Committee Role, Responsibility and Values
Role and Responsibility
The Forum is a statutory consultee for planning matters impacting South Newnham and the Committee operates on behalf of Forum members in four ways:
The Committee may contribute to formal and ad hoc planning consultations on behalf of the Forum at national, regional and city level when these arise. An example is the August 2020 government White Paper entitled “Planning for the Future” which is open for consultation until 29 October 2020.
The Committee provides input to Cambridge City Local Area Plans, having actively engaged with City Planners on the 2018 Local Plan and as at mid-2020 is actively providing input on the latest plan that is being developed by Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire for completion in 2023.
Under the 2011 Localism Act, the Forum has the right to prepare and submit a Neighbourhood Plan that when approved would become part of Cambridge Planning law applicable to South Newnham. With extensive support from members, the Committee completed a Neighbourhood Plan in 2019 but did not submit the Plan for final assessment as in late 2019 the combined Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire Planning Authority started to develop a new plan for 2023 with different priorities that address the threats of climate change and declining biodiversity. As the direction for the 2023 plan becomes clear, it is the Committee’s intention to revise the existing draft Neighbourhood Plan in line with the emerging Local Plan.
4. Planning Applications
As a statutory consultee for planning applications, the Forum is invited to review and comment on Planning Applications within South Newnham. In this role, the Forum Committee is responsible to South Newnham residents and Forum members for supporting planning applications that actively meet the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (2019), and comply with the current Cambridge City Local Plan (2018) and the West Cambridge (2009) and Newnham Croft (2013) Conservation Area Appraisals. Where planning applications do not meet these requirements, the committee will object to the application and reference the applicable Policies that have not been complied with.
The Committee may be able to provide advice to residents thinking of extending their house or developing a site in South Newnham, or to residents affected by a planning application, particularly if the property is in a Conservation Area. In particular, the committee will actively support elderly or infirm residents, or residents who do not have access to digital technology so that such residents are not disadvantaged.
The Committee works to fairly represent Forum members and the residents of South Newnham on planning matters in line with applicable planning policy and free from personal interest. The Committee actively seeks input from members and comes to conclusions on planning matters through discussion and debate, with documents drafted, circulated, reviewed, and revised until the Committee reaches a consensus.
Committee members must declare any personal or business ‘conflict of interest’ with the activities of the Forum and may not vote on a matter where they have a potential conflict of interest.
Committee members may submit planning applications and are expected to fully comply with applicable Planning Policies both in word and spirit such that any planning application made by them represents best practice.
Committee response to Coronavirus Pandemic
As at August 2020, the Coronavirus Pandemic continues to impact routine operations of the Forum Committee given the ongoing requirement to social distance, and the limits on meetings both out- and in-doors. Committee business is being undertaken by e-mail and Zoom meetings so that consultation and planning application timelines are met. In line with government guidelines, no face-to-face committee meetings are currently taking place
We would normally have held an AGM in May, but this has been postponed in light of the Coronavirus Pandemic. An AGM will be held when this can be done safely and in line with government guidelines.
Our previous meetings have been with the planners at the City Council, and as this is the first NP in Cambridge it is all pretty new for them.
The City Planning Department has recently joined with South Cambs so this meeting was also with a planning officer who has considerable experience of seeing neighbourhood plans through the whole process to approval from the Inspector, for example in Histon and Impington.
Two additional documents are now required, a Statement of Conditions and a Consultation Statement. The Statement of Conditions document needs to show how all the policies proposed for the NP match with policies in the National Planning Policy Framework and Cambridge Local Plan 2018, while the Consultation Statement needs to summarise all the meetings and consultations that have been held on the NP and how feedback has been incorporated.
Although we have all the information required it will take considerable work to craft our information into these documents, particularly as we will be endeavouring to do this alongside the further consultations that we were already planning to have for each of our separate ‘neighbourhood areas’; A - Newnham Croft , B - Barton Road and surrounds,
C- Grantchester Street and surrounds, and D - Gough Way.
Working parties are addressing these revisions and new documents so that members of the committee can focus on different areas. Fliers will be sent to all who live, work and own property in South Newnham in due course, to invite them to community meetings where the revised NP will be presented and further feedback sought.
South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City are seeking to form a new combined Local Plan and requesting input from the local communities for comment. Forum members are trying to address concerns that may affect our Neighbourhood Area.
Thanks are due to everyone who has walked along South Newnham streets and green spaces, counting houses and noting down architectural details, unusual features, wildlife, trees, little pathways and the like. It is a team effort and, though hard work, also very enjoyable. If you want to get involved, please let the Forum know.
Update March 2020
Due to the Corona Virus and the work required for the New Greater Local Plan, work on our Neighbourhood Plan, a Statement of Conditions and a Consultation Statement has been curtailed. the majority of members working on these documents have been advised, like many others, to self-isolate. Efforts will still be made however to interact with Council officers who are working on the Greater Cambridgeshire Local Plan in an effort to influence how the new plan policies will impact our area. Committee, Consultation and Discussion meetings will cease until further notice.
Latest Update August to November 2021
The Forum Committee met in August to discuss how to progress work on our Neighbourhood Plan with Councillor Dr Markus Gehring. Work is now ongoing with a view to meet again late in December to review progress on a Neighbourhood Plan rewrite to incorporate comments we have received and new Consultation Documents and revised views,