12. Implementation & Delivery

What you told us previously

We asked you about infrastructure, delivery, and phasing, and different approaches the AAP could take regarding masterplanning.

You told us that we needed to set out clearly infrastructure requirements and costs and funding requirements, and that we needed a clear approach to the relocation of the Water Recycling Centre. Opinions were mixed regarding the approach to masterplanning, but there was support for achieving a comprehensive approach to development.

Phasing and relocations

12.1 The suggested phasing of development and necessary infrastructure requirements is not within the scope of this early stage of the AAP process. Nevertheless, the success of the AAP will be measured based on the delivery of development outcomes within the Plan's timeframe. The Councils are therefore proposing to prioritise land within the AAP that can feasibly be developed early, whilst being conscious of not preventing other development sites from coming forward if market conditions allow for this.

12.2 As set out in Section 7, there is potential to retain existing industrial uses that are compatible with the new proposed development. This could take a number of forms, including replacement as part of the redevelopment of an existing site or relocation to another part of NEC. It could also be left entirely for the market to determine and resolve. For incompatible uses, a requirement to facilitate relocation elsewhere off-site could aid in bringing development forward more quickly.

Issue: Phasing and relocations

(13) Question 70: Do you agree that the AAP should prioritise land that can feasibly be developed early? Are there any risks associated with this proposed approach?

(14) Question 71: Should the AAP include a relocation strategy in preference to leaving this to the market to resolve?

Funding and delivering the required infrastructure

12.3 The Government has recently announced the relaxation of pooling restrictions on the use of planning obligations (Section 106 Agreements) to secure infrastructure delivery on large strategic sites in multiple ownership, such as NEC.

12.4 The intention through the AAP is to put in place a Section 106 regime, specific to the NEC area, to ensure all proposed developments across NEC contribute equitably to the provision and/or funding of all appropriate infrastructure requirements. Once the mix and quantum of land use has been established, the mechanism for ensuring an appropriate apportionment of costs of supporting infrastructure to the land use types and by development distribution and phasing will need to be established.

12.5 The chosen approach should ensure the first phases of development do not unduly benefit from spare capacities, and are not unduly burdened with a disproportionate infrastructure requirement.

12.6 Given the lengthy build out period, it will be necessary to keep the schedule and phasing of infrastructure requirements under review. This may necessitate the setting aside of appropriate land in later phases as a contingency until further monitoring and assessment is undertaken.

Issue: Funding & Delivery of infrastructure

(9) Question 72: Do you agree with an approach of devising a Section 106 regime specifically for the North East Cambridge area? If not, what alternative approach should we consider?

(4) Question 73: What approach do you consider the most appropriate basis on which to apportion the cost of the infrastructure requirements arising from different land uses to ensure an equitable outcome?

Development viability

12.7 The results of the development viability assessments, undertaken to support the extant Local Plan policies of both Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire, indicate a strong residential and employment market with no obvious barriers to delivery and no evidence of market failure in Greater Cambridge.

12.8 A managed pace of delivery and a diverse residential product including a range of housing types is required for a sustainable long-term market over the plan period. However, private market values are not limitless, and there are a significant number of variables that can influence, both positively and negatively, residual land values. When drafting the AAP, more detailed consideration will need to be had to ensure policy requirements strike the right balance between attracting development investment, maximising the amount of affordable housing, and achieving sufficient levels of developer contributions to fund the infrastructure needed to create sustainable communities. Flexibility will therefore need to be included to account for changes affecting viability over the build out of NEC but it is equally important that this does not compromise the certainty the AAP is intended to provide.

Issue: Development viability

(3) Question 74: How should the AAP take into account potential changes over time, both positive and negative, that might affect development viability?

Land assembly & Compulsory Purchase Orders

12.9 To achieve the comprehensive regeneration of NEC and/or to optimise the development potential of land parcels to be realised, land assembly (bringing small plots together to form development sites) may be required.

