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Stapleford & Great Shelford Neighbourhood Plan

The Stapleford Cambridge and Great Shelford Neighbourhood Plan now has its own website.

Neighbourhood Planning gives communities the power to shape the future development of their area. The aim of the website is to be informative and interactive so that everyone in the village can contribute to the development of the Plan.

A Plan for Great Shelford and Stapleford  Cambridge should enable villagers to decide where we want any new homes, shops or offices to be built and what those new buildings should look like.

 Housing needs public meeting

Most of you know that your two Parish Councils have agreed to formulate a joint Neighbourhood Plan. There are a number of benefits from doing this, not least that it will give us more control over decisions on planning and development in the two villages, rather than those decisions being taken for us by the District and County Councils. This is crucial for both villages.

The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group has already conducted extensive consultations with residents. A major part of the jigsaw is the Housing Needs Survey, which was circulated to all residents in the Spring. On 5 September you will have your chance to review and comment on the survey in the Great Shelford Memorial Hall at 7pm. Please do make every effort to come along – it is your chance to influence the way in which your villages develop.

The Housing Needs Surveys are on these websites: http://greatshelfordparishcouncil.gov.uk/ and https://sites.google.com/site/staplefordonline/stapleford-parish-council Also copies in Great Shelford Library. If you need further information or details of the meeting, please contact Mike Nettleton on 721366/07905 356468.

Nigel Pett – Chair Stapleford Parish Council

Mike Nettleton – Chair Great Shelford Parish Council




The meeting on 5 October was well attended – nearly 60 people including representatives from other parishes and authorities wanting to know where we were and benefit from our start-up. They did benefit and it was a useful dialogue for everyone.


What have we done so far? These bullet points show that the steering group has:

  • Defined region and applied for recognition with SCDC

  • Started consultation work with all stake holders at village shows, through letters to business in the widest context and through general conversations

  • Considered the design of a website

  • Used social media to inform communities.


    It was very gratifying to hear from Bridget Smith of Gamlingay Neighbourhood Plan that what we have done mirrors much of their work and also areas of concentration. She was warmly applauded for her contribution and rightly so and all were grateful to her for giving her time to us.


    From the previous meetings and consultations these broad key aspects have arisen but I is not an exhaustive list - 

  • Green belt – address its erosion and look to our landscape, how we access green areas through footpaths and bridleways, and the overall sustainable environment.

  • Village Infrastructure – recreational facilities, social facilities, health services, community facilities, shopping, business opportunities

  • Transport – traffic flow, parking, buses, cycle routes and trains

  • Development - specific areas in the villages with scope to secure design improvements to proposed developments, housing development and especially affordable housing needs specifically for those with local connections who can be provided for on exception sites.


    Members of the community were asked to join the aspect of their choice to initiate discussion with four volunteer collators and some real concerns were considered. The next steps are for those who linked themselves to these groups to meet and begin to consider formulating a questionnaire. It may be that the groups will have to be even further devolved to accommodate all of the work and interests. Life changes.


    Please get involved. It is your community. You will have to be involved because before the plan can be ratified and become part of the overall planning evidence for our community there has to be a referendum. Yes, we have to hold one to see if you agree.


    If you could not attend the meeting but are really interested then please send your contact details and areas of interest/expertise to Beckie Whitehouse – staplefordparishclerk@gmail.com.


    You may well find other articles about the plan in this copy and on social media and hopefully very soon on our website and perhaps an app!

Your interest and skills are needed

What do you value about our two communities? What would you like to see changed? How can we improve the daily lives of every one in our communities? How can we cope with the increase in traffic through our villages? How can we contribute to the wider debate on the issues of the A1307, A1301, A505, and many other transport and housing issues which will impact on us all? 

The Parish Councils and members of the planning group are continuing with the initial work to develop the plan. Since the last article there have been two opportunities at the Stapleford Village Show and at the Shelford Feast for people to ask questions about the ideas and progress. This is part of the consultation systems which are required and readers will recall that we are working together because our two parishes are geographically close and linked as a unit in the local plan. The two parishes share the concerns of housing, transport, green belt, countryside access, shops and businesses. Not least members of our two communities emphasised the need for better and more recreation facilities, Health Centre provision, speed limit reductions and affordable housing. These community facilities and the overall infrastructure are elements which have been stressed at meetings and at the two shows. We need to manage growth for the good of the local communities. 

Whilst several people indicated their willingness to be involved we now need a substantive list of people who will take on tasks. We have to get the whole community involved not just those who read the village magazines therefore we intend to use social media to contact all members of the community. Do you have planning experience, are you a transport specialist, can you interrogate spreadsheets, are you an avid reader of national documents and can précis them? There are many tasks and YOU have the skills we need. 

So here is the challenge to you all – send to our group secretary what you consider you value and do not want changed, what you would like to see changed and how you will help. Beckie Whitehouse has the email of staplefordparishclerk@gmail.com and phone number 845328 

Thank you for being willing to contribute to this crucial work. 

Bridgid Hodge (GS) 842553 and Nigel Pett (ST) 843278

Comments from the brainstorming session in February 2016

• Need to maintain green belt between Cambridge Southern Fringe and the villages
• Need for housing mix to meet needs of residents (last housing needs survey was carried out in 2004 we need more up to date info – another survey?).
• Need for affordable housing
• Need for one level housing for older people – bungalows being replaced by large houses.
• Need for smaller units for down sizers and first time buyers
• Restriction on large houses (too elitist e.g. Mingle Lane).

• Need for attention to be paid to design of housing (update VDS and Village Plan as part N.P.)

