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Joint statement from local leaders and the Combined Authority Mayor on Cambridge 2040 announcement

19 December 2023

The Rt Hon Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, unveiled updated plans for the Government’s ‘Cambridge 2040’ vision today (19 December 2023). The Government’s vision for Cambridge includes proposals for “northwards” of 150,000 new homes around Cambridge as part of a major new expansion of the city.

The leaders of Cambridge City Council, Cllr Mike Davey, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cllr Bridget Smith, Cambridgeshire County Council, Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, and the Combined Authority Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, said: “Despite working hard to engage constructively with Government officials since the Secretary of State’s initial Cambridge 2040 announcement in the summer, it’s deeply disappointing that once again Government plans for Cambridge seem to be being negotiated through the press.

“We note in the latest announcement that the number of new homes put forward by Rt Hon Michael Gove MP has come down from 250,000 to 150,000, but this is still substantially more than the over 50,000 homes we have identified as needed in the emerging Greater Cambridge Local Plan (to 2040) – a number which will already be incredibly challenging to bring forward. We are ambitious for high quality sustainable, green growth but can’t stress enough how vital it is that Government supports us to tackle the issues that will otherwise act as roadblocks to sustainable growth.

“We have written to the Secretary of State a number of times over the past month to stress the importance of committing to sustainable growth, and to reiterate the support that is needed to enable us to plan for the homes set out in the emerging Greater Cambridge Local Plan.

“This includes prioritising sustainable public transport, community infrastructure such as schools and GPs, and water shortages in this region, which are putting our chalk streams under extreme pressure – an issue which the Greater Cambridge Planning Service warned in January 2023 could delay existing plans for housebuilding if not addressed by Government. We are still waiting for responses to these questions which would detail how Government proposes to support us in delivering a proposed 50,000 or so homes responsibly, let alone 150,000.

“Clarity is also needed as to who is involved in the ‘Cambridge Delivery Group’, what it will do, and how it will be governed. Devolution works best when local politicians are empowered to lead and deliver sustainable development and we will continue to work hard to represent our residents and ensure that Cambridge and its surrounding villages grow in a sustainable and carefully planned way.”


Supporting sustainable growth in Cambridgeshire

Since the initial announcement in summer 2023 about Government’s ‘Cambridge 2040’ plans for up to 250,000 homes, council leaders and officers have begun to explore the vision for Cambridge 2040 with Government officials.

Following a visit to Cambridge by the Secretary of State in November, leaders from Cambridgeshire County, Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District councils, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, the Greater Cambridge Partnership, and local business wrote to urge Government to commit to supporting sustainable growth in Cambridgeshire. This commitment would involve:

  • Water scarcity: Resolving the area’s water supply challenges – including through a commitment to enhancing new supply options, significantly better management of demand and investment in resilience of our rivers and the local environment.
  • Cambridge South East Transport (CSET): Providing £162 million to support a Transport & Works Act application for a scheme that would link the city centre to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and the southern cluster including Babraham.
  • Transport infrastructure: Supporting the Greater Cambridge City Deal and Partnership transport programme which provides a deliverable solution for current growth and a scalable solution to support expanded growth ambitions with future public transport solutions.
  • Local Planning: Supporting the Local Planning Authorities to become a pilot for a new form of plan making and allowing Greater Cambridge to have an up-to-date long term development strategy in place as soon as possible.
  • More genuinely affordable housing: Providing support via Homes England for councils to implement a bespoke housing strategy to tackle the affordability crisis for essential key workers and the specific needs for homes in globally significant sciences and deep tech sectors across Greater Cambridge – in addition to local partners’ ongoing work to provide more affordable homes.
  • Match population growth with health and social care investment: Providing funding for a detailed plan to enhance and improve the facilities at the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH), along with further enhancements to primary and community based care services and wider health and social care integration, to enable a truly preventative approach within Greater Cambridge.
  • Support specific sites to come forward: Notably the relocation of the Anglian Water sewage treatment works in North East Cambridge and the relocation of Marshalls to Cranfield to unlock development at Cambridge East.