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Greater Cambridge Local Plan

The new Local Plan is the most important document you've (probably) never heard of. It will affect how we live, work and play in Greater Cambridge over the next 20 years and beyond. 

In late August 2021 we published the First Proposals for the Plan for consideration by councillors at both Councils. After they have scrutinised and commented on the proposals, we will make any changes that are agreed. We will then publish the First Proposals for full public consultation during November and December 2021. Read the committee stage version of the First Proposals

About the Greater Cambridge Local Plan

Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council are working together to create a joint Local Plan for the two areas – which we are referring to as Greater Cambridge. This is the first time we will have a joint Local Plan, and it will ensure that there is a consistent approach to planning and building across both areas over the next 20 years.

A Local Plan is a legal document that the Councils are required to prepare. It sets out the future land use and planning policies for the area over a set time period. It sets out:

  • the amount of new homes and jobs that should be planned for
  • the services and infrastructure that are needed to support this change
  • where new development should happen, and where should be protected from development

It follows a process set out in national legislation and guidance and once it has been through all the stages of preparation and consultation, it will be independently tested at a public examination to check it is sound, before it can be formally adopted. The examination will test whether the Plan is realistic, deliverable and based on good evidence.

Local Plans are key in making decisions on future planning applications in the area, alongside national planning policy and other supplementary guidance.

The aims and themes for the Plan

We want Greater Cambridge to be a place where a big decrease in our climate impacts comes with a big increase in the quality of everyday life for all our communities. New development must reduce carbon emissions and reliance on the private car; create thriving neighbourhoods with the variety of jobs and homes we need; increase nature, wildlife and green spaces; and safeguard our unique heritage and landscapes.

Our new Plan takes inspiration from what is unique about our area, and embraces the bold new approaches that will help us achieve this vision. The First Proposals for the Plan have been guided by these principles – to ensure that development leaves Greater Cambridge better than before, for future generations.

Where are we proposing to build?

The Plan is at a very early stage of development and there are no confirmed proposals to build anything anywhere yet, apart from on the sites that were allocated in the adopted 2018 Local Plans for Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire.

As part of the early plan-making stages, we received over 690 suggestions of sites for development. In our First Proposals we have suggested just 19 new sites might be suitable, and needed, to meet our needs. These sites have no planning status yet, and will not have any status until the new Plan is adopted, which may not be until 2024 or 2025. We will be asking for your views on the sites that we currently consider suitable during our First Proposals consultation later this year.

View a map of our currently proposed sites as part of the First Proposals (committee stage draft).

View a map of all the sites submitted to the Councils for possible development, as part of the Call for Sites in the early plan-making stages.

The plan-making process so far

In 2019 we held an initial Call for Sites and workshops with a wide range of groups including Residents Associations, Parish Councils, landowners and agents, statutory consultees and others, to understand what they felt the key issues for the Plan might be. 

In January and February 2020, we started the public conversation with our communities about how we want our area to change, in our First Conversation consultation. We also extended the Call for Sites to invite further development sites, and sites for potential new green infrastructure, to be put forward.

In September 2020 we published the responses to the consultation and calls for sites. Read our news release about the findings.

In November 2020 we published initial evidence base findings and development strategy options assessments. You can read our news release about the headline findings, and the additional water briefing we published at the time.

In November 2020 we also held a series of workshops with parish councils, residents’ associations, statutory bodies and other relevant stakeholders to explore the evidence and options assessments, and to hear what strategy and policies they thought we should be developing.

In January 2021 we invited Parish Councils and Residents Associations to contribute their local knowledge about the sites put forward for development, and this has been fed into our assessment of their suitability.

In August 2021 we published the First Proposals for the Plan for consideration by councillors at both Councils. After they have scrutinised and commented on the proposals, we will make changes that area agreed and we will then publish the First Proposals for full public consultation during November and December 2021.

What happens next? 

We will hold the next formal public consultation, on the preferred options for the Local Plan, in autumn 2021. To keep updated, please fill in the contact form at the bottom of this page.

Please read our Local Development Scheme for more detail about how we intend to develop the Plan. This will be kept under review as we prepare the Plan.

Find out more

Developing a new Local Plan takes a long time and is quite complex. We want to ensure that everyone understands the process, can find answers to their questions, and can participate fully in our consultations. We have a Frequently Asked Questions webpage which may be helpful, you can consult our Document Library, and you can also watch our previous webinars:

Webinar on the Local Plan First Proposals

Watch the webinar recording 

View the slides from the webinar.

View answers to the questions which could not be answered within the time allowed for the webinar.

Webinar on the evidence base findings published in November 2020

Watch the webinar recording

View the slides from the webinar

Webinar on the First Conversation consultation and Call for Sites data release in September 2020

Watch the webinar recording 

View answers to the questions which could not be answered within the time allowed for the webinar. 

Sign up for updates

To keep updated with progress on the Local Plan, please fill in the contact form:

Sign up for updates


Get in touch 

For queries about the Local Plan, please email the team on

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