< Previous page ^ Table of Contents Next page >

The plans for development of the University North West Cambridge Site: Notice

29 January 2001

In the Easter Term 2000 the Council published a Report (Reporter, 1999-2000, p. 724) recommending the preparation of an outline medium- to long-term strategy for the development of the North West area of Cambridge to provide for University housing and future academic needs, support facilities, and University-related knowledge-based research. In their response to the remarks made at the Discussion of this Report (p. 1007), the Council announced that a Land Use Working Group was to be established to discuss land-use planning in the context of wider planning issues. The Working Group was to consider the possible future development of University land in North West Cambridge and elsewhere, with reference to the future use of existing University sites, and report back to the Planning and Resources Committee and the Council.

The Land Use Working Group has met on five occasions and has retained as consultants EDAW, an international firm of architects and masterplanners, who have developed indicative land-use proposals for North West Cambridge along the lines set out in the Council's Report. The Council consider that it is desirable for these proposals to be considered by the Regent House at an early stage. Early consultation will also be necessary with local residents, and with the City and County Councils.

The key issues for the future development of the University up to 2016 and beyond are as follows:

University expansion. On 20 November 2000 the Council agreed to accept the recommendation of the Planning and Resources Committee that for planning purposes the following figures for future annual expansion should be adopted: that undergraduate student numbers would continue to increase by 0.5 per cent; postgraduate student numbers by 2.0 per cent; and post-doctoral/unestablished staff numbers by 3.0 per cent. The growth in established academic and support staff is expected to be proportional to the increase in student load so that the current student-staff ratio is maintained.

Siting. It is most desirable that the University carries out its future developments in areas close to existing academic sites. By doing this the University will retain the academic advantages arising from propinquity and be better able to develop in a more sustainable way in terms of travelling to work. However, although some of the development required to accommodate the proposed expansion in numbers can take place in such sites, and some residential needs may be met by development within Colleges or on land owned by Colleges, it is most unlikely that all the needs associated with the planned growth of the University will be met from sites already identified within the City.

The need to provide affordable accommodation. The provision of affordable accommodation for purchase or rent for the whole range of University staff is a high priority. The Government's Regional Planning Guidance for East Anglia calls for a further 22,000 extra residential units (over and above existing approvals and allocations in current Local Plans) in the Cambridge sub-region by 2016, with a significant start being made by 2006. Accommodation developed by the University will contribute to meeting the general requirement and, specifically, to meeting the pressing need for housing which is 'affordable' and which provides for 'key workers', understood to include all categories of staff employed in the University.

Sustainability. It is important that the University adopts sustainability policies, not only in order to minimize environment impact but also because, in seeking planning permission for developments, the University will be required to comply with current legislation which sets high environmental standards. The University needs to carry out its developments in an area which favours non-motorized modes of transport, which is close both to existing University development and also to public transport if possible.

Research collaboration. There will be continued association with research organizations outside the University and provision for development space for such association will be needed as part of the University's future development plans.

The University North West Cambridge Site lying between the Huntingdon and Madingley Roads and the M11 is seen to be the most suitable area to cover these key issues. Developments within this area will also need to take into account:

1. Landscape setting, as this area affords some good, pastoral views into Cambridge.
2. A need for high quality design of spaces and buildings.
3. Provision of associated infrastructure and social facilities, largely paid for by sale or leasing of land on part of the site.

In order to inform members of the Regent House about the details of the proposals, an address by the Vice-Chancellor has been arranged for the afternoon of Monday, 12 March, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., in the Senate-House. The consultants will be in attendance at the address and afterwards when an exhibition has also been arranged. On the same day, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., there will be a public presentation, with the consultants, for discussion of the proposals.

The exhibition will be open to all who are interested on the following dates:

Monday, 12 March, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Tuesday, 13 March, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wednesday, 14 March, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Subsequently, in the light of comments received, the Council will report to the University. The Report will be put up for discussion in the usual way, before a recommendation to proceed is put to the Regent House by Grace.

< Previous page ^ Table of Contents Next page >

Cambridge University Reporter, 14 February 2001
Copyright © 2011 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.