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South Cambridgeshire Council and Oxford North to speak at 'Science Cities and the Arc' forum

Above: Cllr Bridget Smith, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council

Future Cities Forum is delighted that Cllr Bridget Smith, Leader of South Cambridgeshire Council, will be speaking at our 'Science Cities' forum this month to be held at Newnham College, Cambridge.

She will be joining the Chair of the OxCam Arc Expert Advisory Panel, Emma Cariaga, Oxford University Development's Chief Executive Anna Strongman, David Lock Associates' Managing Partner, Julia Foster and Fred Pilbrow, founding partner of architects Pilbrow & Partners, and will speak about the council's approach to sustainable development linked closely to jobs and social infrastructure.

Bridget is responsible for the strategic leadership of the Council. She also leads on the Council's response to climate change, growing local businesses, economies and skills and is the Council’s representative on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

The new combined Greater Cambridge and City of Cambridge Local Plan consultation will open to the public at the beginning of November. Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire Council has just published advice on the Plan:

Residents will be encouraged to comment on the First Proposals for the new Local Plan, after councillors at Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District Councils completed their formal scrutiny of the draft documents.

The public consultation, which will start on 1 November, will help to shape the final plan – which will eventually set out how Greater Cambridge will develop over the next twenty years. The proposals at this stage include 19 new sites for homes and business space, with the majority of extra development proposed for North East Cambridge and the Cambridge Airport site.

Councillors praised the proposals for their ambitious approach to meeting the environmental challenges facing the area – including tackling carbon emissions and increasing biodiversity. Planners were also commended for clearly highlighting that a lack of water supply could prevent development fully meeting the needs of the area.

Over 37,000 homes are already planned for Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire between now and 2041. This is through existing Local Plans for the District and City Councils which were adopted back in 2018, existing planning permissions and ‘windfall’ sites expected to come forward. Proposals for the new joint Greater Cambridge Local Plan suggest the following additional housing sites for the period up to 2041:

  • 6,750 new homes at North East Cambridge and Cambridge East (the airport site);

  • An additional 1,950 new homes at Cambourne;

  • Bringing forward development at Waterbeach new town and Northstowe at a faster rate, so these become thriving communities more quickly;

  • An additional 1,000 new homes at Eddington, on the land already allocated for development;

  • Six additional village sites, totalling 384 homes;

  • One additional site in central Cambridge, for 20 homes.

These additions are needed, in the view of the Councils, due to the continuing strength of the Greater Cambridge economy as one of the most important research and innovation employment hubs in the UK. Planners say that making plans for fewer homes, when the number of jobs locally is expected to continue increasing, could mean more long-distance commuting and housing becoming more costly. However, the strategy is entirely dependent on water supply, and the number of new homes would need to be reduced without urgent action on new sources of water supply, such as new reservoirs, by the water industry and central government.

Cllr Dr Tumi Hawkins, Lead Cabinet member for Planning at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said “These proposals protect our rural areas from unsustainable and inappropriate development, placing strict limits on village development between now and 2041. Around 37,000 homes across Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire are already in the pipeline via our current Local Plans or planning permissions that have been determined in the past few years; this is about what comes next in the decades ahead. We want to plan for good quality, affordable housing in the future, in places where residents can easily access the fantastic jobs being created locally. This means building as close to jobs and public transport as we can, and most of these sites cross the boundary between the two Councils – showing that a joint Plan is absolutely the right thing for our area. We hope that everyone will get involved in looking at the proposals and telling us what they think.”

Cllr Katie Thornburrow, Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport, Cambridge City Council, also commented: “These proposals set out a clear ambition to ensure development and regeneration works for our communities. It’s not just a plan for jobs and homes, but also puts forward bold proposals for new green spaces and better design standards. We cannot simply ignore the evidence that the strength of the Greater Cambridge economy means that we will need more homes in the decades ahead. We must do our utmost to ensure that these new homes are built in the right places while keeping the environment at the centre of our thinking. The proposals have been shaped by what residents told us during our First Conversation consultation last year – we hope that we’ll hear from all parts of our community about whether we’ve got the balance right.”

Consultation will start on 1 November and run for six weeks until 13 December. An hour-long webinar gives further details about the First Proposals, and the thinking behind them.

Dr Jason Matthews, Matthews and Sadler Estates, and development adviser to Thomas White Oxford

The former Director of the University of Cambridge Estates team, Dr Jason Matthews will also be speaking at our Cambridge forum.

Jason, who runs Matthews and Sadler Estates, is currently advising Thomas White Oxford on the major life sciences district development at Oxford North for St. John's College. The infrastructure construction phase for this project has just begun.

Thomas White Oxford has previously described Oxford North as:

'trying to create a new part of Oxford, employment with living and with a small amount of retail. We are lucky that the site is only 15 minutes walk to Oxford Parkway rail station on the proposed direct line to Cambridge and the current line to London Marylebone. We are putting in £100 million of infrastructure to support the development. We have been to America to look at how they do it there, and we have had a lot of interest from international investors and we hope the UK will be interested too. We sit between four major routes and and we are trying to get away from car-dominated living with investment in pedestrian pathways and cycle-routes. We hope to start construction in January 2022.'

Oxford North aims to create 87,000 square metres of collaborative work-space, 4,500 new jobs alongside 480 new homes with over 23 acres of public green space. It will be a low-carbon development and will have parking for 3,000 bicycles.

Jason is an internationally respected real estate strategist with over 25 years' experience within property development. He was previously the Director of Estate Strategy at the University of Cambridge (UoC) where he led a £3 billion development pipeline as well as 6.5 million square feet property portfolio in addition to a team of 350 people. Jason has also worked for both private and public sector organisations that have significant property investments. Experience includes:

  • Responsible for the successful delivery of the UoC development pipeline – including substantial science and technology assets.

  • Head of Research at Lend Lease Corporation leading a team of 10 researchers around the world provide underwrite information regarding markets and developments.

  • Director of Knox Central project for the Australian Government. Based in Melbourne Australia, Jason led the investment and planning of a 220 hectare regeneration project.

  • Worked on various masterplan schemes in Egypt, Morocco, Dubai, Iran, Pakistan, Syria and Oman – responsible for overall development strategy and development appraisal.

  • Advisor to Thomas White Oxford, the development company of St John's College, in delivering the Oxford North project.

Jason commenced his career as a carpenter when he left school. He continued his studies and was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from Loughborough University in 1997. Since this time, Jason has spent much of his career living and working overseas.

Below: Daytime aerial view of residential proposal for Oxford North looking south toward city centre - Thomas White Oxford


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