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Cambridge City Council

Local Plan review: About the examination

Latest news: Updated 3 September 2018

The Local Plans have been found sound

The independent Inspectors appointed to examine the Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire Local Plans have written their Final Reports, published on Monday 3 September 2018.

The Inspectors’ Reports conclude that the Cambridge Local Plan (see below) and the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan are sound and provide an appropriate basis for the planning of the area, provided that a number of main modifications are made, which are detailed in their reports.

The Inspectors have considered responses received during these consultation periods, and all other matters raised throughout the examination period, in reaching their conclusions.

The Inspectors' Report for the Cambridge Local Plan can be viewed below. You can also request to see the report in person at our Customer Service Centre.

Following receipt of the Inspectors' Report, the examinations of the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan and Cambridge Local Plan have now concluded.

Inspectors' Reports documents

What happens next?

The Cambridge Local Plan will be discussed at a Policy and Transport Scrutiny Committee meeting on 2 October before a final decision on adoption is made at a Council meeting on 18 October.

The South Cambridgeshire Local Plan will be presented to a Cabinet meeting on 24 September before a final decision on adoption is made at a Council meeting on 27 September.

Previous stages of the Local Plan examination

Main Modifications consultation

Public consultation on Main Modifications to the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan and Cambridge Local Plan (and associated Sustainability Appraisal of the Main Modifications) ended at 5pm on Friday 16 February 2018.

Representations received have been published, and are available to view on the Councils’ interactive online consultation system pages:

The  Statement of Consultation  [PDF, 0.7MB]provides a summary of the representation received.

What happens next?

The representations (in full) received have been submitted to the Inspectors undertaking the examination.

The Inspectors will consider all the comments received and will decide whether any further hearings are necessary, or any issues need to be revisited. At the end of the examination process the Inspectors will present their final conclusions in their Reports into the examination of each Local Plan. If the plans are found ‘sound’, with any necessary modifications, they would be able to be adopted by the Councils.

Response from the Inspectors

The Councils received a letter [PDF, 0.1MB] from the Inspectors on 15 November 2017 in response to their publication of the working correspondence with the Inspectors.

Working Correspondence with Inspectors: 14 November 2017

The Planning Inspectors examining our Local Plan and also the Cambridge Local Plan closed the hearings in July and advised that they anticipated that consultation will take place during Autumn 2017 on Main Modifications that they consider may be necessary to ensure the Local Plans can be found ‘sound’ and adopted.

During the last few weeks, there have been several exchanges of correspondence between the Councils and the Inspectors. During these exchanges, Inspectors have asked Council officers to assist in the preparation of the above-mentioned modifications which are to be consulted on. This stage has not yet been completed, but you can view this working correspondence between the Councils and the inspectors up to this point on the Local Plan review: Post-submission correspondence with the Inspector webpage.

The documents cover some of the changes the Inspectors have suggested they believe may need to be consulted on.

Once the inspectors are content that they have a complete final list of the modifications that they consider may be necessary to make the plan ‘sound’, they will write to the Council and formally ask us to undertake a consultation.

The consultation provides the opportunity to comment on the specific detailed changes put forward but it does not reopen the debate on other matters. These other matters include the modifications which we consulted on from December 2015 to January 2016.

An update will be provided once the content and timings around this upcoming consultation are confirmed.

The working correspondence can be viewed on the Local Plan review: Post-submission correspondence with the Inspector webpage.

Submission of Further Proposed Modifications to the Inspectors (30 November 2016)

The planning inspectors wrote to the Councils [PDF, 57Kb] on 7 September 2016 asking for clarification on the progress of a number of areas of work, including the provisional modification by South Cambridgeshire District Council to allocate land south of the Cambridgeshire Biomedical Campus (which is referred to in the updated Hearings Programme). Cambridge City Council responded [PDF, 66Kb] on 16 September 2016 and South Cambridgeshire District Council responded [PDF, 0.1MB] on 23 September 2016, providing schedules outlining the specific work being undertaken, relevant committee dates and the target dates for submission of the work to the Inspectors.

Inspectors Note: 7 April 2016

The Inspector has issued Inspector Note 2 (RD/Gen/151) [PDF, 46Kb] which relates to appearances in relation to the Proposed Modifications representations.

Submission of Further Work and accompanying Proposed Modifications to the Inspectors: 31 March 2016

Further to the letters issued by the Inspectors examining the Local Plans on 20 May 2015 [PDF, 0.2MB] and 28 July 2015 [PDF, 0.1MB], the Councils submitted the further work  to address the Inspectors’ concerns including accompanying proposed modifications on the 31 March 2016 [PDF, 0.3MB].

South Cambridgeshire District Council has provided a separate letter [PDF, 0.2MB] 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.

Inspectors' Preliminary Conclusions: 20 May 2015

The Inspectors examining the Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire Local Plans issued a letter [PDF, 0.2MB] on 20 May 2015 outlining some preliminary conclusions following the joint hearings and further work required to support the Local Plans.

