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Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council joins our February 'Science Cities' forum


Above: Gamlingay and surrounding landscape in South Cambridgeshire (courtesy Chris Barker)


Future Cities Forum is delighted that Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cllr Bridget Smith, is returning to our 'Science Cities' event at Newnham College, Cambridge, in February 2023.


The event will look at the investment and design of sustainable science parks, the need for new and well connected housing both in the city and surrounding villages through good transport. High standard housing provision is important for inward talent attracted to working in the region's businesses, universities and hospitals, and the tackling of net zero ambitions.


Cllr Bridget Smith has been talking about how to tackle the issue of new housing, with effective planning that consults and involves the community, and where the protection of biodiversity is important. She has been commenting around the announcement by South Cambridgeshire District Council of its formal adoption of a new Neighbourhood Plan for the village of Gamlingay, outside Cambridge. The council stated:


'A new Neighbourhood Plan for Gamlingay, to shape future development and protect the local environment, has been formally adopted. The plan was created by members of the community in the village, with support from Greater Cambridge Shared Planning.


'In November a referendum was held to ask residents if they wanted the Gamlingay Neighbourhood Plan to be considered when planning applications in the local area are decided. 76% of those who voted were in favour of this. The Neighbourhood Plan was formally adopted or ‘made’ at a Full Council meeting of South Cambridgeshire District Council.


'It means it is now an important consideration in determining planning applications in the neighbourhood area. Through several targeted policies specific to Gamlingay, the Neighbourhood Plan aims to:

  • Meet the needs of the local community by supporting new housing that is of an appropriate size, with all new buildings built to high environmental standards.

  • Protect the local open countryside and landscape setting.

  • Nurture and grow local businesses to sustain and develop new employment opportunities in the parish.

  • Protect valued local amenities and seek opportunities to deliver additional sports facilities.

  • Improve the existing network of paths to promote walking, cycling, and riding for everyday journeys and recreation.

  • Protect and enhance the natural environment and the biodiversity of the parish.

'Neighbourhood Plans can help communities influence development and protect biodiversity as part of the nature recovery network across Greater Cambridge, contributing towards the ambition to double the amount of land managed for nature in the area. They can identify areas for development and areas for protection and have the same status as Local Plans.

A particular policy specific to the Gamlingay Parish is one that relates to the protection of Gamlingay Wood, which is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is an ancient woodland. It states that any development close to the wood will only be supported where the proposal would protect the integrity and scientific importance of the wood, and lead to a specific nature conservation benefit.


'The Chair of Gamlingay Parish Council, Cllr Samantha Martin, is on the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, and said: “We are thrilled that our Neighbourhood Plan has been made and can now be used by planners, developers and residents to guide future development in the village. It has taken over seven years to create and involved hundreds of people. The plan recognises our distinctive character, supports local travel and seeks to ensure that Gamlingay continues to be a thriving and sustainable community and an attractive, friendly and safe place to live and work.”


'District Councillor for Gamlingay, Cllr Bridget Smith, commented: “This Neighbourhood Plan is about making the very best of development for all those who live, work and play in Gamlingay. All of us who live here want the parish to continue to be a thriving and sustainable community and an attractive, friendly and safe place to live and work. It’s also important that, when there is development in Gamlingay, it is sensitive towards what we already have. With countryside all around the village, work to protect nature and biodiversity is also a key part of the plan. I’m hugely grateful to the parish council and all those who have put a great deal of effort into this plan which will be beneficial to current and future Gamlingay residents.”


'Greater Cambridge Shared Planning, a partnership between Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District councils, has specialist planning officers supporting the preparation of Neighbourhood Plans across the area as well as guidance material online for those thinking about preparing a plan for their community. Whilst Gamlingay’s plan joins adopted plans from West Wickham, Waterbeach, Foxton, Cottenham, Histon and Impington and the Former Land Settlement Association Estate at Great Abington, Greater Cambridge Shared Planning continues to support work to prepare 15 Neighbourhood Plans for other areas.'

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