Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6194

Friday 25 June 2010

Vol cxl No 35

pp. 1009–1028

North West Cambridge Project: A Green Paper

23 June 2010


1. This is a consultative Green Paper issued by the Council1 for widespread informal comment. It is not a Report to the University and, as indicated below, proposals for action will be the subject of future Reports to the University, Discussion, and legislation, in the ordinary way.

2. This Green Paper describes the needs that have triggered the proposals for the potential development of the University’s lands at North West Cambridge, together with the current position regarding the development and the way in which it is envisaged that decisions within the University will be taken.

3. No decisions are sought at this stage, but this consultation invites feedback on the proposals being developed. In the light of the outcome of the consultation changes may be made to the final form of the proposals. Decisions based on a Report to the University will be sought starting in 2010–11 as described below.

4. The intention is to make an Outline Planning Application for the whole site, for which Regent House approval would be sought. Once an acceptable Outline Planning Permission for the overall site has been secured there will be no obligation to proceed immediately, as it is anticipated that the consent will be valid for ten years. Once planning consent has been granted, the University will have secured long term, the ability to develop the former Green Belt site under the provisions of the approved Area Action Plan (AAP) (see 22). A decision to actually proceed with any part of the project itself would require further Regent House approval.

5. Feedback is welcomed on all aspects of this document. Particular questions where comments will be helpful are:

(a)The extent to which the aim should be to create an academic community of graduates, post­doctoral researchers, and senior University staff/College Fellows [see particularly section 13]

(b)What should be done to create a sense of community for the site as a whole [see particularly sections 27–31]

(c)The proposed allocation policy for accom­modation to be rented to staff [sections 51–55]

(d)The proposed allocation of academic and commercial research space [sections 63–68]

(e)Whether the Project Board and the proposed Syndicate provide a suitable framework for managing the project in the medium and longer term [sections 107–116]

(f)The appropriate level of long-term University involvement in the site [particularly section 111]

(g)Appropriate financial criteria and the extent to which academic need outweighs financial considerations [particularly sections 120–122]

6. Comments should be sent to (or by post to Graham Morrison, Principal Assistant Registrary, Old Schools, Trinity Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1TT) by Friday, 22 October.

7. The Council has agreed that there will be also be an opportunity to comment on the Green Paper at a Discussion scheduled for Tuesday, 12 October 2010.


8. Provision of space into which the University can expand has long been regarded as critical to the long-term future of the University. The North West Cambridge site together with the adjacent West Cambridge site affords one of the few opportunities for expansion. It has been the long-standing view of the Council that development on this basis of this site, with its relative proximity to the city centre, is essential to the future of the institution.

9. The proposed development of the University’s land at North West Cambridge has a long history. As early as 1989, the Long-Term Planning Committee reviewed the University’s site strategy, which included the University’s land at West and North West Cambridge. Its thinking has guided developments since that date. It was in 2000 that the Council reported its intention to develop a strategy specifically for North West Cambridge in response to the East of England Plan 2008 that set out the vision and strategy for the Cambridge sub-region to 2016 to allow Cambridge to:

(a)develop further as a world leader in higher education, research, and knowledge-based industries,

(b)foster the expansion of the research- and technology-based economy,

(c)provide a more sustainable balance between rates of growth in jobs and housing,

(d)promote more sustainable and spatially concentrated patterns of development and more sustainable travel patterns,

(e)protect and enhance the environmental qualities of the city.

These principles have guided all subsequent Reports on the proposals for North West Cambridge (see 21 below) and strongly informed the arguments that were presented by the University during the examination of the draft Area Action Plan in 2009.

10. Throughout this period, the University’s planning has been based on an arc linking Addenbrooke’s through the centre of Cambridge to the West and North West sites. This development is within that long-term vision, and is not intended to change the focus. Indeed the provision of substantial housing may well increase the number of staff who can live within walking or cycling distance of their place of work. It also complements parallel work to improve the central sites.

