Today, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities made a speech that included proposals for additional housing and lab spaces in Cambridge.
In response, Cllr Mike Davey, Leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “We welcome any proposals from central government that help to address the problems identified in our emerging Local Plan for Greater Cambridge, most notably the water shortage, a continuing housing affordability crisis and a lack of sustainable transport infrastructure.
“We urgently need the government to commit to all necessary measures to resolve these problems with the council and our partners. This includes innovative measures to reduce domestic, industrial and agricultural water consumption and investment to clean our rivers and chalk streams.
“As with all of these announcements, we wait to see the detail, but we look forward to working with central government to ensure we can build a sustainable and beautiful Cambridge, with enhanced and protected green space and a sustainable transport system. We need a Cambridge that will both unlock business potential and benefit all residents who live in our fantastic city.”
Councils use the Local Plan process to meet the anticipated housing need related to the predicted growth in jobs in the area.
The emerging Greater Cambridge Local Plan proposals to 2041 have an emphasis on meeting housing and employment needs through sustainable development, climate change, environment and wellbeing, and creating great places to live.
The government requires councils to plan ahead in this way to better ensure that new homes, services and infrastructure are delivered by partners in the right way and in the right timeframe.
Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council’s existing Local Plans provide for around 37,200 new homes to be built in Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire between 2020 and 2041.
The councils are now working on a new joint Local Plan for Greater Cambridge (covering development in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire). In the new Local Plan, forecasts suggest an increase of around 66,600 jobs across Greater Cambridge by 2041 (8,200 more than previously anticipated), meaning that an additional 14,500 homes would need to be planned for Greater Cambridge on top of the existing local plan sites.
The councils warned in January 2023 that plans for the additional homes would only be acceptable if there was greater certainty about the future of water supplies in the area.