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Greater Cambridge Local Plan

Development Strategy Update report published 4 January 2023

Public webinar - January 2023 

We held a public webinar about the Report on Wednesday, 18 January 2023, where we talked through the Report and the evidence and answered questions that were put to us by attendees. You can view the recording here.

Your ideas have shaped our First Proposals for the new Local Plan.

We have now closed our consultation on the First Proposals. Read the proposals that we consulted on, and explore the map to see what sites we suggested for development and strategic green space projects.

About the Greater Cambridge Local Plan

The new Local Plan is the most important document you've (probably) never heard of. It will affect how we live, work and play in Greater Cambridge over the next 20 years and beyond. 

Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council are working together to create a joint Local Plan for the two areas – which we are referring to as Greater Cambridge. This is the first time we will have a joint Local Plan, and it will ensure that there is a consistent approach to planning and building across both areas up to 2041.

A Local Plan is a legal document that we are required to prepare, which sets out the future land use and planning policies for the area over a set time period. This includes:

  • the amount of new homes and jobs that should be planned for
  • the services and infrastructure that are needed to support this change
  • where new development should happen, and where should be protected from development

It follows a process set out in national legislation and guidance. Once it has been through all the stages of preparation and consultation, it will be independently tested at a public examination to check it is sound, before it can be formally adopted. The examination will test whether the Plan is realistic, deliverable and based on good evidence.

Local Plans are the basis of decision-making on planning applications, alongside national planning policy and other supplementary guidance.

What is our big vision?

We want Greater Cambridge to be a place where a big decrease in our climate impacts comes with a big increase in the quality of everyday life for all our communities. New development must minimise carbon emissions and reliance on the private car; create thriving neighbourhoods with the variety of jobs and homes we need; increase nature, wildlife and green spaces; and safeguard our unique heritage and landscapes.

Our new Plan takes inspiration from what is unique about our area, and embraces the bold new approaches that will help us achieve this vision. The First Proposals for the Plan have been guided by these principles – to ensure that development leaves Greater Cambridge better than before, for future generations.

Where are we proposing to build?

The Plan is at an early stage of development and there are no confirmed proposals to build anything anywhere yet, apart from on the sites that were allocated in the adopted 2018 Local Plans for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire, and sites which already have planning permission.

In our First Proposals we suggested 19 new sites that we think might be suitable for additional development to meet our needs up to 2041. These were chosen from over 900 sites that were assessed. These proposed sites have no planning status yet, and will not have any status until the new Plan is adopted, which may not be until 2024 or 2025.

View a map of our proposed sites, which we consulted on as part of the First Proposals consultation.

View a map of all the sites submitted to us for possible development, as part of the Call for Sites in the early plan-making stages.

The plan-making process so far

In 2019 we held an initial Call for Sites and workshops with a wide range of groups including Residents Associations, Parish Councils, landowners and agents, statutory consultees and others, to understand what they felt the big issues for the Plan might be. 

In January and February 2020, we held the First Conversation – a big public consultation on the big themes and challenges for the plan. We also extended the Call for Sites to invite further development sites, and sites for potential new green infrastructure, to be put forward.

In September 2020 we published the responses to the First Conservation, and information received through the Call for Sites. Read our news release about the findings.

In November 2020 we published initial evidence base findings and development strategy options assessments. You can read our news release about the headline findings, and the additional water briefing we published at the time. We held a series of workshops with parish councils, residents’ associations, statutory bodies and other relevant stakeholders to explore the evidence and options assessments, and to hear what strategy and policies they thought we should be developing.

In January 2021 we invited Parish Councils and Residents Associations to contribute their local knowledge about the sites put forward for development, and this fed into our assessment of their suitability.

In November to December 2021 we held a full public consultation on the First Proposals for the Plan, including a wide range of in-person and online events and activity. Please note we have also published an erratum in relation to an error in the interactive web version of the consultation.

You can read more about how consultation has influenced the Plan so far in the Consultation Statement in our document library.

Comments received on the First Proposals Consultation 

We have now published the comments received on the First Proposals.

During the consultation we offered different ways to make comments. 

We also asked for comments about the big issues and main sites in the plan using an anonymous quick questionnaire.  We have published the full results in the form of a spreadsheet, and drawn out some of the key results in our report on the consultation, which you can find in our document library.  

We also allowed people to submit new sites for consideration or to update information about sites they had previously submitted to the Call for Sites. You can find information on our Call for Sites page. 

What happens next?

We agreed an updated timetable for the Local Plan in a revised Local Development Scheme, adopted in July 2022.

We are exploring the issues raised in representations to the First Proposals consultation as we move towards the next consultation stage: a Draft version of the Local plan in 2023. Leading up to member decisions on the draft plan in January 2023 and summer 2023, there will be a series of meetings of the Joint Local Plan Advisory Group where members will discuss the consultation feedback received around themes.

On 4 January 2023, we published committee reports for the Greater Cambridge Local Plan which will be considered by Councillors. You can view the report here.

The new documents have also been added to our Document Library.

This report seeks decisions on the development strategy and key sites (North East Cambridge, Cambridge East, and Cambridge Biomedical Campus), and is accompanied by updated evidence including on the need for jobs and homes. It will guide the preparation of the draft local plan which will be brought to members in summer 2023 prior to public consultation.

The report will be considered at:

We held a public webinar about the Report on Wednesday, 18 January 2023, where we talked through the Report and the evidence and answered questions that were put to us by attendees. You can view the recording here. You can view the slides for the webinar here.

Please fill in the contact form at the bottom of this page to keep updated. 

Find out more

All documents relating to the First Proposals are held in our Document Library.

Visit our Frequently Asked Questions webpage

You can also watch our previous webinars:

Contact and sign up for updates

For queries about the Local Plan, please email the team on or phone 01954 713 694.

To keep updated with progress on the Local Plan, please fill in the contact form:

Sign up for updates