including the height proposed and amount of underground car parking. 

  • Chesterton Mill redevelopment, Cambridge our response to the reworking of the mill buildings off of Frenchs Road. Overall, bringing this jumble of buildings into the 21st century presents a variety of challenges for the architects and developer. We judge this to be a well-considered set of proposals which should breathe new life into this currently run-down complex.

  • 104-112 Hills Road, Cambridge comments on the consultation to alter the original planning consent for the area adjacent to the Botanic Gardens and the Mills and Reeve building. One of the main issues is the retention of the Flying Pig Pub, in its current historic building and with its current pub use. In addition, there are opportunities to create an imaginative and creative mixed use site and we suggest touring the area to see what developments have been successful and examples of what not to do. 

  • 25 Portugal Place, Cambridge our response to the proposals to make alterations to a listed building within a conservation area. The application is lacking sufficient information to properly assess it and the information it does contain shows a lack of understanding towards working with a historically built structure, its needs and the implications of doing works to it. 

  • Whittlesford Parkway Station redevelopment proposal by Greater Cambridge Partnership our response to the initial consultation reviewing significant changes to the Whittlesford Train Station area. We highlighted the two heritage assets within the site and cited that this is an opportunity to preserve, enhance and improve the setting and character of the Duxford Chapel and Red Lion Pub. We are supportive of most of the proposed improvements, however, there are several concerns about the impact to the assets and recommendations on how to address them.

  • Response to Lilac Court redevelopment Cherry Hinton residents contacted us to support them in raising concerns about this development. It would result in loss of amenity and play space, the height proposed is imposing and would impact neighbours, etc. There has been a lot of issues with this proposal and many have responded sharing their thoughts, including Cllr Lewis Herbert, leader of the City Council. 

  • Netherhall Farm, Wort's Causeway GB1 our response to a consultation by the developer on their plans for a new housing estate on former Greenbelt land on the south of Cambridge. We object to their plans to build on a meadow and we offered advice on how their plans could be revised in order to improve their development for ecology, landscape and community.

  • CambridgePPF_resp_Spicers_S-2122-19-FL.pdf the redevelopment of the Spicers site in Sawston, which is considered a brownfield site, is in principle supported. However, there is insufficient information in the application to properly assess it and there are serious concerns about the impact to the adjacent Green Belt, ecology and Scheduled Ancient Monument. There is also a serious flood risk as they propose two below ground levels. 

  • CambridgePPF_resp_Guildhall_lav_windows.pdf the Guildhall in Market Square is a Listed Building and is within a Conservation Area. The proposal is small, but significant, as it seeks to replace original historic glass with modern and insert plastic air vents within the glass to improve the bathrooms within the building. We offer a more historically and sensitive solution to retain the fabric. 

  • CambridgePPF_resp_M11_J11_0719.pdf our response to the GCP proposal to build a new park and ride west of the M11 at Junction 11, which is located in the Green Belt. We raise numerous concerns about the impact to the environment and ecology and raise the issue that the land take has increased significantly compared to the initial proposals. 

  • CambridgePPF_resp_42_Rathmore_Road.pdf our response to an application to raise the ridge height on a house in the middle of a 19th Century terrace where very little has changed over time. This proposal would interrupt the continuous roof line and change the uniformity. The buildings are not listed, nor are they in a conservation area. However, they are undesignated heritage assets and this proposal could result in harm to the visual appearance and local distinctive character. 

  • CambridgePPF_resp_48-50_High_St_Chesterton.pdf our response to the proposed works to partially demolish the site and add four- 1 bed flats. We considered it over-development and supported the comments made by the Conservation Team at the City. 

  • CambridgePPF_resp_Village_Design_Statements.pdf our comments on the various Village Design Statements proposed in several villages in South Cambs. We are very supportive of the principle and hope that the natural environment benefits as well. 

  • CambridgePPF_resp_54-56_High_St_Trumpington.pdf our response regarding the demolition of buildings that are of no architectural or historic interest and its replacement. The principle of replacing the buildings is supported, but the proposed design and materials have been questioned, especially in relation to the adjacent thatched listed building. 

  • CambridgePPF_response_Cambourne-Cambridge_Phase_2_consultation.pdf our response to consultation on Phase 2 of Cambourne-Cambridge busway. We have strongly objected to proposals to build a car park on a valuable ecological site on top of one of the few hills in Cambridge. We support those options that are least damaging to ecology and landscape.
  • CPPF_response_former_Ridgeons_Site_April19.pdf our response to a planning application to redevelop the former Ridgeons site in the Romsey area of Cambridge. We were disappointed with the level of affordable housing and the bland nature of the architecture.

2018-19 Responses

  • CambridgePPF_resp_EIA_Worts_Causeway.pdf our response to whether or not the proposal for 260 homes on former green belt land requires an Environmental Impact Assessment to review and assess the potential for harm from the development.

  • CambridgePPF_resp_to_Hauxton_House_redev.pdf the first application to bring back the mill and its buildings into a new use. The Old Mill House was converted into offices in 1975 from residential. The proposal is to keep it offices, but introduce two new clean lab spaces. 

  • CambridgePPF_resp_Mill_Lane_Pembroke_app_080219.pdf the response is to the first applications for the Old Press Mill Lane redevelopment site (both listed building and planning). Focusing on the South side, this development will increase the size of Pembroke College. It is about heritage, context, listed buildings, conservation areas, transport and more. 

  • CambridgePPF_resp_158_homes_land_north_of_Babraham_Road.pdf- an application for 158 homes that will extend the village of Sawston heading towards Babraham. This is included in the recently adopted Local Plan, but it is outside the village framework and within the Green Belt, so we object to it on principle. 

  • CambridgePPF_response_Waterbeach_SPD_231018.pdf- our response to the Supplementary Planning Document outlining the Council's expectations for the new town at Waterbeach. Concerns about the timing as applications have already been received, when the SPD should be used to inform them prior to submission. 

  • App_development_in_walled_garden_Whittlesford.pdf- this is an application for several new homes within an existing walled garden adjacent to the Listed Church in Whittlesford. Concerns about lack of information over significance of walled garden and impact to setting and context.

  • Consult_on_CPIER.pdf- consultation response to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review.