11. The University’s mission2 is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning, and research at the highest levels of international excellence. It is this strategic purpose that is the motivating force behind the current proposals. The University faces increasing competition for the most able staff and students from across the globe and its reputation is affected by its ability to continue to recruit and retain the very best people in this environment. That is truer now than it was when the arguments for the development of North West Cambridge were first set out and the case will become only more pressing in the years ahead. The University intends to remain among the world’s leading universities and North West Cambridge is a key component of realizing that ambition. The University’s competitors in the Far East and North America are rapidly developing new research and teaching facilities that include high-quality residential accommodation for staff, research workers, and students. These universities are making such investments for the same strategic reasons as Cambridge and, as has been seen from recent field visits, are setting high standards for Cambridge to match. The consequence of doing nothing to address this competition will place the University in danger of falling behind on the world stage.

12. In Cambridge there is a lack of good quality residential accommodation at affordable prices in the open market. One important factor in maintaining the University’s ability to attract the world’s best staff and students is a supply of affordable housing in modern and sustainable communities, including accommodation for students on the collegiate model, and scope for the development of new research partnerships in flexible accommodation in proximity. North West Cambridge offers the opportunity to contribute significantly to these needs and provide accommodation to internationally attractive standards on an affordable basis.

13. These are compelling reasons for promoting the development of North West Cambridge. But the vision for the masterplan goes significantly beyond this. The Project Board wishes to create a vibrant, urban extension to the City that predominates as a University quarter but one that is also a mixed academic and residential community supported by high-quality schooling, shops, community, and leisure facilities, connected internally and with the wider city by green spaces and pedestrian and cycle routes. The highest principles of energy and transport sustainability will be incorporated into the development so that not only will North West Cambridge support the academic and social needs of the University, it will be an exemplar of what can be achieved through contemporary technology, architecture, and urban planning. The underlying form sought through partnership between the University and local authorities is one of mixed-use neighbourhoods and North West Cambridge will reinforce that model in the way that it is developed out. It will also integrate with the development of West Cambridge and provide a coherent whole to the benefit of the existing residents, staff, and other occupants of that site, providing much-needed facilities that will assist development of the remaining areas of the West Cambridge site.

14. The University will have a long-term interest in the land at North West Cambridge; it will therefore wish to maintain control or influence development as much as possible. Any development must also be on financially acceptable terms, with tight management of income, expenditure, and capital flows.

The University’s needs

15. Experience shows that the University’s activities continue to grow. Over the last few decades there has been a dramatic growth of research staff. While growth may not continue at the historic average rate, change to zero growth or even shrinkage on a long-term basis seems unlikely. The planning work underpinning the long-term need for more space for academic departments and research partners, together with collegiate accommodation and housing for staff has assumed continuing modest growth – and this was tested before independent inspectors at the AAP Hearing.

16. A key factor in the release of the development land from the Green Belt was the University’s desire to help house its staff, through the provision of accommodation to rent and the expansion of housing for sale, which is also intended to support financially the cost of the former.

17. The most significant needs, in relation to numbers of new staff, are for contract research staff and assistant staff. The University recruits just over 2,000 staff every year to maintain its staff complement. Surveys demonstrate that:

(a)half of all staff recruited by the University moved to Cambridge on appointment;

(b)nearly three-quarters of all academic appointments and two-thirds of all research appointments were made to individuals from outside the wider Cambridge area;

(c)the proportion of households with children is just over a quarter (28%) for all categories.

18. Surveys highlight the practical difficulties for staff moving from outside the region in finding suitable affordable accommodation. It is considered that staff recruitment would be considerably assisted if the University was able to give much stronger assurances about the availability of good quality rented accommodation at reasonable prices.

19. The growth in graduate students has been difficult for both the University and the Colleges to manage. It is recognized that there remains an unmet need for College-provided accommodation for graduate students, and this is in addition to any requirement related to future student number growth. It is important for the University and the Colleges to work together to establish future demand and plan appropriately. A working party on graduate numbers and graduate fees has already been established under the auspices of the Postgraduate Admissions Committee and the University and Colleges Joint Committee.

