Policy I/ID: Infrastructure and delivery

DRAFT version for various committee meetings.

We are currently testing our new digital plan platform - please provide us your feedback

What will this policy do?

This policy will set out how necessary infrastructure to support development should be delivered.

Proposed policy direction

We propose to only permit development if there is, or will be, sufficient infrastructure capacity to support and meet all the requirements arising from the new development, at the time when they are needed. Developers will be required to deliver infrastructure directly, or contribute through planning obligations, community infrastructure levy or its successor.

Infrastructure needs will be informed by an Infrastructure Delivery Plan and schedule which will accompany later stages of the Local Plan.

Why is this policy needed?

New development creates additional demand for infrastructure and services, and it is reasonable for developers to address these needs in order that development is sustainable. This could include delivery of infrastructure on site as part of developments, but also contribution towards off site infrastructure.

National planning policy requires plans to set out the contributions expected from development. This includes the level of affordable housing expected to be included on sites, but also on a range of other issues such as transport, education, and green spaces. These requirements should not undermine deliverability of the plan.

An Infrastructure Delivery Plan is being prepared to accompany the new Local Plan. This will identify the infrastructure that is needed, when it is needed, and how much it costs. In November 2020 we published an interim report looking at the infrastructure needs of different options available to the plan. We have now published a further interim stage, looking at the infrastructure needs of the proposals set out in this consultation. More detailed and comprehensive plans will accompany the draft Local Plan, which will evolve as the plan moves towards adoption.

Whilst much of the infrastructure needed is local to development sites, Greater Cambridge also needs strategic infrastructure like major transport infrastructure, and utilities improvements such as to the electricity grid. These take time to bring forward, and the infrastructure plan will identify when these are needed in order that they are available and do not slow down developments.

Infrastructure delivery is complex, with a range of organisations responsible for the delivery of different types. On transport infrastructure we will work closely with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (in their role as Local Transport Authority), the County Council, and the Greater Cambridge Partnership.

The timing of infrastructure relative to the development is very important to the community, as people are concerned about pressure on existing communities. Whilst desirable, it is not always practicable to deliver all the planned infrastructure upfront before development starts, but a phased approach is needed so that it becomes available as the development progresses.

Government are currently reviewing the mechanisms for securing developer funding. We will await the outcome of this review before determining the precise mechanisms of how the Local Plan will address developer contributions.

When plans are prepared they need to be accompanied by evidence to show their proposals are viable, such that development can actually happen. That developments can afford to meet all the policy requirements in terms of the standards set by the plan and the contributions to infrastructure they are required to make. Government guidance sets out how this should be tested. We published an initial viability assessment in November 2020, and have now published further viability assessments testing the proposals in this First Proposals consultation. Further viability testing will be carried out as the draft plan is prepared, and more detailed policies for sites are developed.

What consultation have we done on this issue?

The First Conversation consultation asked several questions relating to infrastructure. Consultation responses raised several issues around the level, requirement, and location of infrastructure to support housing and employment development.

Respondents stated that the level of infrastructure provision should be commensurate with the levels of development proposed in the plan. It was important that existing infrastructure deficits are addressed before the delivery of housing. The timing and impact of development on existing services was a common theme, with particular issues highlighted from village communities.

What alternatives did we consider?

No policy – Not considered a reasonable alternative as this would not provide sufficient clarity regarding the requirement of developers to mitigate the impacts of their developments, what infrastructure was needed and when, and how it would be secured.

Supporting evidence studies and topic papers

  • Greater Cambridge Local Plan: Topic paper 8: Infrastructure
  • Greater Cambridge Local Plan Infrastructure Delivery Plan Interim Report (2021)
  • Greater Cambridge Local Plan Viability Study and Assessment Interim Report (2021)

Existing policies in adopted 2018 Local Plans

South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018

  • Policy TI/8: Infrastructure and New Developments

Cambridge Local Plan 2018

  • Policy 85: Infrastructure delivery, planning obligations and the Community Infrastructure Levy

Tell us what you think

Tell us what you think about this policy, by clicking on the comment point (purple speech bubble) to open the comment box and leave your feedback.