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Planning policy and guidance being strengthened for rural communities

New draft planning guidelines aim to strengthen the distinctive character of three South Cambridgeshire villages, and lead to higher quality development.

Residents are now being encouraged to comment on the draft proposals as three separate consultations begin.

Greater Cambridge Shared Planning, a partnership between South Cambridgeshire District and Cambridge City Councils, has started now consulting on:

  • Gamlingay Draft Neighbourhood Plan – this is a plan developed by the Gamlingay community independently of the Planning Service, but the Planning Service is responsible for carrying out the formal consultation;
  • Little Shelford Draft Village Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document – developed by the Planning Service and the local community in collaboration and published for formal consultation;
  • Barrington Conservation Area Appraisal – a refreshed appraisal prepared by the Planning Service published for informal consultation.

Cllr Dr Tumi Hawkins, Lead Cabinet Member for Planning at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “We are glad to be supporting our rural communities to have strong planning policy and guidance through all the means available to us. Local residents know their villages best and this is exactly why each plan has had extensive local input up to this point. Whether through the policy and guidance that the Planning Service develops itself, or through the support we give our Neighbourhood Plan groups to develop their own plans for their local areas, we are strengthening the tools our planners have to understand local character and priorities. We hope everyone in the three villages with consultations launched today will share their views, so that all involved can make sure this new policy and guidance is as sound as possible.’

More about the Gamlingay Neighbourhood Plan

Councillors are urging residents to comment on the draft Neighbourhood Plan for Gamlingay during a consultation which runs from 27 September to 23 November 2021. The draft Plan has been developed by the Gamlingay community over the last six years and, once finalised and adopted, would have equal status to the Council’s wider Local Plan, when it comes to setting out where, what and how new development should take place locally.

The Gamlingay Neighbourhood Plan’s vision is for Gamlingay to continue to be a thriving and sustainable community and an attractive, friendly and safe place to live and work. The plan seeks to conserve its distinctive character as a radial village with satellite hamlets and easy access to open countryside, while nurturing and growing local employment and community facilities to ensure an outstanding quality of life for all residents

This consultation is the last opportunity for the public to comment, before the Plan is examined by an independent planning examiner. The examiner’s role is to test the Neighbourhood Plan against the basic conditions that are set out in national regulations. The Plan will then need to be passed by a referendum of Gamlingay residents, before being adopted as part of the planning framework used to assess planning applications in South Cambridgeshire. 

To find out more about the Neighbourhood Plan or to participate in the consultation.

Neighbourhood Plans are developed by local communities with support from the district council and have  equal weight to Local Plans in the development plan hierarchy and can set out where, what and how new development should take place in their designated area. Neighbourhood Plans must conform in general terms to the strategic policies in the Local Plan for the area, and cannot propose less development overall than the Local Plan puts forward.


About the Little Shelford Village Design Guide

The Little Shelford Village Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) has been developed by the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service to provide additional design guidance in support of the adopted Local Plan policies. The guide draws on extensive research and evidence gathering by the local community over a number of years. Once adopted, the SPD would become a material consideration in the determination of planning applications in the village.

A Village Design Guide describes the distinctive character of the village and sets out guidelines for how this should be enhanced by new developments. It helps communities and planners shape the character of new development in your area, in response to community priorities. It is a way to provide more locally specific detail, which augments and amplifies Local Plan policies.

For more information and to comment on the consultation, go to Village Design.


About the Barrington Conservation Area Appraisal

A conservation area appraisal reviews a conservation area to decide if the existing assessment of its character is up to date. Where there is no existing appraisal for a conservation area, the appraisal will capture and record the character of the area.

The conservation area in Barrington has not been reviewed since its designation in 1973, so it requires an appraisal document. After meetings with members of the parish council, the Planning Service have now completed a draft appraisal and while there is no statutory requirement to consult with local communities or stakeholders they are inviting comments on the draft appraisal before it is finalised. The revised appraisal does recommend changes to the conservation area boundaries to include certain areas currently outside the conservation area.

For more information, please look at the consultation where you can leave comments.