20. The scheme facilitates expansion of the University’s faculty/research space and provides potential for privately funded research. It also provides growth potential for newly emerging subject areas.

Planning history

21. Since May 2000 the Council has published a number of Reports and Notices on the development of the University’s land in North West Cambridge to provide for University housing and future academic needs, support facilities, and University-related knowledge-based research, authorizing discussions with and submissions to the local planning authorities, and involving consultation internally, and with interest groups and the general public. The main documents are:

First Report (see Reporter, 1999–2000, p. 724),

Second Report (see Reporter, 2003–04, p. 149),

Third Report (see Reporter, 2004–05, p. 513),

Notice of 7 January 2008 (see Reporter, 2007–08, p. 392),

Fourth Report of 17 March 2008 (see Reporter, 2007–08, p. 613),

Notice of 26 October 2009 (see Reporter, 2009–10, p. 91).

22. The last of those describes the approval of an Area Action Plan which releases the site from the Green Belt for University use, which would not otherwise have been permitted.

The site

23. The site shown on plan A lies between Madingley Road and Huntingdon Road, and is largely screened by existing development. Its only significant frontage is towards the M11, which defines the western boundary of the site. On its eastern side it is close to Fitzwilliam and Churchill Colleges, the Institute of Astronomy, the Department of Earth Sciences, and the adjacent administrative building. To the north it is close to Girton College. To the south is the Madingley Road Park and Ride site and, on the other side of Madingley Road, the existing West Cambridge site, housing the Veterinary School, the Cavendish Laboratory, the Computer Laboratory, the Hauser Forum, a number of other research units, and some residential accommodation.

24. There is potential here for a very significant extension to the University’s estate and to the city of Cambridge. From the beginning, the objective has been to establish a framework within which the University can expand to meet its requirements without long planning delays. This is seen as a long-term development, the implementation of which will depend both on the development of the University’s needs and on economic conditions.

25. Development must be within the policy framework of the Area Action Plan, adopted by the local authorities following the report by the independent Planning Inspectors. (This is available at which allocated the following areas (in hectares):



Academic and commercial research


Student housing


Hotel / conference facility


Local centre (including built area for a primary school)


Open space


Roads (spine road and orbital route)


Existing (UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre)




Plan A - Aerial site More detailed versions: JPEG | PDF

Plan A - Aerial site

Masterplan (parameter plans B, C, D, E)

26. Since the stakeholder and public consultation in November 2009, the University has been working with its professional team to refine the masterplan and develop parameters for the Environmental Impact Assessment, prior to submission of an Outline Planning Application. The current masterplan reflects input received from stakeholders and the wider public last year and the key principles underpinning the masterplan are:

(a)An important new extension to the centre of Cambridge; a place for the whole community to enjoy a range of facilities including high-quality green spaces. A central ‘green focus’, including major new landscaped open spaces and a well- defined pedestrian/cycle network with a new ‘Ridgeway’ pedestrian and cycleway linking surrounding areas from Girton to Storey’s Way, Huntingdon Road to Madingley Road and to the West Cambridge Campus.

(b)Three residential mixed-use neighbourhoods, each distinct in character and with a variety of housing typologies and heights. This incor­porates lower-density residential development adjacent to existing properties on Huntingdon Road and All Souls Lane, appropriate in relation to the existing housing, with private gardens and spaces backing onto the existing single-family residential properties.

(c)A well-balanced and integrated residential community, bringing University and College employees and private households together, providing equal access to available amenities.

(d)A mixed-use local centre including a primary school, community facilities, a hotel, a food store, and other shops and restaurants. This local centre is located centrally to serve the needs of the wider community in the North West Cambridge quadrant including the University’s West Cambridge site.

(e)An orbital public transport corridor which will link the NIAB development3 with North West Cambridge, West Cambridge with the Cambridge Science Park and beyond. A radial route will run from Huntingdon Road at the northern end of the site through to the Madingley Road site entrance by the ‘Park and Ride’.

