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Sustainable growth plans for area brought together for the first time with new investment planned

21 March 2018

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A new Cambridgeshire and Peterborough strategy for housing, transport and sustainable economic growth has been prepared as an important step towards achieving the Combined Authority’s ambition to deliver over 100,000 new homes and 90,000 new jobs by 2036.

On 28th March 2018, the Combined Authority Board will be considering a strategy for the area’s future, including the first phase of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Strategic Spatial Framework and Transport Delivery Plans for 2018/19.

The Framework brings together the current growth ambitions for the entire local area, set out in existing Local Plans, to give a comprehensive snapshot of future growth plans. It also looks at how the Combined Authority infrastructure and housing investments will help to support those local jobs and housing growth ambitions. A separate Transport Delivery Plan brings together all of the major transport projects taking place across the area, including a focus on the pipeline of projects to be funded by the Combined Authority.

Cllr Lewis Herbert, Portfolio Holder for Strategic Planning at the Combined Authority and Leader of Cambridge City Council, has led the CA work, with support from local partners, including Local Authority Chief Executives, Chief Planning Officers, Planning Policy Forum, neighbouring Local Authorities, Planning Portfolio Holders and other key stakeholders.

Cllr Herbert explains:

“As one of the fastest growing areas in the UK, it is vital that we have a plan that draws together the growth aspirations of each Local Authority area into a single, strategic document. This plan shows up that over 60% of the 100,000 new homes planned for our area will be delivered via larger strategic sites, of 1,000 or more homes, which means we need to give very careful consideration not only to the infrastructure serving those sites, but also how they connect to the wider area to ensure we create healthy, thriving and prosperous communities, so all our areas and communities can prosper.

“This plan enables us to better focus on the parts of our area that are not thriving, where economic opportunities and quality of life are not what they should be. It is vital that strategic planning focuses on ensuring all parts of our area gain a share of our prosperity, with inclusive growth that is spread and rebalanced across our geography.

“By having a clear view of the entire area’s ambitions, the Combined Authority can support these growth plans in an evidenced manner, making tactical investments that deliver significant benefits to the area.”

Part of the support that the Combined Authority can offer towards the delivery of these important growth plans is through improvements to transport infrastructure. The Transport Delivery Plan for 2018/19 sets out ambitious transport plans for the whole area, alongside requests for funding to progress a number of key schemes. The Board will be asked to consider and approve £11.65m of additional funding towards a range of transport projects.

James Palmer, Mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said:

“Drawing together all of these ambitious growth and transport plans is an important step forward for the area. In the past, we have had a range of partners delivering vital infrastructure, housing and economic growth-related projects across the area, without a singular plan to draw it all together. By taking this helicopter view we can see where we should invest our money and efforts to maximise the positive impact of this work on our local communities.

“These transport schemes have the ability to not only improve connectivity and reduce journey times, but also unlock new developments and open up opportunities for our communities and local businesses. By having a connected view of our growth aspirations, we can make the most of our collective investments, and ensure we deliver positive change and growth at the pace we desire and the community deserves.”

Should the Board approve the project pipeline, transport schemes including the Soham Station options appraisal and business case, the regeneration of Fenland Railway Stations, improvements to the A1260 Nene Parkway Junction, and the preliminary design of the St Neots River Great Ouse northern crossing (cycle bridge) will all receive funding.

Looking ahead to the next phase of the Strategic Spatial Framework work, which will look at growth beyond 2036, Cllr Herbert will bring back plans outlining the approach to a future Combined Authority Board meeting.

Cllr Herbert added:

“We are also determined to work with councils to help shape high quality development in the future, to deliver on 5Cs – “community, connectivity, character, climate change and cohesion/inclusivity” and plan to upgrade the Cambridgeshire Quality Charter for Growth this year which as adopted be several councils in 2008. Its themes will be even more important to ensure successful and sustainable future development and settlements than it has been for the last decade.”

You can view the Board papers online here.