8.6 Meanwhile uses

Development across North East Cambridge will be phased over a number of years and critical to its success will be making sure that a sense of place and community is developed from the start. Temporary 'meanwhile' projects which create community services, small-scale business and retail spaces and public realm can achieve this, supporting local skills development and entrepreneurship, and meeting short-term gaps in the delivery of permanent community infrastructure.

This policy sets out how temporary planning permission will be supported for meanwhile uses that contribute to the vibrancy and wider vision for the area.

  • You supported taking a positive, innovative and flexible approach, enabling a balanced mix of uses to provide the early foundations for North East Cambridge where they would add vibrancy.
  • You suggested that there should be no limitations on the scale of meanwhile uses as this would be contrary to their purpose and could stifle innovation and creativity, or their timescale which will be dependent upon the timescales of permanent development and a reasonable period of occupation may be needed to recoup investment.
  • You commented that meanwhile uses should be compatible with surrounding uses, including the Waste Water Treatment Plant (depending on timing for its relocation).

How your comments have been taken into account

  • Reflecting your comments, the proposed policy for meanwhile uses provides flexibility for innovative solutions to be delivered in a timely manner. This will help establish behaviour and trip patterns from the outset and ensure North East Cambridge is a vibrant and attractive place for new and existing residents and employees.
  • The policy seeks to ensure that meanwhile uses are coordinated and compatible with surrounding uses and would not prejudice development land from being brought forward.

Policy 28 – Meanwhile uses

Within North East Cambridge temporary consent will be granted for "meanwhile" uses to enable the delivery of services and facilities, including shops, bars, cafes, other retail, work units such as office start-ups, health facilities, charities, nurseries and community centres and spaces, on sites which are not expected to come forward for development in the short-term.

Such uses should be provided in a flexible and coordinated way and demonstrate how they contribute to the vibrancy of the immediate area and support the delivery outcomes and vision set out in the Area Action Plan.

Planning permission for buildings that would otherwise remain empty or underused will be permitted, on a temporary basis, where the use meets the day-to-day needs of the local community, subject to any relevant amenity issues. Time limited conditions should be used, linked to the phasing of the delivery of the District's Centres and the delivery of permanent facilities.

Relevant Objective: 1, 2, 4, 5

Comprehensive regeneration of North East Cambridge to create a new city district will be phased over a number of years and it is not always possible or feasible to put permanent structures and/or uses in place from the outset. Providing temporary "meanwhile"[1] spaces, buildings and uses during the initial stages of the development can help provide opportunities for active uses throughout the redevelopment and to ensure that the new residents do not need to travel far to meet their day to day needs and avoid unsustainable patterns of movement.

These uses can be located in existing vacant spaces, buildings or temporary structures (often with cheaper rents for the occupiers) whilst the development is built-out and later replaced with a permanent facility. This also has the benefit of acting as a prototype for the character of this new city district, ensuring early understanding of it as a place, enhancing the attractiveness to potential future tenants, and businesses may flourish helping to provide readymade tenants that can migrate into permanent space.

Applications that keep suitable existing spaces and buildings in active use in the short-term will be supported. New facilities, including shops, bars, cafes, other retail, work units such as office start-ups, health facilities, charities, nurseries and community centres and spaces, should be provided in flexible spaces which are adaptable, and consideration should be given to co-locating uses to generate vibrant spaces. The duration of any consent should be linked to the phasing of permanent facilities and will vary according to the individual circumstances and use.

Such uses should ensure that they have no negative impacts on residential amenity or the immediate area and that they continue to complement the vibrancy and distinctiveness of the area. Meanwhile uses will not be permitted where they would prevent development from being brought forward in a timely fashion. Consideration should be given to how meanwhile uses transition to new permanent sites within the Area Action Plan area as they become available to ensure their continuity.

  • Numbers of different land uses permitted

South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018

  • Policy SC/4: Meeting Community Needs


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