Some key points for House Owners and Potential Developers:
If you are thinking of extending/changing your home or developing a site in South Newnham, there are some basic things to consider before spending time and money on architects and builders.
The Local Plan [https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/media/6890/local-plan-2018.pdf]
These are the policies on which the Planning Officers will base their decision when determining your application, so you will need to take them into account.
In particular, look at Section 7-Policies 55, 56, 57,58,59, 61, 62, 63, 66, 67, 69, 70 and 71.
If your property is in a Conservation Area, the relevant Conservation Area Appraisal will be important.
The Conservation Officer is a statutory consultee on planning applications in Conservation Areas, and will comment on whether plans are appropriate or not in this particular context.
It is important that your architect is familiar with these documents and all of their policies, and if you live in a Conservation Area, it is worth also commissioning a 'Design & Access' statement to go with the plans. Such a document sets out more details than can be conveyed by simple plan drawings, and demonstrates that you have taken context and the Conservation Area appraisal into consideration. It can also help explain any practical aspects of your application, e.g. how you envisage the works proceeding in an orderly manner that minimises noise and disturbance for your neighbours.
Consulting with neighbours
Engaging with the community at an early stage is part of the process described in the National Planning Policy Framework, and open discussion with neighbours about your initial ideas is of key importance. Planning Officers consider all comments submitted by local residents, so gaining support from the beginning makes for a much smoother process.
Looking at other applications in your area can show what are likely to be the key points you need to consider when drawing up your plans. These can be viewed on the Council's 'Planning Portal' https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/planning
Consider meeting with a Planning Officer and, if relevant, a Conservation Officer, to gain more knowledge about what is allowed in your area.
The Forum may be able to provide advice if you are thinking of extending your house or developing a site in South Newnham, or you are affected by a planning application, Members are not planning experts but have built up some experience of Cambridge's planning process and may be able to offer some suggestions, particularly if your property is in a Conservation Area. The Forum can often meet with householders who have prepared plans and would like to discuss them prior to submission but it is very important that such discussions or meetings are not misrepresented in any eventual planning application and supporting design and access statement as has occurred from time to time in the past.
The primary purpose of such review or discussion is to make sure that the delegated Forum members have a full understanding of what is proposed and are more able to communicate that detail back to the Forum committee and the wider Forum in due course. These delegates do NOT have authority to express a "quotable" opinion on behalf of the Forum. Accordingly prior to meeting or a discussion we will ask the householders to formally confirm the following:-
"We understand that any review of our pre-submission plans by the Forum is confidential and we will ensure that any reference to such review or meetings in our planning application submitted by ourselves or our agents is strictly limited to noting that such meetings have occurred and not imply or express any opinion about the Forums approval or disapproval of the plans".
This is important because when comments are sought from the Forum in general, there can be further issues raised which may change the view that the Forum decides to take on the final application.
The Neighbourhood Area is affected by two Conservation Areas, West Cambridge and Newnham Croft.
For maps and area appraisals click on the links below:-
The Forum receive weekly lists of planning applications submitted to the City Council and these are forwarded out to all Forum members to allow them to comment on applications within the Neiighbourhood Area. These comments are collated by the committee and forwarded onto the Case Officer responsible for the application.
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,