Members were shown a
presentation highlighting key themes and sections of the Local
In response to the
presentation, Members had the following comments:
- As the
Combined Authority has the aspiration to double GVA (Gross Value
Added) within the next 25 years, did officers factor this into the
given growth figures?
- Members requested officers be careful on their use the word
‘consultant’ as this could provide the wrong impression
to the public of the role such people fulfil, as it is officers who
are the ones that guide the Local Plan process.
report made clear that water supply would be the single largest
barrier to the delivery of higher growth options. Would the
Councils be able to get sufficient information about what may or
may not be possible with regards to water supply, or will there
have to be a risk-based judgement of the options, based on what
other agencies may do?
the Councils considered building a reservoir to supply South
Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City?
there a chance that meaningful new census data will inform the
Local Plan process before being submitted?
Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service (GCSPS) had used the
minimum level of growth for the standard methodology, it was
queried if the use of the term ‘minimum’, meant that
there were no constraints to delivering the standard methodology of
houses during the period?
there any justification in national planning policy or guidance for
not examining higher levels of growth than the standard
were the Councils equating an increase in GVA with jobs growth and
not reviewing productivity growth instead?
- Members highlighted concerns at the modelling differences
regarding housing between what was in the SPEAR report and those
done by G.L. Hearn on behalf of the planning service.
- Due to
the significant impact of Covid-19 on supply chains globally and
regionally and in conjunction with the significant changes to the
way people operated, particularly with an increase an online
shopping, could policy making be more flexible to take account of
In response officers
of the Grater Cambridge Planning Service said the
growth figures were based on what researchers had identified as
being realistic to deliver, officers were of course aware of the
Combined Authority’s aspiration but did not base their growth
figures on this. It was also noted however, that job sectors in
which the Greater Cambridge area was strong provided greater
productivity per job, such as the life sciences.
vast majority of the work published for the Local Plan was carried
out by expert consultants in their field and their names were
published on the relevant documentation. This was however, done in
a research capacity and their work is only used to inform the
decisions that the officers make. Officer had not taken a view on
the relevant work at the time of the meeting and it had just been
provided to the Committee in an informative capacity. Officers will
reach a judgement on this information at a later stage. It was
agreed that officers would organise some comms on the role
of consultants in the plan process, an FAQ what it is that they do
and how their relationship with the council works to clarify
information provided was an interim stage of the water cycle
strategy, there would be far more detail given on the preferred
option and how the issues could be addressed further into the Local
Plan making process. Officers informed the Committee that the
Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service had been in conversation
with Water Resources East and Cambridge Water as well as engaging
with the Environment Agency on this important issue. All relevant
agencies believed that this is a solvable issue.
- At the
time of the meeting, there was planning underway for reservoirs
north of Cambridgeshire with a proposal for water transfer to
supplement the supply in the region. This did not mean that the
Water Resources East report that was due to come out early summer
2020, would not look at options such as using dry ditches in the
summer that were not utilised at the time.
- It was
remarked that this depended on when the data relevant to the Local
Plan was released as the census data was usually released in
batches. Officers acknowledged discrepancies between mid-year
estimates with population for Cambridge and remarked that the
Housing and Employment Relationship Report sought to address that
and provide a robust starting point for population and housing
forecasts but that the data would be used from the census if and
once it was available.
the growth levels identified had been in the absence of considering
any constraints and it was remarked that it is only in the evidence
appraisal of the growth options that the constraints can be
identified. It was noted that the standard method is considered to
be a minimum in national policy terms, so if that could not be met,
other neighbouring authorities would need to be contacted to take
that growth under the Duty to Cooperate.
- As the
standard method is a minimum, it was noted that this was all the
local authorities were required to deliver. Given however the local
context, as shown through in the SPEAR report and in the Local Plan
evidence base that higher jobs growth had previously occurred in
the area; officers remarked that higher levels of growth than the
standard methodology would be considered.
- Officers remarked the data was not current and that any
modelling work that was carried was pre-Covid, which had affected
the progression of these trends. It was noted that any effective
data would not be available during this plan period but that it
would be explored in as much granularity as possible during the
timescales to deliver the Local Plan.
- It was
explained that through the Local Plan engagement process, the issue
regarding the correct forecast to base the Local Plan on, would be
debated and refined; particularly when taking into account the
impact of Covid and any potential impacts of Brexit. Any
conclusions that had been drawn at the time of the meeting would be
constantly reassessed throughout the plan period.
- Officers noted that this was an important but difficult question
as there was no clear answer. It was remarked that the planning
service would attempt understand to the data that is driving any
change to allow the best policies to be put in place.
A need for the GCSPS
to be clear on how people can feed into the Local Plan process and
the Call for Sites if they are unable to attend the
Chair Tumi Hawkins
issued a thank you to all officers involved for their hard work, in
addition, Vice-Chair Katie Thornburrow highlighted and thanked all
officers for going above and beyond with the public consultation
process to ensure all residents had an opportunity to feed into the
process, All members of the JLPAG seconded these
Members of the Joint
Local Plan Advisory Group agreed by affirmation
the initial evidence findings and exploration of options to inform
the stakeholder engagement;
- Comment on the approach to the stakeholder engagement and issues
that should be considered through the workshops.