Green belt/Access
• Protect green belt to preserve the setting of the village
• Identify and preserve green spaces
• Talk to Jesus College about ‘Great Shelford meadows’ – fields from Rectory Farm to Hauxton by river
Footpaths/Cycle paths
• Need more and to be linked to provide circular routes
• Rights of way (ROW) should be considered in every new development
• ROW should be multi use
• Sustrans Route 11 from the station should be built
• Connect Gt and Little Shelford recs with a bridge over the river
• Footpath across Hobson’s Brook from the Hectare
• Non-vehicle access to Wandlebury Country Park and Magog Down

• Need audit of community facilities to identify gaps
• Need to extend into the Grange Field with different facilities for different groups
• Are the present sites adequate to meet the needs of the growing population?
Health Centre
• Need for additional parking
• Is above capacity – needs to grow – small sections of 106 money are inadequate to meet expansion
• Could it expand onto the adjoining site?
• If not suggest Health Centre could be part of a redeveloped village hall – (enough parking?)
• Can it take pressure off Addenbrookes by providing additional care?

• Will the station be unmanned?

• Will the crossing be shut?
• Need for station parking
• Need for footbridge
• Re-open line to Haverhill
• Integration of work buses with public buses
• Need for express version of Citi 7 which links employment centres
• Need for real time bus info
• If buses were more reliable and faster could reduce the traffic going through the villages
• Buses could link into Addenbrookes hub and then onto busway for faster journey
• More effective community transport – 7A has no-one on it

• Complete Sustrans route 11
• More village cycle parks
• Rented cycle park
• Need to put down marker to disadvantage those who use the villages as a ratrun
• 20mph speed limit?
• Integration of fares

• Local businesses need support with infrastructure

What is Neighbourhood Planning?

Neighbourhood Planning is a way for communities to take a proactive approach to deciding the future of the places where they live and work. It is not a legal requirement but a right, which communities can use to determine the development and use of land and to make other improvements to their neighbourhood, including the development of homes, shops, offices, infrastructure and their design. This can be done through a Neighbourhood Plan, a Neighbourhood Development Order or a Community Right to Build Order, all of which follow similar processes.

The Neighbourhood Plan

The Neighbourhood Plan can:

  • propose more development than the Local Plan
  • identify the most suitable sites for development
  • help to determine what type and design of development should take place

The Neighbourhood Plan cannot:

  • propose less growth than in the Local Plan
  • prevent any development from ever taking place in an area
  • be prepared without community input and support
  • be in conflict with local, national or EU policies

Why undertake a Neighbourhood Plan?

A Neighbourhood Plan helps set out a community's vision for their area over ten, fifteen, twenty years. Unlike a Parish Plan, once agreed the Neighbourhood Plan has the same legal status as the Local Plan so, decisions on planning applications must take the Neighbourhood Plan into consideration. Communities can put in place planning policies that will help deliver that vision or grant planning permission for the development they want to see. 

Who and what is involved?

The parish council initiates the process and works with the community to develop their proposals. The consent of local people must be secured through a referendum before the plan can be passed. As the Local Planning Authority, South Cambridgeshire District Council, supports the parish through the neighbourhood planning process, a summary of which follows:

1. Designating a Neighbourhood Area

  • The process is instigated by one or more parish councils (or, where appropriate, a Neighbourhood Forum).
  • Initial local consultation on the proposed Neighbourhood Area by the parish council and with the district council (SCDC).
  • Neighbourhood Area proposed by parish council to SCDC.
  • Consultation of at least 4 weeks by SCDC on the Neighbourhood Area. 
  • Comments received are considered by SCDC and, if appropriate, the area is designated - usually within 8 weeks, but sometimes up to 20 weeks. 

2. Preparing a Neighbourhood Plan

  • Parish council prepares the draft Neighbourhood Plan with SCDC support and advice. 
  • Parish council conducts pre-submission publicity and consultation on the draft Neighbourhood Plan.
  • Parish council considers consultation responses and amends plan, if appropriate. Parish council submits the Neighbourhood Plan to SCDC.  SCDC check for legal compliance.
  • If compliant, SCDC conducts community engagement for a minimum of 6 weeks.

3. Examination of Neighbourhood Plan

  • Independent examination to check that a number of basic conditions have been met as set out in the National Planning Policy Guidance (concerning such matters as consistency with national planning policy, sustainable development, and conformity to Local Development Plan strategic policies etc.). 
  • Report of independent examination received and published.
  • SCDC considers report, reaches its own view and decides whether to submit the Neighbourhood Plan to a local referendum.

4. Referendum and Neighbourhood Plan Made

  • Referendum undertaken by SCDC and results declared. 
  • If supported by simple majority of those voting, and compatible with EU obligations and Convention rights, the Neighbourhood Plan is 'made' (adopted) by the Local Planning Authority (SCDC).

Getting Started

Support for Neighbourhood Planning is available from Locality Development Officers and Planning Policy Officers at South Cambridgeshire District Council: call 01954 713182 or email neighbourhood.planning@scambs.gov.uk. We are happy to meet with you to discuss the planning options open to you and to explore the implications - advantages and challenges - of undertaking a Neighbourhood Plan.

Communities wishing to undertake a Neighbourhood Plan should have a look at the flow chart for area designation and read the Frequently Asked Questions about Designating a Neighbourhood Area document we have produced. Please contact us before you complete the designating a neighbourhood area application form so that we can ensure we fulfil our duty to support you. Consultation is required within the area you propose to designate prior to your application being made. Consider seeking the views of people who live and work in the area, landowners and businesses.

Applications to designate a Neighbourhood Area should be made using the Council's Application form for area designation.

Once a Neighbourhood Area has been designated, we advise you to set up a Steering Group for writing your plan. Also, you might like to consider signing up to a Service Level Agreement so that we as the local planning authority and you as the body leading on the Neighbourhood Plan each know what's expected of each other.

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  12 Sep 2016, 13:14 David Martin