Policy S/CB: Cambourne

DRAFT version for various committee meetings.

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What will this policy do?

Identify Cambourne as a broad location for longer term strategic scale growth as an expansion to Cambourne, and will provide continued guidance for the development of the existing allocation at Cambourne West.

Proposed policy direction

The policy will set out the intention to identify Cambourne as a broad location for future growth in the 2030’s to respond to the opportunity that will be provided by the proposed East West Rail that includes a station at Cambourne. The overall aim for an expanded Cambourne is to provide sufficient critical mass to perform the following role as a:

  • Well-connected place through high quality public transport, cycling and walking facilities
  • South Cambridgeshire town for the 21st century
  • growing employment centre to provide local opportunities for its residents and nearby communities
  • place that meets the day to day needs of its residents.

Future development at Cambourne will need to consider:

  • How to integrate with and maximise the opportunity provided by East West Rail.
  • The role of the new development in Cambourne as a place, and how it can contribute towards the achievement of net zero carbon.
  • The relationship with Cambourne and Bourn Airfield, and how to make the area more sustainable, through the mix of services, employment and transport opportunities offered by the area as whole.
  • The economic role of the place, and which employment sectors would benefit from the location to support the needs of the Greater Cambridge economy.
  • How the place will develop over time, and the infrastructure needed to support different stages during its development.
  • Making effective connections within the new development and with Cambourne for public transport and active travel, as well as connections to surrounding villages so they can also benefit.
  • Be structured around and have local and district centres that can meet people’s day to day needs within walking distance, including responding to changing retail and working patterns
  • How it can help deliver the Western Gateway Green Infrastructure project, and in doing so positivity engage with its landscape setting, as well as recreation and biodiversity enhancement opportunities such as woodland planting.
  • Take opportunities to reduce flood risk to surrounding areas, that take innovative solutions to the management and reuse of water.

The following existing allocation for a new mixed use development at Cambourne West is proposed to be carried forward, but to be expanded to include the full extent of the planning permission:

  • SS/8: Cambourne West

A map showing the boundary of this allocation can be found at the end of this document.

Why is this policy needed?

Cambourne has been identified as the location for a new railway station as part of the East West Rail scheme to connect Oxford with Cambridge and potentially beyond. Along with the Cambourne to Cambridge public transport scheme being brought forward by the Greater Cambridge Partnership, it provides an opportunity to consider how further development could make the most of these connections, but also make the overall Cambourne area a more sustainable place. National planning policy says that plan making should look to the opportunities provided by major new infrastructure.

It is important to recognise that our evidence says that large scale development at Cambourne would have landscape impacts and that these would be hard to address. However, when considered in the context of the significant economic and carbon benefits of locating development at the proposed new rail station at Cambourne, it is considered that the benefits are likely to outweigh the level of landscape harm. This will be explored further as part of preparing the draft Local Plan, but the Councils are clear that development will need to be a landscape led scheme to minimise impacts in the wider landscape and to have a focus both on place making for the expanded town, and delivery of the wider vision for green infrastructure set out in the plan, including supporting the objectives for Strategic Green Infrastructure Initiative 8: Western gateway multifunctional GI corridors (see BG/GI Green Infrastructure).

Identifying the area for additional development should not simply be about delivering more housing. It needs to explore how this area including Cambourne and Bourn Airfield and nearby villages will function as a place, and its relationship with Cambridge, in order to enhance its sustainability. This means looking at a mix of services, facilities and employment in the area, and planning new development to enhance the role of the place. It means looking at connections between places within the area, so these opportunities are shared and reliance of private car travel is reduced.

National planning policy allows for longer term growth in plans to be identified as broad locations, where the exact quantity, locations and design will be defined through future plan reviews. Given that the East West Rail route and station location at Cambourne have yet to be confirmed, it Is too early to identify a specific development area and amount of development.

What consultation have we done on this issue?

There was no specific consultation on this issue in the First Conversation consultation, but we did ask for views about focusing development on transport corridors. There was broad support for this approach, and focusing development at public transport nodes.

What alternatives did we consider?

No Policy – Rejected given significant opportunity that the new major infrastructure of East West Rail and a new station at Cambourne will provide.

Supporting evidence studies and topic papers

  • Greater Cambridge Local Plan: Topic paper 1: Strategy

Existing policies in adopted 2018 Local Plans

South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018

  • Policy SS/8: Cambourne West

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