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Councils ask residents for their views on plans for a new low-carbon city district in north east Cambridge

News release from 24/07/2020

Local councils have drafted plans for a new city district in North East Cambridge – which could create 8,000 homes and provide space for 20,000 jobs over the next 20-plus years – and they now want to know what residents and businesses think of the draft plans.

The councils’ vision is for the area between the A14, the Guided Busway and Cambridge North station to be a walkable and lively mix of homes, workplaces, services, and green spaces that is inclusive and fully integrated with surrounding neighbourhoods.

The plans by the Greater Cambridge Planning Service (a partnership between South Cambridgeshire District and Cambridge City councils), developed in collaboration with stakeholders and communities, build on case studies from around the world on creating low-carbon, low-car-use districts.

As part of a formal statutory consultation, leaflets are being delivered to 20,000 homes across the local area to gain residents’ feedback. The Councils are running online Q&A sessions where residents can find out more about the proposals and ask questions to the team. The draft plan is published online where people can comment. And you can find out more by watching the proposed vision for the new district.

Everyone can help shape the future plans for North East Cambridge by visiting https://www.greatercambridgeplanning.org/nec and submitting comments during the consultation, which runs from 9am on 27 July to 5pm on 5 October.


The 20-year vision for the new district:

  • To be inclusive, with a lively mix of homes, workplaces, services, and social spaces that are fully integrated with surrounding neighbourhoods
  • Meeting robust targets for energy use, water conservation and discouraging car use, with developers having to prove they can increase biodiversity
  • With a 10 hectare network of new green spaces linking Milton Country Park to Chesterton Fen, and down to Nuffield Road, to encourage active and healthy lifestyles
  • For people to be able to easily walk and cycle to work, school or college, local shops and leisure activities – a place where the car is not king, reducing car use and air pollution
  • To include 8,000 new homes, with a target of 40 per cent affordable rented and shared ownership homes
  • To have space for around 20,000 jobs
  • Four new centres within the district for shops, restaurants, community and cultural facilities
  • To include three new primary schools
  • With 10 new and improved walking/cycling crossings to reduce current barriers to people getting around safely and quickly, such as the A14 and the railway line
  • To be an innovative and forward-looking neighbourhood

Cllr Katie Thornburrow, Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces at Cambridge City Council, said: “Our vision is for a neighbourhood that mixes homes, business space, and community services with lots of green space, so that people can spend time enjoying being outdoors. We want a place where a strong community can grow, one with the facilities people need at hand, where everyone can easily get to the new jobs that will come into the area without having to battle traffic and where children can safely play near their home because of the way the district will be designed to encourage active travel, with streets that slow down motor vehicles.

“This new district in the north east of the city can be a model for the rest of Cambridge, as we look for ways to reduce congestion and its environmental impacts and make housing more affordable. It gives us an excellent opportunity to show how a low-carbon, sustainable neighbourhood can be a great place to live and work.

Cllr Thornburrow added: “Now we want as much feedback on the plans from residents and businesses as possible, to ensure we’re on the right track before we embark on a project that will run for over 20 years. Please let us know what you think by answering our 10 big questions online.”

Cllr Dr. Tumi Hawkins, Lead Cabinet Member for Planning at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for us to lead the way and show how we can create new places that prioritise community cohesion and enable a zero carbon way of life. If we want to make systemic change we need to set our sights high, and we’re working incredibly hard to enable development that brings much-needed homes but also responds to the climate and biodiversity emergencies.

“We can only do this by building the right kind of development in the right place. With existing transport links, such as Cambridge North station, this 180-hectare brownfield site is the right place. It gives us a unique chance to provide the homes that people desperately need in a place where they won’t need to rely on a car to get to their jobs. And building the right kind of development means reducing the emissions resulting from construction, the energy used to heat, light and maintain buildings, and encouraging the people who will live and work here to lead low-carbon lifestyles. This new plan sets out our ground-breaking plans to achieve this.

“One of the most exciting parts is that we can create a community where everyone can get what they need on their doorstep. We know from lockdown that people have been doing more local trips on foot, and this district will enable a way of life where residents can get to shops, schools, different types of work, beautiful green spaces, cultural and community facilities, and public transport in just a short walk or bike ride. The new network of walking and cycling routes will also make it much easier for people to travel from South Cambridgeshire villages into the new district and into the city centre without needing to rely on a car, which is essential if we are to achieve our net zero carbon ambition by 2050.”

The draft North East Cambridge Area Action Plan, a planning framework that will guide how development is designed and built, is being published after several years’ work with communities and partners by the Greater Cambridge Planning Service.

The draft Area Action Plan draws on consultations in 2014 and 2019 and ongoing, detailed studies on everything from biodiversity to noise and transport, in order to ensure the draft plans can be practically achieved over 20 years.

Regeneration of the area requires the Anglian Water Cambridge Waste Water Treatment Plant to be relocated. The new, relocated facility will continue to provide vital services to Cambridge and the surrounding area in a modern, carbon efficient Waste Water Treatment Plant, which will be developed by Anglian Water in collaboration with the community. A site for the new Waste Water Treatment Plant has not yet been confirmed but this process is subject to its own consultation process currently running this summer, led by Anglian Water.