Skip To Main Content

Cambridge City Council

Greater Cambridge Shared Planning secures funding boost to improve digital planning services and biodiversity

1 March 2024

Greater Cambridge Shared Planning (GCSP) has successfully secured funding totalling £375,000 from the Department for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities (DLUHC) in its latest PropTech funding round.

This financial boost marks a pivotal moment for GCSP, which is a partnership between South Cambridgeshire District and Cambridge City Councils, paving the way for the adoption of cutting-edge digital solutions aimed at enhancing the planning process for residents of Greater Cambridge.

This funding will bring several benefits directly to residents, aiming to streamline the planning process, improve the way planning proposals are assessed and managed, and provide clearer information about proposed developments identified in the emerging Local Plan. Through these digital tools, GCSP aims to make Local Plan consultations easier to understand and visualise, foster greater transparency, and boost environmental enhancement efforts across Greater Cambridge.

The first project, allocated £225,000 and dedicated to the 'Local Plan Site Assessment Process,' will see the integration of 3D modelling technology into the Local Plan process.

Developers will be able to submit their proposals in 3D, allowing site assessors to better understand potential impacts to determine whether the proposal would be suitable based on the local context and sensitivities like Conservation Areas, listed buildings and important viewpoints. For the sites put forward in the new Local Plan, residents would be able to view these proposals in 3D images, showing how the development could look. It is hoped that this will bring this part of the Local Plan to life for residents and in turn be able to make better informed comments on the proposals.

The second project granted £150,000 and dedicated to 'Biodiversity Net Gain' underscores GCSP's commitment to environmental sustainability and conservation. With the recent national requirements for biodiversity to be enhanced as a result of a new development, the funding will allow the councils to accurately monitor how this is being achieved across the Greater Cambridge area. The GCSP’s Ecology team will be able to import, manage, verify, report on, and monitor biodiversity data to ensure that new development makes a lasting positive impact on local biodiversity habitats and species.

Cllr Katie Thornburrow, Executive Councillor for Planning, Building Control, and Infrastructure at Cambridge City Council said: "Securing £150,000 to support our Biodiversity Net Gain Project is a great achievement that will do an enormous amount for conservation activities in the region. Having accurate and up-to-date information about biodiversity is vital, and the new computer systems this funding will support can really help us deliver our commitment to sustainability and green development across Greater Cambridge."

Cllr Dr. Tumi Hawkins, Lead Cabinet Member for Planning at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “This £225,000 represents a significant milestone for Greater Cambridge as we continue to transform our planning processes for the benefit of residents. It will fund digital tools that use data, making the planning process more streamlined and efficient for this modern digital age. The development of our emerging joint Local Plan will benefit enormously from the use of digital modelling techniques to analyse, compare, and consider sites as well as in engagement with our communities.”