How long are we planning for?
Our adopted 2018 Local Plans (see glossary) cover the period from 2011 to 2031, although a number of large-scale developments, like the new settlements of Northstowe, the new town north of Waterbeach and new village at Bourn Airfield will take longer to be completed.
While development and change is an ongoing process, we need to identify a start and end date for the next Local Plan (see glossary), because we must be able to monitor our progress in meeting the targets we set. We hope to adopt the next Local Plan in 2023, but its start date will be 2017, because this is the most recent year for which data is available to provide a baseline for us to monitor against.
National planning policy (see glossary) states that plans should look ahead at least 15 years from the point of adoption, which suggests an appropriate plan end date of 2040. This is to anticipate and respond to long-term requirements and opportunities, for example major improvements in infrastructure.
Some of the strategic planning that is going on for the Greater Cambridge (see glossary) area is taking a longer view by looking to 2050. For example, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s (see glossary) Non Statutory Spatial Framework. A longer outlook could provide opportunities to plan strategically for how the area will develop in the long term. However, a balance needs to be achieved between planning far enough ahead to make informed decisions about growth and the reliability of long-term future predictions for housing and jobs. There is inevitably increasing uncertainty the further ahead we look.
On balance we think the best approach is to plan to 2040, in the knowledge that some of the strategic sites that we have already planned, plus any new large scale strategic sites that we might identify, will continue to deliver homes and employment land after this date.