What is 'Neighbourhood Planning'?  



January 2016 Prince’s Foundation briefing on BIMBY Beauty in my back yard”. February meetings with Cambridge City Planning Department to form a Neighbourhood Forum.


2016.   Vision Statement


Three community workshops were held.   At workshop 3 “five essential qualities of place” were agreed. Mix of housing styles, Connectivity, Town/Country interface, Sense of Community.   A leaflet was distributed to all residents and responses analysed and draft Vision Statement written for NP.


2017    South Newnham Neighbourhood Forum established.


First AGM Constitution and Aims 22 May 2017.  Forum become Statutory Consultees.


2017   1st draft Neighbourhood Plan.    Consultant, Ian Poole from Cambridge City Council.  


The framework of NP to be based on Local Plan headings.  


7 Working Parties formed:   20 residents including 8 committee members were involved.  Areas covered included balanced supply of housing, character and heritage, built environment, green open spaces, community facilities and network of safe routes


Street Appraisals involved a large number of residents, working with templates to record features of the streets of Newnham. In all around 50 people were involved in the gathering of evidence.


2018   2nd draft Neighbourhood Plan.  Consultant Neil Homer appointed Aug 2018  


He proposed a radical restructuring and re-write of the draft NP. The revised approach was supported by our subsequent Cambridge City Planning liaison, David Roberts.


  • The area be split into four:  The Croft : Barton Road : Grantchester Road : Gough Way.  


Area teams were formed to gather further evidence including:  Snickets, House Character Types, Local Heritage Assets, Community Assets.   House type templates were designed to help record evidence.


  • Green Spaces was restructured under headings: Green Corridor, Water, Boundaries and Tree Canopy, Allotments and Farmland, Playing Fields, Notable Species.


  • Most of the evidence was put into the Evidence Base and a much slimmer document covering the Policies was drafted.


2019   Draft Plan presentation at open meeting in Social Club which was to be followed by Area presentations.

18 September 2019 Meeting with Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Services 


Cambridge Shared Planning Services Comments:


  • The NP should tell a story and give more information on how the Forum was established in the Community. 

  • All policies included in NP must have evidence to back them up and it was recommended that we transfer some of this information back into NP from the Evidence Base.

  • Vision Statement to be revised and flow into policies and actions

  • 6 week public consultation of this draft plan

  • Census data to be updated.  

What has been achieved :


  • Public involvement and commitment in workshops and consultation with residents

  • Writing and compiling comprehensive Evidence Base and Street Appraisals

  • Draft NP policies

  • Understanding of Cambridge Local Plan and policies

  • Use of street appraisals to inform ‘responding to context’ in planning applications

  • Submission of section on Green infrastructure to consultation on new Local Plan.

  • Response to Government’s consultation “Planning for the future”

  • Formation of Friends Groups e.g. Paradise Nature Reserve, Friends of Lammas Land and Skaters’ Meadow Footpath.

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,