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Cambridge City Council

Statement on any conflict of interest related to North East Cambridge and relocation of Cambridge's waste water treatment plant

28 June 2023

The below statement was issued in response to a media enquiry about whether there is any conflict of interest in relation to a proposed new city district in North East Cambridge and the relocation of Anglian Water's waste water treatment plant.  

A spokesperson for Cambridge City Council said:The planning permission process for the relocation of the waste water treatment plant is being determined via a Development Consent Order (DCO). DCOs tend to cover projects related to major infrastructure. DCOs are overseen and examined by the Planning Inspectorate, not the Local Planning Authority, with final recommendations signed off by the Secretary of State, and are therefore out of the jurisdiction of the Local Planning Authority in this case.

“Notwithstanding the specific circumstances in this case, it is not unusual for the Local Planning Authority to determine planning applications involving the development of land owned by the constituent council. The Cambridge City Council constitution does provide clear guidance on how any perceived conflicts of interest can be addressed, and ensures that decisions on such applications are made in public, through elected councillors with scrutiny by way of the appropriate committee. The Local Planning Authority function for Cambridge City Council is discharged through the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service (a shared service with South Cambridgeshire District Council), which is led by a jointly appointed Professional Planning Director. The Planning Director has responsibility for planning policy development and planning decisions. A separate, independent executive officer is responsible for the council’s land development interests. The council’s governance and regulatory framework therefore provides for the independent approach required under these circumstances.

“The Housing Infrastructure Funding awarded to fund the cost of the relocation of the waste water treatment plant, subject to planning permission, will cover the cost of the new plant. Neither Anglian Water nor Cambridge City Council are due to be enriched by the project. Aside from a standard return to cover their statutory and risk requirements for their assets, the vast majority of any value uplift on the current site, once all costs are covered, will be recycled to the Combined Authority for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough for reinvestment in affordable housing.