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Cambridge City Council

Local residents invited to join workshops to help shape north Cambridge neighbourhoods

19 September 2023

Residents, businesses and local groups in the north of Cambridge are being invited to take part in a series of workshops to help shape the future look and feel of their neighbourhoods.

The workshops form part of Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service’s (GCSP) and Cambridge City Council’s ‘Inspired Living’ project to create a design code for an area in the north of the city including Arbury, King’s Hedges and parts of West Chesterton wards.

As well as participating in the workshops, anyone – particularly residents and businesses – can contribute to the project by taking part in an online consultation which is being carried out in three phases and is currently live on Cambridge City Council’s consultation platform.

The first phase of this consultation is an opportunity to hear from residents and businesses to better understand their neighbourhood through a survey and an interactive map of the project area.

Those interested in contributing their ideas and knowledge in person, can attend three free public drop-in workshop events at the new Meadows Community Centre, Arbury Road on the following dates:

  • Wednesday 27 September from 4pm-7pm (Theme: ‘Understanding your neighbourhood and establishing a vision’) as part of Phase 1
  • Wednesday 18 October from 4pm-7pm (Theme: ‘Articulating the vision and emerging principles’) as part of Phase 2
  • Wednesday 15 November from 4pm-7pm (Theme: ‘Testing and presenting the code’) as part of Phase 3

All of the workshops will feature a public exhibition of the work from 4pm-5pm and 6pm-7pm. In between these times there will be presentations, activities and interactive discussions from 5pm-6pm.

GCSP is working with architects firm Pollard, Thomas, Edwards on the project, and representatives from both organisations will be on hand at these open and welcoming workshops to receive comments and answer any questions. Free refreshments will be provided for attendees, and no special knowledge or qualifications are needed by anyone wishing to take part, simply an interest in their local area – so all are welcome.

Design codes are illustrated documents that provide design requirements that help planners, developers and local authorities guide the physical development in their neighbourhood.

Design codes are a tool that can:

  • Provide a platform for local communities to share their vision into how their neighbourhoods should evolve sustainably
  • Help guide investment to support healthy lifestyles through sustainable travel, community activity, and play
  • Address the climate emergency by improving efficiency of homes, planting trees, and enhancing green and natural spaces
  • Help protect and enhance distinctive local character by creating and maintaining beautiful and sustainable buildings.

The Inspired Living project in north Cambridge secured government funding as part of a national Design Code Pathfinder Programme.

It is a pilot project to help raise design standards and tackle inequality nationally, and lessons learned from the project will help guide the creation of similar design codes in other parts of the country.

For information about the workshops email

Cllr Katie Thornburrow, Executive Councillor for Planning, Building Control and Infrastructure at Cambridge City Council, said: “These workshops will be a great opportunity for everybody who cares about their neighbourhoods to get together and share their ideas and visions for the future. This is a very exciting project as it will be informed by views of residents and people who have a stake in the future of Arbury, King’s Hedges and West Chesterton and will help guide the approach to many different aspects of life there. I believe that this will make a big difference to people’s lives in years to come.

Alexis Butterfield, Partner at Pollard, Thomas, Edwards said: “We are delighted to continue or longstanding relationship with Cambridge, working with the Shared Planning Service and local people to develop this new design code. The workshops will result in an easy to read code with clear principles guiding sustainability and enhanced design quality in parks and natural spaces, tree planting, routes for walking and cycling, and building design.”