The Councils responded [PDF, 0.4MB] to this letter on 30 June 2015 proposing suspending the examination process until February 2016 to allow further work to be undertaken. In a separate letter [PDF, 0.3MB] the Councils asked the Inspectors to consider providing a single issue report on the joint trajectory and sought the Inspectors’ advice in relation to further work on the Gypsy and Travellers Accommodation Needs Assessment.

We received a response from the Inspectors [PDF, 0.1MB] on 28 July 2015. The Inspectors recognised that the Councils are taking a positive approach to addressing the concerns they have raised and they formally suspended the examinations until March 2016.

The Inspectors also said that they were considering whether it would be possible to progress the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) examinations whilst the Local Plan examinations are suspended and asked the Councils for their views on this possibility.

The Inspectors issued a further letter [PDF, 70Kb] updating their position on the CIL examinations on 18 August 2015.

On 1 September 2015, the Councils responded [PDF, 0.2MB] to the two letters from the Inspectors asking the Inspectors if they will reconsider issuing a view on the principle of the joint housing trajectory given the 5-year land supply issues in South Cambridgeshire and sets out the Councils’ view that it would be appropriate to give formal consideration to the timing of the CIL examinations later in the year once further work has been completed and asks the Inspectors to keep the matter open at this stage.

We received a response from the Inspectors [PDF, 78Kb] on 10 September 2015. The Inspectors do not consider it appropriate to reach any conclusions on the principle of the joint housing trajectory in advance of knowing the outcome of the further work that is being undertaken. The Inspectors say that it is unlikely that the CIL examinations could proceed during the suspension of the Local Plan examinations due to the relationship with the development strategy.

The Councils wrote [PDF, 0.5MB] to the Inspectors on 28 September 2015 updating them on progress and confirming the overall timetable for the further work that is being undertaken.

Further work was undertaken by the Councils and a Joint public consultation (for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire modifications) was held between 2 December 2015 and 25 January 2016. The councils' have considered the responses to the consultation and  presented the results to their respective committees for approval. Committee dates can be found on the proposed modifications consultation webpage. The further work  to address the Inspectors’ concerns including accompanying proposed modifications was submitted to the Planning Inspectors on the 31 March 2016 [PDF, 0.3MB].

Hearings Programme

The Planning Inspector has issued Inspector Note 1 (RD/Gen/150) [PDF, 0.2MB] which relates to the context for hearings on site allocations, strategy and omissions sites at the Local Plan Examination.

The most up-to-date hearings programme and the Matters and Issues can be found on the Hearings Sessions webpage. Together these documents show the dates of the hearings, what matters will be discussed and also who will be participating at the hearings.

Information relating to South Cambridgeshire only hearing sessions are published on South Cambridgeshire Examinations page.

Important information relating to the 3,000 word limit on hearing statements [PDF, 42Kb] has also been released.

The Inspector has issued Guidance notes [PDF, 0.1MB] for those participating in the examination explaining the examination process in more detail.

Examination of the Local Plan

On 28 March 2014, the Cambridge Local Plan 2014 and its supporting documents were submitted for independent examination to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government via the Planning Inspectorate.

All the representations made during the public consultation on the Cambridge Local Plan Proposed Submission between July and September 2013 are available to view using the online consultation system.

The Inspectors and Programme Officer

The Secretary of State has appointed Laura Graham BSC MA MRTPI as the Inspector from the Planning Inspectorate to carry out an independent examination of the Cambridge Local Plan. Her task is to establish whether the Local Plan is ‘sound’, taking into consideration representations made during public consultation on the Proposed Submission Local Plan between July and September 2013. She will then report on her findings, including advising if changes are needed to make the Local Plan sound.

The Inspector is being assisted by an Assistant Inspector – Alan Wood MSC FRICS.

Gloria Alexander is the Programme Officer who is assisting the Inspectors. All correspondence relating to the examination should be addressed to Gloria Alexander:

Laura Graham has also been appointed to examine the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan. Given the close relationship between the two plans, key shared issues are to be considered by the Inspector at joint hearings.

The examination process

The Local Plan examination is expected to follow the format outlined below:

  • Inspectors' information on Matters and Issues joint sessions [DOC, 45Kb]
  • Pre-hearing meeting – this meeting held by the Inspector explained the format of the examination.
  • Publication of Main Matters and Issues - these are the matters and issues that the Inspector has identified to date for consideration at the hearings. The list of matters and issues will be updated during the examination process.
  • The production of written statements - these statements are written by the council(s) and objectors in response to the Inspectors Matters and Issues and may include Statements of Common Ground.
  • Hearing sessions– the Inspector will hold hearing sessions. A programme detailing the hearings that have been identified to date has been published. Hearings are an opportunity for the Inspector to clarify and/or seek additional information on issues relating to the 'soundness' of the Local Plan. Members of the public are able to attend hearing sessions to observe proceedings.
  • Production of the Inspector's report - giving her recommendations

Throughout the examination process there may be correspondence on certain issues between the Inspector and the council; this correspondence can be found on the Post Submission Correspondence with the Inspector webpage.

If you wish to find out in more detail how the examination of the Local Plan will be carried out the Planning Inspectorate has published a useful guide: Examining Local Plans Procedural Practice.

Reference documents library

Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council have jointly produced a list of documents that are likely to be referred to during the examination hearings: Reference Document Library

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