Policy S/NWC: North West Cambridge

DRAFT version for various committee meetings.

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Figure 28: Map of proposed policy area S/NWC
Figure 28: Map of proposed policy area S/NWC

What will this policy do?

This policy will guide the continued development of the University’s North West Cambridge development, known as Eddington, including additional policy provision to accommodate the additional homes identified in the development strategy.

Proposed policy direction

The updated policy will enable the development of additional dwellings on the site beyond those identified in current plans, provided through changes to the dwelling mix and appropriate intensification of development areas that have yet to be built. This will be identified in the draft Local Plan following a detailed review of the site wide masterplan, but is anticipated to be in the region of 1,000 to 1,500 homes.

The North West Cambridge Area Action Plan requires a minimum of 50% affordable housing to meet the needs of Cambridge University and College key workers in housing need, subject to viability considerations, whether there are other planning objectives that need to be given priority, and the need to ensure balanced and sustainable communities. Up to date evidence of the need for affordable housing for key workers will be required.  If need is not demonstrated, provision should be in the form of normal affordable housing.

Additional dwellings will be built in areas already identified for development, and would not take land identified for open space.  Additional dwellings will create additional infrastructure demands, and additional contributions to infrastructure will be required to pay for the enhancement of facilities. 

The potential for a single policy that looks at this site together with the University’s West Cambridge site, to ensure the benefits of this significant area of innovation are maximised, will be considered as part of preparing the draft plan.

Why is this policy needed?

The North West Cambridge Area Action Plan was adopted by Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council in 2009. This released an area of land from the Green Belt to meet the University’s long-term development needs. A planning application was approved in 2013 for 1,500 houses and flats for key University staff, 1,500 houses and flats for general sale to the public, accommodation for 2,000 post graduate students, and 100,000m2 of research buildings.

The development, now known as Eddington, is becoming a thriving urban quarter, and includes a district centre with a supermarket, primary school and community facilities. At March 2020 858 dwellings were complete (including 686 affordable dwellings), along with 325 student rooms.

The University of Cambridge has proposed that an increase of dwellings could be achieved whilst building upon the successes of early phases, to respond to their needs whilst continuing to deliver the scheme to a high standard. They consider that the site could accommodate in total up to 4,500 dwellings (an increase of 1,500), alongside the other previously approved uses. The final figure to be included in the draft Local Plan would necessarily flow from a detailed review of the masterplan, which will include consideration of landscape, townscape and heritage impacts. At this stage a more cautious estimate of 1,000 dwellings has been included in our assessment of housing supply.

What consultation have we done on this issue?

There was no specific consultation on this issue in the First Conversation consultation.

What alternatives did we consider?

Carry forward guidance in the North West Cambridge Area Action Plan subject to any updates provided by policies in the new Local Plan, and not enabling additional development. – This was not the preferred option due to the opportunities the area presents to meet future needs for the area by building upon an emerging new “place” in the city located in a highly sustainable location.

Supporting evidence studies and topic papers

  • Greater Cambridge Local Plan: Topic paper 1: Strategy
  • Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment

Existing policies in adopted 2018 Local Plans

North West Cambridge area Action Plan 2009 (Adopted Jointly by Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council)

South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018 - None

Cambridge Local Plan 2018 - None

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