3.1 A comprehensive approach at North East Cambridge

North East Cambridge will become a new city district, making provision for mixed use development including a wide range of new jobs, homes and community and cultural facilities.

The challenge for the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan is to plan development in a sustainable and coherent manner and to ensure that each of its elements is well integrated functionally and physically to create a sustainable new community. The vision for North East Cambridge sets out the kind of sustainable community that is envisaged by 2040. However, the path to achieve this vision rests with the strength of the underlying strategic and sub-objectives to deliver it. In this regard, the overarching principles set out below provide a clear direction of how the vision for the Area Action Plan will be delivered. It provides the context for the rest of the policies of the Area Action Plan.

The Councils have and will continue to adopt a collaborative and open approach in developing the Area Action Plan. We recognise that achieving a comprehensive strategy for North East Cambridge will require all parties – public, private and third sector – to work together.

  • There was overall support for the creation of a higher density mixed use residential led development to the east side of Milton Road. The benefits of providing homes and employment near each other supported by good sustainable transport options was highlighted. The opportunity to comprehensively plan the area and relocate heavy industrial uses and remove associated vehicle movements was welcomed, in particular away from existing homes and schools.
  • There was overall support for the intensification of employment floorspace across the North East Cambridge area. The opportunity to redevelop existing outdated commercial premises and provide space for small and medium-sized enterprises, retail, leisure and creative industries was highlighted.
  • The reuse of brownfield land for development was supported subject to being able to provide viable alternative sites for the existing uses.
  • Concerns were raised about displacing existing industrial uses and the need to provide a range of jobs for different skills, not exclusively hi-tech jobs.
  • Some responses felt that the Trinity Hall Farm Industrial Estate should not be a residential led mixed-use area.
  • Some comments highlighted that in planning the new district, the operational needs of existing businesses will be a crucial consideration and the land use planning should result in a place that limits noise in proposed and existing residential areas.
  • Some comments highlighted the need for an evidence-based approach to support decision making about what land uses can be accommodated as part of the North East Cambridge area, and for some flexibility. Viable and convenient alternative locations for existing businesses that are not compatible with residential uses need to be found.
  • Responses stated that GP and pharmacy provision are needed alongside small economically viable retail space. The cultural offer needs to be planned too with arts and meeting spaces to help the community establish and develop an identity. It was emphasised that there needs to be flexibility in the way in which services and facilities are provided and that meanwhile/interim uses are important alongside maintaining appropriate existing uses.
  • There was support for the creation of public space for events and a wider green space network. You felt that there should be a choice of places to go to, such as restaurants, and that a community centre and sports centre should be included in the planning of the new district. All uses should be supported by an easily accessible cycle and walking network to link Cambridge Science Park and Cambridge Regional College to the west with development to the east.
  • Providing the right facilities to support a walkable place was raised as an important consideration with a secondary school highlighted as an omission. It was felt that a secondary school is a key component to support a new community and community cohesion as well as reducing the need for people to travel elsewhere.

How your comments and options have been taken into account

  • The proposed policy establishes a clear expectation that North East Cambridge will take a comprehensive placemaking approach to development that will result in a distinctive, high-quality and coherent new city district. Crucial to this is the requirement for development to accord with the Area Action Plan Spatial Framework and other supporting diagrams within the plan, that identify the strategic spatial design requirements across the whole of the plan area.
  • The policies within the plan, combined with their supporting diagrams, provide a sound basis for the re-provision of existing businesses as part of the overall regeneration plan for North East Cambridge. The need to re-provide existing commercial and industrial floorspace in more efficient forms and in better locations is fundamental to creating a higher density and efficient form of development that will make best use of the site and deliver much needed homes close to employment and supported by sustainable transport options.
  • A Cultural Placemaking Strategy has been prepared to provide an understanding of what the new District needs beyond the typical 'retail space' to deliver a richer and more complete urban living experience. As such, the comments about the provision of other uses within the North East Cambridge area have been taken forward with an evidence-based approach taken to inform what and how provision should be made.

Policy 1: A comprehensive approach at North East Cambridge

Proposals which contribute to the delivery of the Area Action Plan's vision, strategic objectives, Spatial Framework (Figure 10) and Land Use Plan (Figure 11), all relevant policies including supporting diagrams, adopted 2018 Local Plans and National Planning Policy Framework, will be approved without delay, subject to a full assessment of the particular impacts of the proposals and securing appropriate mitigation measures where necessary.

To ensure coordinated and comprehensive development and avoid piecemeal development that prejudices the delivery of the strategic objectives and Spatial Framework, proposals brought forward within the Area Action Plan area should address the criteria set out in Policy 23: Comprehensive and Coordinated Development.

