Examination of Local Plans

History of the Examination of Local Plans

Cambridge City Council (City) and South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) have prepared draft Local Plans for the planning and development of the Greater Cambridge area over the next two decades 2014-31. The plans went through more two years of drafting and public consultation in which CambridgePPF played a leading role, before being submitted to the Department for Communities & Local Government.  The final versions of both Plans are now being Examined In Public by a Planning Inspector appointed by the Department of Communities & Local government to determine whether the plans are ‘sound’ or whether further work is needed. This is a long and contentious business with those interested in seeing an accelerated scale and rate of development challenging the already expansionist proposals from the two Councils. It is unlikely that a decision will be made by the Planning Inspector on the soundness of the Plans much before the middle of 2018.


The Examination of the plans opened in November 2014. In the first six rounds of hearings, the Inspector heard evidence on the proposed spatial planning for the area, the project increase in employment, the proposed provision of housing, the transport proposals to support this growth, and the possible release of land from the Green Belt.  Because of the concerted challenge mounted by the developers, particularly the adequacy of the housing projections presented by the Councils, the Inspector suspended the hearings in May 2015 and instructed the Councils to come forward with a strengthened evidence-base to support its assessment of the housing needs, the sustainability of its proposals for new settlements outside the Green Belt, and its review of the importance of the Green Belt for Cambridge. Modified plans, including new work to meet the Inspector’s instructions, were then re-submitted in March 2016.  These modified plans are now being examined.


These Local Plans will provide the framework for the future development of the area. They are therefore of fundamental significance for our continued social and economic prosperity and for the quality of life for all residents.  For this reason, CambridgePPF has invested a major effort engaging with the Councils and arguing our case in front of the Inspector at virtually every session of the hearings against the challenge from the developers. Before the hearings began, we agreed a Statement of Common Ground with both Councils to show solidarity in resisting the pressures of the developers for much higher growth targets. Indeed, in the hearings, ours has typically been the only voice arguing on behalf of local residents for a more sustainable level of growth.


The key elements of the combined Local Plans include:

  • The provision of 33,500 new homes and 44,100 new jobs
  • Keeping Cambridge as a compact city with minimal further release of more land from the Green Belt around the city fringe once the areas released in the 2006 plans have been completed
  • Employment to be based primarily around the existing clusters in centres like NW/West Cambridge, the Addenbrooke’s Biomedical Campus, and Northern Cambridge around the new Science Park railway station, as well as the main life-sciences parks in South Cambs
  • Once the sites around the city fringe that have already been approved have been completed, additional housing to be located primarily in new settlements beyond the Green Belt in South Cambs – Cambourne, Northstowe, Waterbeach Barracks, and Bourn Airfield
  • High quality public transport links between the new residential settlements and the main employment centres to be funded through the City Deal
  • Measures to reduce the environmental impact and to move towards a low carbon economy
  • Protection of the heritage assets, especially the historic core, Conservation Areas, and the River Cam Corridor

Latest News on Local Plan Review


Forthcoming Cambridge Local Plan and South Cambridgeshire Local Plan Main Modifications Consultation

This is advance notice that consultation on Main Modifications to the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan and Cambridge Local Plan will start at 9am on Friday 5 January 2018, and will run until 5pm on Friday 16 February.

The Inspectors examining the two Local Plans have asked that this consultation be carried out on the Main Modifications that they consider may be necessary in order for the plans to be found ‘sound’. The Inspectors’ final conclusions will be given in their reports in due course.

When the consultation starts, the consultation documents and instructions for how to submit comments will be available on the Councils’ websites:



Latest news on state of Local Plans; Councils have heard from Inspector after Examination completed https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/news/2017/11/14/jobs-and-homes-plans-set-to-enter-home-straight-after-government-review


JULY 2017

Press Release on Green Belt proposals for new homes- CambridgePPF Homes in Green Belt PR


Read our statement on development on Omission Sites- CPPF Omission Sites Statement Ver3 23.06.17


MARCH 2017

The Hearings continue and our volunteer Robin Pellew represents CambridgePPF throughout the sessions. See his summary from the 3rd March 2017

CambridgePPF local plan summary 0317


JUNE 2016

Matter CC1 ‐ Heritage Policies: Protecting and Enhancing the Character of Cambridge (Policies 7,
8, 56, 58, 60 and Appendix F, 61, and 62 plus Appendix G)


APRIL 2016

The Inspectorate has now issued the schedule for the resumption of the Examination of the Local Plans, see attached. CambridgePPF will be attending those hearings that we have previously commented on.

Examination Schedule – hearings_programme_v8_march_16


15th March 2016:

CambridgePPF publish their response to the proposed modifications! This is attached below as well as on our submissions page.


4th March 2016: Responses to Local Plan Modifications have been published

The Councils have collated the responses received from the public consultation and have now published them on their websites. As part of this process, CambridgePPF have been given an opportunity to review our responses and adjust for any inconsistencies. Whilst we have shown support for some of the proposed changes, there are still several that we wish to challenge.

We acknowledge that our representation on the proposed release of the green belt land adjacent to Nine Wells has led to some confusion. This is due to the limitations of the response form and CambridgePPF will be addressing this as part of the review process.


1st February 2016: Draft Examination Schedule on Proposed Modifications out!

CambridgePPF have submitted our response to the modifications and look forward to the resumption of the Examination. The limbo-like status of the Draft Local Plans causes concern as some developers are keen to take advantage of the housing supply debate.

Click here – draft schedule


Older News:

Both Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire have had the opportunity to amend their Local Plans, as per the agreement with the Inspector. The amendments were announced on 10 November 2015. Follow the link to view the summary and associated documents: Cambridge City Council web link to Local Plan The formal consultation will take place from 2nd December – 25 January. The amendments required included revisiting the following sections:

  • Objectively Assessed Need for Housing
  • Inner Green Belt Boundary Study
  • Transport
  • Infrastructure Delivery Study
  • Viability
  • Sustainability Appraisal


Responses to the consultation are then to be made with the results resubmitted to the Inspector during March 2016. Local Plan – Consideration of further work and consequential modifications SCDC

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