(f)A concentration of research and development activities in three clusters: at the top of Madingley Rise, reinforcing the existing facilities; along the western edge of the development area to create a quality urban setting and at the north-western edge of development, accessed directly from Huntingdon Road, which will also provide some additional noise mitigation for the development.

(g)Collegiate development at locations integrated within the development, in close relationship to both academic and residential areas.

(h)Significant areas of both formal and informal open space, including an area of open space alongside the M11 to provide the opportunity for extensive habitat restoration and enhance­ment, and for public access and recreation.

(i)Energy and water management infrastructure to support the highest standards of sustainable development.

(j)Flexibility for the University estate, over the long term.

27. If the development is to be an attractive place to live and work, it is considered important to provide the kind of neighbourhood facilities referred to as the local centre in paragraph 26(d) above from the outset.

Plan B - Urban structure More detailed versions: JPEG | PDF

Plan B - Urban structure

Plan C - Access and movement More detailed versions: JPEG | PDF

Plan C - Access and movement

Plan D - Western edge More detailed versions: JPEG | PDF

Plan D - Western edge

Plan E - Land use More detailed versions: JPEG | PDF

Plan E - Land use

The Local Centre

28. The local centre will function as the heart of the development and is located along the main public transport corridor adjacent to Storey’s Field, the major open space in the centre of the site. It includes the primary school, health facilities, community uses, small-scale retail, the hotel, senior living, and a supermarket of up to 2,500sq.m. net trading floor space. By way of comparison, the Waitrose to the south of Cambridge at Trumpington has 2,895sq.m. net trading floor space. The local authorities have currently commissioned a report on retail capacity of the North West quadrant.

29. The development will enhance and support surrounding communities by providing facilities for the new community as well as for people already living in the area. The size and content of the local centre will have regard to the estimated residential population of some 7,000 on completion and a working population of the academic and commercial research space of approximately 4,500.

30. It is intended that these facilities will be provided early in the development to ensure that the local centre is established as the focus of the community. These include the following:

(a)Nursery (co-located with the primary school)

(b)Community Space including faith provision


(d)Hotel (with coffee shop, restaurant, etc.)

(e)Public healthcare facility

(f)Police touchdown facility

31. In addition to the services provided in the local centre, two other sites have been identified for additional nursery provision, to meet more the needs of adjacent residential quarters on the site. These facilities will be located at the northern end of the Ridgeway and in the area to the east of Storey’s Field.

School and Nursery Provision

32. The University employee housing allocation policy will have direct implications on the population and numbers of children expected in the development (and assumptions have been made about the equivalent impact from the 1,500 units of market housing). These figures in turn affect the level of provision for on-site education and community facilities. The analysis of the University employee household survey undertaken for the area Action Plan Hearing, and subsequent updates, has enabled an average household size and child yield by unit type to be developed for University employees.

33. The anticipated child population for the planned University housing is derived from statistical data in a report on University Housing Requirements produced by Michael Jones of the Department of Land Economy (available at

34. The following proposals are envisaged to respond to that need:

(a)Nursery provision: Nurseries are provided in three locations: adjacent to the primary school; in the area to the east of Storey’s Field, and in the north-west of the site adjacent to the Ridgeway. The nurseries will, together with other local facilities, help to provide local community hubs and the locations identified will ensure that walking distances across the site are minimized.

(b)Primary education provision: The masterplan includes a site for a three form entry primary school that would be provided under the s106 agreement. It is proposed to be located adjacent to the local centre and near Storey’s Field. This location is also adjacent to the main public transport route through the site. Discussions with the local education authority have agreed in principle this level of provision and one possibility is that the state school might be run by the University.

(c) Secondary education provision: As secondary education demand generated by the population on the site does not demonstrate the need for an entire secondary school, as provided for under the AAP, the University will make a capital financial contribution through the s106 agreement towards a new school to be provided on the NIAB site, north of the Huntingdon Road.

(d) 6th form provision: Discussions with the local authorities have indicated that the Local Education Authority anticipates that 6th form demand will be met through existing capacity in 6th form schools and the two 6th Form Colleges in the area.

