8.2 Land assembly and relocation

The layout of the Area Action Plan has been developed with consideration to the existing land uses in the area. In some places it is appropriate to keep these and incorporate or re-provide them in new development. Where these are inconsistent with the strategic objectives of the Area Action Plan, it will be necessary to relocate these uses. This policy sets out how the Councils will assemble land and will support other landowners and developers to do so, including when and how compulsory purchase powers may be used.

Relocation

  • There were suggestions that the Area Action Plan relies on the relocation of the Waste Water Treatment Plant and therefore cannot be delivered in accordance with a Masterplan without its prior relocation.
  • There was clear support from Anglian Water for a relocation strategy that is clearly defined and clarified to ensure its operation as a sewerage undertaker can continue to serve customers during construction and post redevelopment.
  • There were concerns from several on-site operators that their operations are incompatible with the indicative Concept Plan from a noise, odour and air quality view unless an appropriate relocation site is found. There were suggestions that the Concept Plan should be amended to reflect these businesses remaining on site.
  • Other on-site operations highlighted that a coordinated approach would need to consider a range of issues including the potential relocation of the existing industrial uses, including the Veolia Waste Transfer Station and the builder's merchants on Nuffield Road, and expressed concerns that alternative accommodation had not yet been identified.
  • Others agreed that relocating existing industrial uses depended upon an Industrial Relocation Strategy that justifies viable options and stated that the Area Action Plan area is not a future viable option.
  • The Environment Agency highlighted that there has not been any substantive appraisal of the issues, options and impacts of relocating the Waste Water Treatment Plant. They consider the relocation is potentially highly significant, and features cumulative effects with other projects, such as Waterbeach New Town and propose that a SEA/SA should address this.
  • Finally, there were other comments concerning the bus depot which is a constraint and needs suitable relocation as well as general support for a relocation strategy which provides integration opportunities with existing communities.

Land assembly

  • There was support and objection to this approach with some stating that it will help ensure the delivery of comprehensive redevelopment in North East Cambridge and others suggesting that all matters should be achieved through discussion given there is a strong shared ambition across the various land owners.
  • There was still some concern that many of the current businesses could be left without premises due to the lack of alternative industrial and other business premises within the City. This could result in their closure, and loss of employment for local residents.
  • The final question asked if land assembly is required 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 for development. There was some support and some objection regarding the use of Compulsory Purchase Powers to assemble land with some comments suggesting the Local Authority is not justified in this setting to use powers to purchase land they do not own and others suggesting that these powers will assist with delivering comprehensive development and that strategic opportunities should not be compromised by one or more parties that are unwilling to support the delivery of the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan.

How your comments and options have been taken into consideration

  • In relation to land assembly the preferred option is to use Compulsory Purchase Powers if necessary to secure land for comprehensive development.
  • There was support for this approach over other approaches that could lead to individual negotiations and piecemeal development coming forward.
  • This approach would also lead to the aspirations of the Area Action Plan and local residents not being met.
  • The policy does not stipulate that Compulsory Purchase Powers will always be required and the Council will need to demonstrate other avenues of land assembly have been exhausted first.
  • In relation to the relocation of existing businesses the preferred option is for applicants to ensure they submit a business relocation strategy where existing businesses may be affected.
  • This approach would also support concerns from operators such as Veolia and Stagecoach that finding suitable sites through this process is imperative for their future operations.
  • An important element of this approach is phasing the redevelopment and relocation of existing premises to ensure there is minimal impact on business operation and delay to the delivery of the Area Action Plan.
  • If a relocation strategy was not in place this could significantly delay development and undermine the aspirations of the Area Action Plan as well as the strategic objectives of the area.

Policy 24a: Land Assembly

Where land assembly is necessary to deliver the Area Action Plan Spatial Framework for North East Cambridge and/or to achieve comprehensive development in accordance with Policy 1: A comprehensive approach at North East Cambridge, the Councils will assemble land and support other landowners and developers to do so.

The Councils will use compulsory purchase powers to assemble land where it can be demonstrated that:

  1. land assembly is the only means of achieving delivery of the Area Action Plan Spatial Framework; and
  2. comprehensive redevelopment of the assembled land is in the public interest and capable of delivering a viable and development plan compliant scheme; and
  3. all reasonable attempts have been made to acquire, or secure an option over, the land/building(s) needed, through negotiation; and
  4. All other elements of policy and legislative requirements for the exercise of powers of compulsory acquisition are met.

Where compulsory purchase is necessary, applicants will be required to demonstrate how the associated costs impact upon development viability.

Policy 24b: Relocation

The Councils will support the relocation of existing floorspace and uses that are incompatible with the delivery of the Area Action Plan and/or the optimisation of development.

Where relocation is proposed a Relocation Strategy will be required as part of a Planning Statement that details:

  1. An assessment of the compatibility and potential for co-location of the existing floorspace and use(s) within the proposed redevelopment of the site, including:
    • the consideration of different designs and layouts;
    • how the phasing of redevelopment might support on-site retention;
    • the implications of access or servicing requirements;
    • the ability to achieve acceptable environmental conditions relevant to the different land uses proposed; and
    • implications for scheme deliverability, such as land-take, rents levels and lease arrangements, or operational requirements;
  2. Engagement with affected businesses or occupiers including disruption to existing users/tenants; and
  3. The consideration and analysis of the following sequential approach to re-provision:
    1. On-site as part of any new development in the first instance;
    2. To a suitable and deliverable site elsewhere within the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan area;
    3. To a suitable and deliverable site outside of the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan area.

Relevant objectives: 2, 3, 5

The Area Action Plan Spatial Framework for North East Cambridge illustrates the strategic interventions required to deliver the new connections, layout and distribution of development and spaces planned for the area. Where appropriate, this has had regard to existing and proposed strategic connections, and to existing development and uses, including the policy status, lease arrangements and/or importance of these to the wider functioning of the city.

However, in certain places, the Spatial Framework is at odds with what is currently provided on the ground. It will therefore be necessary to assemble land and/or to relocate existing buildings and/or their use to accommodate the Spatial Framework layout and to optimise the development potential of individual sites. Existing land uses compatible with new proposed development should be retained and incorporated as part of the redevelopment of an existing site or relocated to a more suitable site within North East Cambridge. This includes industrial uses and floorspace in accordance with Policy 12b: Industry. Incompatible uses will need to be relocated to suitable and available locations outside of the Area Action Plan area.

A comprehensive approach to development, in accordance with Policy 1, will often be in the public interest within the Area Action Plan area. Without positive intervention, in the form of land assembly or relocations, the constraints posed by site boundaries, neighbouring development or uses, incremental development, and above and below-ground services, all have potentially limiting consequences for the achievement of the spatial plan and, therein, the scale, layout and viability of proposed development. Across North East Cambridge as a whole, such consequences could depress the efficient use of land, or the proper planning of development (in terms of layout, design, use etc) and the ability of development to support the provision of strategic infrastructure and deliver upon the strategic Area Action Plan objectives.

  • Availability of industrial land measured through no overall net loss of industrial and warehouse floorspace (B2 and B8).

Cambridge Local Plan 2018

  • Policy 15: Cambridge Northern Fringe East and new railway Station Area of Major Change
  • Policy 41: Protection of business space
  • Policy 56: Creating successful places

South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018

  • Policy SS/4: Cambridge Northern Fringe East and land surrounding the proposed Cambridge Science Park Station
  • Policy E/14: Loss of employment land to non employment uses
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