Tuesday, 19 February 2013

South Cambridgeshire Planning Policy Monthly Update (February 2013)

We bring you this monthly update to:
  • Highlight where we would like your involvement in future plan making in South Cambridgeshire and show the progress of past consultations; and 
  • Bring to your notice news items relevant to planning at national, county and local levels. 
Text in red highlights the latest opportunities for you to become involved in plan making and the latest updates on news items.

The update is available to view on our website:


Local Development Scheme 

The Local Development Scheme shows the key stages for preparing the new South Cambridgeshire Local Plan and is available on our website.

South Cambridgeshire Local Plan
Second round of consultation – Issues and Options 2 
A second round of public consultation took place between 7th January – 18th February 2013, called Issues and Options 2. Over 1,700 people took the opportunity to attend the exhibitions we held across the district in January to find out more about the consultation and how it affected their area. Even when the weather was snowy we still had busy events so thank you to all those of you who came along to ask us questions. We hope that you found these events useful.

The consultation has now closed and comments received are being registered and made available to view on our website.

Additional opportunity for Parish Councils to identify Local Green Space In response to some Parish Councils telling us they would like another opportunity to tell us about areas they feel should be protected as ‘Local Green Space’ in the new Local Plan, we wrote on Monday 11th February to all Parish Councils (via email or letter) inviting them to suggest areas within their communities that they feel should be designated.

The deadline for submitting these suggestions is Monday 11th March and we have asked you to let us know if your parish is going to take this opportunity to submit sites. It is only for this issue that the deadline has been extended.

As part of the Local Plan consultation in summer 2012 the Council sought views on whether any sites should be designated as Local Green Spaces in the new Local Plan. A number of Parishes responded with site suggestions, and these have been included in the second consultation which ended on 18th February. Any further sites that are put to us by other Parish Councils that meet the tests for Local Green Space can be included in the draft Local Plan and consulted on as part of the summer consultation.

The Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has created this new designation called ‘Local Green Space’, which would allow local communities to identify important sites and rule out new development other than in very special circumstances, rather like the Green Belt. These sites could be identified in Local Plans.

The NPPF makes clear that the Local Green Space designation will not be appropriate for most green areas or open space, and it should only be used:
  1. Where the green space is in reasonably close proximity to the community it serves; 
  2. Where the green area is demonstrably special to a local community and holds a particular local significance, for example because of its beauty, historic significance, recreational value (including as a playing field), tranquillity or richness of its wildlife; and 
  3. Where the green area concerned is local in character and is not an extensive tract of land. 
For some years the Council has had a designation called Protected Village Amenity Areas (PVAA) in its development plan, which made sure the amenity value and character of important spaces in villages was protected. These cover a range of areas. Not all of them would meet the Local Green Space definition, but you may feel some of them are of particular local significance and warrant identification as Local Green Spaces.
The Council also only identifies PVAAs within village frameworks. You may feel there are sites outside the village which warrant protection and meet the Local Green Space definition. The current PVAAs can be found here:


It should be stressed it would not be consistent with national planning policy to designate large tracts of land, or areas that do not meet the NPPF requirements, for the purpose of restricting development.

If you wish to suggest any additional areas, please include a map, and justification of why the sites meet the definitions described above. You should keep in mind that the guidance in the NPPF is clear that Local Green Space is about the intrinsic quality of the land to be designated.
More information can be found in paragraphs 76 to 78 of the NPPF:


We hope that you take up this opportunity and remember the deadline for this single issue is Monday 11 March 2013.

The Draft Local Plan We are now moving onto the next stage of drafting the new Local Plan document itself, which will include policies and proposals covering the topic areas we have consulted on. It will include the development strategy we are proposing for the district and will identify the sites proposed for development during the plan period up to 2031. The Council will consider all the comments received during both Issues and Options consultations as it prepares the Local Plan.

The draft plan will be considered by the Planning Policy and Localism Portfolio Holder at three separate meetings each considering different issues -

21st March - Delivering Quality – including how to address climate change, ensure high quality design and protect the natural and historic environment.

11th April - Building Blocks for Growth – including getting the right policies about important issues such as affordable housing, types of employment, protecting services and facilities , car parking.

11 June 2013 - How many Homes and Jobs and where should they go? – including overall numbers of jobs and homes, where they should be focused, and which sites to allocate. Will also look at whether to provide a community stadium and if so where.

There is a special meeting of the Cabinet on 27th June to consider the whole draft Local Plan.

You will have an opportunity to comment on this draft Local Plan during further public consultation this summer.

The draft Local Plan will then be submitted to the Secretary of State around the end of this year and will be subject to an independent public examination in 2014.

The timetable for the Local Plan after submission will be determined largely by the Planning Inspectorate.

Transport Strategy for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire 
The County Council is preparing a new Transport Strategy for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire. Given the links between both strategies the County Council intends to progress the Transport Strategy in parallel with the Local Plan.

For more information please visit Cambridgeshire County Council’s Transport Strategy website.

Review of planning practice guidance 
Lord Taylor of Goss Moor led a review group last year looking at all the planning practice guidance that explains statutory provisions, planning and the planning system. This guidance amounts to many hundreds of documents. The results of this review can be found on the Government’s web site

The group found that much of the existing guidance has not been updated regularly since it was published and much of it was unwieldy in its current form. They have recommended that there be a major overhaul of the existing guidance and that the majority of this work will be completed by July 2013. In future all Government Planning Practice Guidance should be web-based and kept up to date. Of the existing guidance they recommend that - 
  • 103 documents of guidance should be cancelled; 
  • 28 documents should be cancelled but any relevant material should be incorporated into revised guidance and 
  • 106 documents should be retained until replaced by revised guidance 
As new guidance is published we will include it in the monthly update and a link will be provided to it.