The Councils will work to secure the comprehensive regeneration of North East Cambridge during the plan period, in particular the creation of a new high quality mixed-use city district, providing at least 8,000 new homes, 20,000 new jobs, and new physical, social and environmental infrastructure that meets the needs of new and existing residents and workers, as well as delivering tangible benefits for surrounding communities. In order to achieve this, the Councils will work in collaboration with the County Council, Greater Cambridge Partnership, other strategic partners and landowners to:

  1. Secure and deliver the interventions and infrastructure needed to deliver the vision and objectives for the area including: the required modal shift in accordance with the North East Cambridge Transport Study; district-wide networks and services; relocations and land assembly; environmental, amenity, and community health and wellbeing standards; a network of functional and multi-use open spaces; and innovative approaches to community facilities provision;
  2. Actively manage the timely delivery and phasing of homes, jobs and infrastructure, taking action where necessary to address or overcome barriers to delivery;
  3. Engage local residents, community groups, schools, colleges and local enterprises in establishing ongoing partnerships and initiatives aimed at involving communities in shaping the places within North East Cambridge where they live and work, and to maximise job opportunities for local people in both the construction phase and beyond;
  4. Implement measures to facilitate and administer a low car dependency culture; and
  5. Create a cohesive, inclusive and strong community, including sustainable public sector service delivery in the area.

Details of how the strategic objectives and sub-objectives will be achieved are set out through the subsequent policies and their supporting diagrams in the Area Action Plan.

Relevant objectives: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

At the heart of the vision and overarching principles of the Area Action Plan is the key objective to achieve sustainable development, which will create a community where people will choose to live, work and visit. Achieving this objective will require a clear strategy which is not only about the quantity of development that is planned, but also about where the developments are located and how the developments functionally relate with each other. Consequently, the need to ensure development is supported by the necessary facilities and services and is easily accessible by all relevant modes of travel, such as walking, cycling and public transport, is paramount. The basis for this has been established in the Strategic Objectives, sub-objectives and Area Action Plan Spatial Framework. The measures identified in these objectives will need to be delivered in order to achieve the overarching aim of sustainable development.

The Spatial Framework is not a masterplan but rather a high-level strategic diagram which identifies key development requirements that will help inform and guide subsequent developer masterplans and future infrastructure projects which are brought forward within the plan area. Policy 1 and the accompanying Spatial Framework seeks to ensure comprehensive delivery of the site to fulfil the strategic objectives of the Area Action Plan. The principal elements of the spatial framework have been derived from stakeholder engagement and evidence base documents. The spatial framework and supporting diagrams within this plan cover a range of strategic matters including open space provision, the location of the district's centres such as community, cultural and education facilities, connectivity and other land uses across the plan area. All development proposals within the plan area should be in accordance with the Spatial Framework, the policies of this plan and their supporting diagrams.

In the areas identified in the land use plan (Figure 11), it is important that development provides a range of commercial spaces including shops, community uses and employment as part of horizontally or vertically mixed-use buildings. Similarly, the supporting plans within the connectivity chapter identify how connectivity by walking, cycling and public transport will be improved across the plan area in a comprehensive and coherent way. They also set out how motorised vehicles will be managed to ensure pedestrians, cyclists and public transport are prioritised in this area. The supporting diagrams within the Area Action Plan provide an illustrative representation of what is described within each of the relevant policies. Development proposals should therefore positively address these diagrams in combination with the relevant policies and overarching Spatial Framework.

The primary purpose of the Area Action Plan is to provide the necessary framework for coordinating a large number of development proposals over several sites, along with investment in infrastructure, across the whole of North East Cambridge, over the life of the Plan, and across all partners involved. The Councils are committed to working with partners to secure the comprehensive redevelopment of the Area Action Plan area. The Area Action Plan also supports a range of cross-cutting aims of both Councils and contributes towards the overarching corporate objectives. The successful delivery of North East Cambridge, relating to both the physical development, supporting infrastructure as well as community cohesion, will require a coordinated approach from service areas across both Councils working alongside landowners, developers, the existing and future communities and voluntary sectors. This joint working is necessary to achieve the ambitious but deliverable vision and strategic objectives set out in this plan.

  • Through the monitoring of policies 2 - 30

Cambridge Local Plan

  • Policy 15: Cambridge Northern Fringe East and new railway Station Area of Major Change

South Cambridgeshire Local Plan

  • Policy SS/4: Cambridge Northern Fringe East and Cambridge North railway station
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