12.10 It is possible that the AAP will allocate sub-areas to manage the development planned. While such sub-areas will have regard to land ownership, there could be instances where these include land in multiple ownerships. The AAP could allow development within sub-areas to come forward incrementally; however, the constraints posed by site boundaries, neighbouring development or uses, and below-ground services all have potentially limiting consequences for scale, layout and viability. The Councils therefore propose to include requirements for land assembly to achieve the proper planning of development and the ability of development to support the achievement of wider regeneration initiatives or objectives.

12.11 Although a tool of last resort, where compulsory purchase is necessary, the Councils do have the power to use compulsory purchase orders when necessary to facilitate development that is in the public interest and which is consistent with the vision and strategic objectives of the AAP.

Issue: Land assembly and Compulsory Purchase Orders

(10) Question 75: Do you agree with the proposal to require land assembly where it can be demonstrated that this is necessary for delivering the agreed masterplan for the North East Cambridge area and/or the proper planning of development?

(15) Question 76: Should the AAP state that the Councils will consider use of their Compulsory Purchase powers? If so, should the AAP also set out the circumstances under which this would appropriate?

Joint Working

12.12 The Councils consider there is significant potential for joint working on a range of matters between the landowners/developers of the various landholdings across the NEC area. In particular, this could include the masterplanning of individual development sites but also in respect of preparing detailed studies in support of planning applications through to construction logistics and post implementation monitoring.

Issue: Joint Working

(11) Question 77: Should the Councils actively seek to facilitate joint working between the various landowners/developers within the North East Cambridge area? If so, what specific matters could we target for joint working?

Development ahead of the AAP

12.13 While the Councils welcome the significant developer interest being shown in the regeneration of NEC, the Councils consider that the future development context of NEC should be plan-led and not determined through planning applications for individual sites ahead of the AAP.

12.14 Applications for development ahead of the adoption of the AAP will therefore be determined in accordance with the extant policies of the relevant local plan(s). In this context, regard will also need to be had to existing site and surrounding circumstances including the impacts of odour from the Water Recycling Centre and the capacity constraints on Milton Road. It will also be necessary to demonstrate that the proposed development would not prejudice development within the NEC area or the achievement of the comprehensive vision for the area as a whole as set out in the Local Plans.

Issue: Pre-AAP Planning Applications

(5) Question 78: Do you agree with the Councils' proposed approach to dealing with planning applications made ahead of the AAP reaching a more formal stage of preparation?

Meanwhile (Temporary) Uses

12.15 'Meanwhile use' can provide for a range of temporary uses and activities, making efficient use of land that would otherwise be left vacant during large-scale phased development, and providing the opportunity to quickly bring life and activity to an area before permanent development begins.

12.16 'Meanwhile uses' can also act as a prototype of the character that regeneration might provide, ensuring early understanding of the future place. It can also have the added benefit of providing an interim income stream while also enhancing the attractiveness of a place to potential future tenants. What's more, businesses may also flourish and provide ready made tenants that can migrate into permanent space over time.

12.17 However, it may be appropriate to introduce some requirements over meanwhile use. This could take the form of a light touch, limiting the consideration of acceptability to the type of use proposed, its scale and how long they should be allowed to operate for. Alternatively, proposals could have to demonstrate how they contribute to the vibrancy of the immediate area and/or support the delivery of the development outcomes and vision for NEC.

Issue: Meanwhile (Temporary) Uses

(5) Question 79: What types of 'meanwhile uses' should the AAP support for the North East Cambridge area?

(3) Question 80: Should there be any limit on the scale of a proposed 'meanwhile use'?

(3) Question 81: Do you think it appropriate to set a maximum period for how long a 'meanwhile use' could be in operation?

(2) Question 82: Should the AAP also include a requirement for 'meanwhile uses' to demonstrate how they will add vibrancy and interest and/or deliver on the wider development outcomes and vision for the North East Cambridge area?

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