About the Local Plan review

The Cambridge Local Plan will set out the planning framework to guide the future development of Cambridge to 2031. It will be one of the development plan documents which comprise the city council's Local Development Framework.

Other development plan documents include the North West Cambridge area action plan and the Cambridge East area action plan. The council has also completed a Statement of Community Involvement.


  • Preparation and completion of evidence base: Spring 2011 to June 2012. Complete
  • Issues and options consultation: 15 June to 27 July 2012. Complete
  • Consultation on site options for development: 7 January to 18 February 2013. Complete
  • Draft submission plan consultation: 19 July to 30 September 2013. Complete
  • Submission: 28 March 2014. Complete. Submission documents can be found in our reference documents library
  • Examination: 28 March 2014 onwards
  • Hearing sessions commenced on 4 November 2014. 

    The Examination hearings have now closed.  No further comments or submissions will be accepted unless they have been expressly invited by the Inspectors.

    No information is currently available regarding the date that the Inspectors’ reports will be available.  It is likely that consultation will take place during the Autumn on Main Modifications.  Further information will be published, when available, on the Councils’ websites.

  • Adoption: 2018

Current status

The Cambridge Local Plan 2014: Proposed Submission document and supporting documentation were submitted to the Secretary of State on 28 March 2014. The examination of the Local Plan commenced on 4 November 2014.

The Inspectors wrote to the Councils in May 2015 [PDF] raising some specific concerns and suspended the local plan examination whilst further work was undertaken on the following subject areas: objectively assessed need for housing, the inner green belt, transport, infrastructure delivery, viability and an update to the Councils’ Sustainability Appraisals (see the Local Plan Examination pages for more details).

Where we are so far

Council meetings to consider the outcome of further work and proposed modifications were held in November. The meetings considered key findings from the workstreams, any modifications to the Local Plans, and agreed the documents for consultation. Joint public consultation (for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire modifications) was held between 2 December 2015 and 25 January 2016.

The councils' considered the responses to the consultation and presented the results to their respective committees in March for approval. 

The Councils submitted the further work  to address the Inspectors’ concerns including accompanying proposed modifications to the Planning Inspectors on the 31 March 2016.

South Cambridgeshire District Council has provided a separate letter in respect of the provisional Modification to the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan to allocate land south of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC).

In a separate letter, Cambridge City Council has advised the Inspectors that they will be undertaking further work in relation to student accommodation.

For further progress on the Local Plans Examinations visit the Examination page.

Previous stages of the Local Plan

The consultation on the draft Local Plan for Cambridge ran for 10 weeks from 9am on 19 July to 5pm 30 September 2013; the consultation is now closed.

The key issues raised and the schedule of minor changes to the plan were considered at Development Plan Scrutiny Sub-Committee on Tuesday 17 December 2013, at Environment Scrutiny Committee on 14 January 2014 and at Full Council on 13 February 2014.

The Issues and Options report (Stage 1) consultation closed on 27 July 2012. The Issues and Options 2 consultation closed on 18 February 2013. Various studies fed into the Issues and Options reports - to see these visit the background documents page.

All comments received through all three stages of consultation have been analysed and have helped to shape the preparation of our new Local Plan.


The council has a local plan blog to provide you with the latest and most up to date information on the progress of the Local Plan.

Local Plan Review workshops

As part of evidence base preparation, a series of workshops were held between December 2011 and February 2012, with councillors, stakeholders, developers, agents and residents' associations. The purpose of the workshops was to explain how the plan will be prepared, to encourage people to get involved and to discuss issues and concerns.

Each workshop started with an introduction to the plan. This was followed by discussions about: the future vision for Cambridge; planning challenges and issues facing the city; and the effectiveness of policies in the existing Local Plan (2006). Written reports of these workshops and a summary document can be found below.

Sustainability appraisal

The council's final Sustainability Appraisal submitted as part of the Cambridge Local Plan 2014 submission documents is available.

The Sustainability Appraisal [PDF] was consulted on in tandem with the Cambridge Local Plan 2014: Proposed Submission, the consultation closed on 30 September 2013.

Sustainability appraisal is an integral part of developing the new Cambridge Local Plan to 2031. Its purpose is to identify and evaluate the impacts of the plan on the economy, the community (social) and the environment - which are the three dimensions of sustainable development - and to guide decision making. It is required by national regulations and the EU Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) directive.

The first stage of the appraisal was to establish its scope by producing a Scoping Report [PDF 4.4 MB]. This identified key sustainability issues in Cambridge and provided a framework for carrying out the rest of the appraisal.

The draft scoping report was subject to a five-week consultation period (in line with the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations, 2004) in February/March 2012, in order to canvass views on the framework and evidence base presented in the report.

Sustainability appraisal reports were also produced and consulted on during both Issues and Options (June/July 2012) and Issues and Options 2 (January /February 2013) consultations.

Consultation and community engagement strategy

The Local Plan is a key document for Cambridge, setting out policies and proposals to guide the future planning and development of the city.

The review of the Local Plan goes through a number of key stages and it is important that effective consultation and community engagement is at the heart of this process.

With this in mind, a Consultation and Community Engagement Strategy [PDF] was prepared. This sets out the council's approach to consulting and engaging people from an early stage of the review process.

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