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New museums site development framework SPD

Cambridge City Council has produced a New Museums Site Development Framework SPD [PDF, 8.5MB] in order to help all parties involved (such as the council and the University of Cambridge) deliver extensive site improvements. These include:

  • improved university facilities;
  • changes to the public realm;
  • providing better access for all; and
  • adopting more sustainable forms of development while respecting the site’s heritage and surroundings.

The New Museums Site Development Framework has been prepared to support Policy No. 43: University development and site allocation 'U2' as set out in the Cambridge Local Plan 2018.

After being approved for public consultation at Development Plan Scrutiny Sub-Committee on 16 June 2015, the draft New Museums Site Development Framework was the subject of consultation for 6 weeks between 13 July and 7 September 2016.

The final New Museums Site Development Framework was agreed at Development Plan Scrutiny Sub-Committee on 14 March 2016, in anticipation of the adoption of the Local Plan, and it was agreed that it should be carried forward for adoption as a Supplementary Planning Document at the same time as the Local Plan.

The New Museums Site Development Framework SPD was adopted by the council in December 2018

Responses to the consultation

Public consultation on the document ran from:

9am on Monday 13 July 2015 to 5pm on Monday 7 September 2015

You can view responses to the draft New Museums Site Development Framework SPD [PDF, 9.5MB] by visiting our online consultation system.

The draft SPD and associated documents can also be purchased from the Customer Service Centre (phone 01223 457200).


The New Museums Site Development Framework SPD has been prepared to support policies and objectives in the Cambridge Local Plan 2014: Proposed Submission. It is a framework which will help co-ordinate and guide future redevelopment of the site in line with the Council’s Local Plan policies and the aspirations of the University of Cambridge. In particular, this SPD has been prepared to support Policy No. 43: University faculty development and site allocation U2 as set out in the Cambridge Local Plan 2014: Proposed Submission (and amended by the Addendum to the Cambridge Local Plan 2014 Proposed Submission Document (July 2013): Schedule of Proposed Changes Following Proposed Submission Consultation (February 2014) [PDF, 20MB]). The SPD has been prepared in line with the requirements of the Town and County Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.

The site

The site is one of the University of Cambridge's most central and prominent sites and occupies an historic location in the city centre with a unique and globally important heritage. The site sits between the area of College development along Trumpington Street and the commercial core of the town along St. Andrews Street. Pembroke College and the University’s Downing and Old Addenbrooke’s sites are to the south; Corpus Christi College is to the west; the Corn Exchange and Grand Arcade shopping areas are to the east and the Guildhall and Market Square are to the north. As such the site has an important role in mediating between the scale of modern commercial development to the east and that of older college buildings to the west, and between the busy vehicular highway that is Pembroke/ Downing Street to the south and the more pedestrian orientated area around the Market Square to the north. A site location map can be accessed here: NMS - Site Location [PDF, 0.9MB]


The document has been prepared jointly by both the University of Cambridge and Cambridge City Council to set out what is expected in relation to the future re-development of the site. The purpose of the SPD is threefold:

  • To articulate a clear vision about the future of the New Museums Site
  • To establish a framework to co-ordinate redevelopment within the site and the immediate public realm to the site and to help guide decisions (by the City Council, the university and others); and
  • To identify key place-making principles through a series of themed development principles

The Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessment

A Sustainability Appraisal (which included the New Museums Site allocation [1]) and Habitats Regulations Assessment Screening Report have been carried out and consulted upon for the Cambridge Local Plan 2014: Proposed Submission. This consultation took place between 19 July and 30 September 2013. These documents, along with other supporting documents will also be available to view during this consultation.

A Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) is an assessment to ensure that a plan will not have an adverse effect on the integrity of either Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) or Special Protection Areas (SPA). For the New Museums Site SPD, a HRA Screening Report (NMS - HRA Screening) [PDF, 0.5MB] has been produced, which updates the findings of the Screening Report carried out for the Local Plan. This document, which is currently being considered by Natural England, concludes that the draft New Museums Site SPD is unlikely to have any significant impacts on the conservation objectives of Natura 2000 and Ramsar sites identified.

A Sustainability Appraisal Screening Report (NMS - Sustainability Appraisal Screening Report.pdf [PDF, 475kB]) was also completed for the New Museums Site SPD. This document confirmed that the allocation of land at the New Museums Site took place as part of the process of developing the Cambridge Local Plan 2014, and as such has been subject to a Sustainability Appraisal as part of the Local Plan process. The conclusion of this screening process is that as the draft New Museums Site SPD does not make any changes to this allocation, or the policy guidance contained within Policy 43 of the Plan, it will not give rise to significant environmental effects.

The draft New Museums Site SPD does not give rise to significant social and economic effects beyond those already identified as part of the appraisal of the parent policy and site allocation contained within the Cambridge Local Plan 2014. As such it is not considered necessary to undertake a separate SA for this SPD.

[1] Cambridge City Council Part 2, 'Site Options within Cambridge' – Interim Sustainability Appraisal (2013)