Greater Cambridge overall is a prosperous area, but it includes communities and individuals that do not experience the benefits of this wealth. Cambridge was identified as the most unequal city in the UK by the Centre for Cities and includes areas that are among the most deprived in the UK. Within South Cambridgeshire, there are specific issues facing some of those living in rural communities particularly those with limited access to services and transport.
The Local Plan can be a powerful tool to improve wellbeing and social inclusion. It can help direct what kind of jobs are created, and where; the availability of suitable and affordable housing; access to services; cultural facilities; green spaces; learning opportunities and employment; as well as positively influencing individuals' health and lifestyle.
Promoting wellbeing and social inclusion will be affected by our response to all the other themes in this consultation, but in this theme we want to specifically explore how we ensure that growth in the area brings benefits to all.
16. How should the Local Plan help us achieve 'good growth' that promotes wellbeing and social inclusion?
4.3.1 What do we have to do?
National planning policy requires that Local Plans should aim to achieve healthy, inclusive and safe places. This includes:
- Creating places that promote social interaction between people who might not otherwise come into contact with each other.
- Making sure places are safe and accessible so that the fear of crime does not undermine quality of life.
- Supporting healthy lifestyles by provision of greenspaces and sports facilities, and opportunities to walk and cycle.
- Meeting the variety of needs in our community.
Responding to national policy requirements for climate change, green spaces, great places, housing, jobs and infrastructure, as set out in the other themes, will promote wellbeing and social inclusion.
Plans need to ensure development is right for its location, and consider impacts of the development itself, including for issues like air quality and noise. Plans should also consider how they can contribute to the achievement of wider objectives, such as in Air Quality Management Plans.
4.3.2 What are we already doing?
Our adopted 2018 Local Plans include policies which seek to create strong, sustainable, cohesive and inclusive mixed-use communities.
Cambridge City Council has an Anti-Poverty Strategy which includes an action plan. This identified that while the Cambridge economy continues to thrive, there are high levels of income inequality in the city. For example, two wards in Cambridge include areas amongst the 20% most deprived in UK. There are also lower levels of social mobility for young people from poorer backgrounds.
South Cambridgeshire District Council undertakes a range of activities which tackle rural issues. This includes an extensive grants program to support statutory services within the district, by funding organisations to provide vital services including rural car schemes, general and specialist advice, independent living, support for local parishes and communities, homelessness prevention and support for families in crisis or under extreme stress.
As part of the Greater Cambridge Partnership we are working with partners across education, training and business to deliver apprenticeships, and encouraging uptake of training opportunities. The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority is also supporting the development of skills.
Recently the new town of Northstowe became part of the NHS Healthy Towns Initiative. This considers how health, and the delivery of healthy communities, can be a key driver in the planning and design process for a new community. It has provided an opportunity to explore innovation and best practice. The principles it has explored include promoting inclusive communities, good access to health services, walkable neighbourhoods, high quality public transport and cycling links, and opportunities for physical activity.
We are commissioning evidence on jobs, green spaces, transport, cultural facilities and other topics that will support the plan's response to promoting wellbeing and social inclusion.
Cambridge City Council Air Quality Action Plan 2018 – 2023 sets out Cambridge City Council's priority actions for improving areas of poor air quality in the city and maintaining a good level of air quality in a growing city. South Cambridgeshire District Council also has an Air Quality Action Plan and publishes annual status reports.
4.3.3 What are the key issues?
Involving communities in planning for their future
Making places inclusive is much easier if we involve our diverse communities in planning them in the first place. This makes developments more functional, accessible and safe, and ensures that communities feel a sense of ownership and pride in their local area.
Involving community members and stakeholders should happen from the early stages right through to how completed developments are managed. This allows social value to be generated from all parts of the planning and development process: from the big ideas, such as the kind of public spaces that should come with development, to the detail, such as the use of local suppliers and job creation through the construction process.
The Local Plan can help to encourage more community involvement in the development process through considering:
- How masterplans for new communities and major developments are prepared.
- How communities can be involved in key decisions about developments in their local area, for example the location and type of public open space or new facilities.
- How design proposals should respond to local community views about the character of their built environment.
17. How do you think our plan could help enable communities to shape new development proposals?
Creating safe and inclusive communities
Promoting social inclusion is not just a matter for the Local Plan, but planning is a powerful tool which can help in a number of ways. The Local Plan needs to help to create the homes and jobs people need, and to help people access local services and a broad range of amenities including sports, social and education facilities. We need to consider how planning policy can:
- Help provide new homes for all parts of the community – including a range of affordable housing choices and different types of housing to suit specialist housing needs.
- Ensure that new homes are cost efficient to maintain – for example, through energy efficiency measures.
- Encourage the development of a wide range of jobs, which provide different options for work to suit the varied needs of our residents, so that all benefit from access to jobs. This is covered further in our 'Jobs' theme.
- Support delivery and access to new and affordable low-carbon transport infrastructure.
- Seek funding from developers of larger new developments to carry out community development work.
- Ensure that mixed communities are developed and meet the needs of diverse groups when siting, design and layout of new development is carried out, and that conflicting requirements are fairly balanced.
- Create well-used and active public places which help to foster a sense of community and reduce crime.
- Ensure that services and infrastructure are developed alongside new housing and jobs, as well as protecting existing facilities that are important to local people such as pubs, community buildings, sports and leisure facilities.
- There is also a role for the Local Plan in supporting arts and culture.
We will also consider how developers can support employment, skills development, apprenticeships, and other education and training opportunities in both during construction and on completion of a development, to make a direct contribution to the local community.
18. How do you think we can make sure that we achieve safe and inclusive communities when planning new development?
Encouraging healthy lifestyles
There is a lot of evidence that the design and planning of places has a big influence on our health, through making it easier to live healthy lifestyles. We need to reduce pressure on our health services by preventing health issues from occurring or worsening, whilst ensuring that support, services and facilities are available at the right time for the community. We need to consider:
- How to enable people to live healthy and long lives in their own homes, and to access the right kind of housing for their needs.
- How planning and development can encourage walking, cycling and exercise as part of daily life.
- Tackling loneliness and mental health issues through creating places that offer natural sociability, interaction and access to nature.
- Ensuring a range of shops and services, and facilities like allotments, that ensure communities can access healthy and affordable food.
19. How do you think new developments should support healthy lifestyles?
Our next plan will need to respond to constraints and opportunities that exist in the area. Parts of Greater Cambridge suffer from poor air quality. The Local Plan has a role to play in implementing air quality action plans by considering where growth should be located, opportunity to travel by walking, cycling and public transport, and availability of infrastructure to support electric vehicles.
20. How do you think we should achieve improvements in air quality?
 Source: Centre for Cities – Cities Outlook 2018 https://www.centreforcities.org/publication/cities-outlook-2018/
 As defined by the Index of Multiple Deprivation, a measure of income, employment, education, health, crime, housing, and environment.
 source: Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government - English indices of deprivation 2019 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/english-indices-of-deprivation-2019