Go-ahead for 2,350 Cambridgeshire homes

Plans have been approved for up to 2,350 homes at a site to west of Cambridge, despite planners recognising that the plans would be contrary to policies in the local council's adopted and emerging local plans.

A masterplan image of the proposed development
A masterplan image of the proposed development

South Cambridgeshire District Council approved the outline application at a meeting of its planning committee earlier today.

The application sought permission for the construction of up to 2,350 homes, retail and office space, community facilities, two primary schools and one secondary school, alongside related infrastructure on a site to the west of the 1990s-built settlement of Cambourne.

A planning report into the application said the proposal was not consistent with policies in the council’s adopted local development framework, "and although a strategic scale draft allocation at Cambourne West is identified in the submitted [draft] local plan, the application is for a significantly larger site, and includes an additional 1,390 homes".

The report said that the acceptability of the development "has to be seen in the context of the draft allocation, proposing an urban extension to one of the district’s higher order rural settlements … and the fact that the district does not currently have a five-year housing land supply".

The report said that, as there was no five-year land supply in place, "the adopted local development framework policies in relation to the supply of housing are not up to date for the purposes of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)" and, therefore, the presumption in favour of sustainable development applied.

The document said that factors in the development’s favour included that it would "add a significant number of new homes to the current five-year land supply, in a sustainable location, and assisting in maintaining the five-year supply in future years".

It added that other benefits included "much needed affordable homes, retail, sports and community, employment opportunities during the construction and occupation phases to benefit the local economy and create a more socially and environmentally sustainable settlement at Cambourne".

As such, the report said that planners "considered that the proposal comprises sustainable development having regard to paragraph 14 of the National Planning Policy Framework".

"None of the disbenefits are considered to result in significant and demonstrable harm, subject to conditions and the section 106 to mitigate the impacts of the development", the report concluded.

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