Open Space

35. The North West Cambridge site contains areas of inherent ecological value and it is proposed that most of the ecologically valuable features will be preserved.

36. The landscape forms an integral part of the proposed development and overall masterplan design. The sustainable urban extension proposed requires a landscape setting that is world class and suitably fitting to this edge of the historic city. Traditional landscape elements will be combined with contemporary techniques to give a pleasant context for the various new building types.

37. Water and flood risk management is vital to the long-term success of the development and a network of Sustainable Urban Drainage systems (SUDs) are incorporated to provide a responsive and attractive environment that is functional, whilst also improving the biodiversity and ecological value of the site. It also supports the open space proposals for recreational and leisure pursuits.

38. A variety of habitats exist across the site, providing homes for badgers, bats, water voles, and great crested newts. The habitats of these species will be protected and, where possible, enhanced. Protection of biodiversity is an important consideration for these proposals.

39. The open space along the M11 is important in establishing the Green Belt setting for this part of Cambridge. It will primarily be a space for informal recreation and habitat creation and surface water drainage attenuation. The masterplan approach results from an understanding of the drainage requirements of the site, and will allow for rainwater to be retained in a series of ponds throughout the area. Smaller earth forms adjacent to each pond will provide some noise and visual protection from the M11. Existing public rights of way will be retained, with the opportunity for new links to the area.

40. The central open space in the scheme ‘Storey’s Field’ will be a new urban public space for the city of Cambridge. It is of a similar scale to Parker’s Piece, and the vision for this part of the site includes both recreational provision (i.e. sports pitches) and informal open space for picnics, family gatherings, etc. It also integrates the existing SSSI site.

41. A series of landscaped areas are included within the development. These will function as SUDs corridors, areas for ecological habitats and biodiversity, and provide space for informal recreation and play spaces. A series of smaller areas of open space are provided within the development for both play space and productive landscapes.

42. Noise surveys on the site show that the majority of space falls within established acceptable noise criteria. The development of larger-scale buildings along the western edge will provide some noise screening and mitigation within the development site. Within the retained Green Belt area adjacent to the M11, proposed playing fields are at a higher level than the motorway and so will be less affected by noise intrusion. In other areas it is intended that quiet areas will be established through the creation of landscaped earth bunds.


43. With regard to the provision of accommodation for University staff, the site has been identified as having the potential for up to 3,000 housing units, half of which would be for renting to University staff, with the balance for sale in the open market. It is anticipated that these will be developed at approximately the same rate.

Market housing

44. The 1,500 market properties will be developed by residential developers for sale on the open market. They will not therefore be reserved for University staff, but may well be attractive to them. As with other open market properties there is potential for assistance on an individual basis from the University’s shared equity scheme.

45. In order to help the University maintain its long-term interests, the market properties are expected to be disposed of on 999-year leases. These will not be part of the University’s operational estate and so it is not envisaged that sales of individual properties will need the approval of the Regent House. This mirrors existing arrangements for property interests held as an investment.

University housing

46. It is normally a requirement for housing development to contain social housing, but it has been agreed that for this site there will be in town planning terms, ‘key worker housing’ with affordable rents. It is proposed that this accommodation, comprising a mixture of apartments and houses, will remain in the University’s ownership providing an income stream. The properties will therefore be an investment which will provide income once any loans are paid off.

47. It is necessary to establish a clear policy for how these properties will be allocated. The draft allocations policy responds to this by prioritizing staff including those from outside of the Cambridge area on a range of criteria. The housing will be available for all University and College staff in housing need. This will include contract research (particularly postdoctoral staff) and support staff categories along with lower-paid academics. Tenancy agreements will initially run for one year, with the possibility of a second year extension. Third year extensions (or fourth year in the case of houses) will be granted only following a special request taking into account the length of employment contract.

48. The intention is that the housing should remain available for University use and so long-term occupation by tenants will be avoided. Average tenure is therefore likely to be less than three years, on which basis the 1,500 dwellings for University employees would permit the University to nominate between 400 and 600 new tenants annually.

49. Prospective applicants for social housing are normally subject to ‘means-testing’ and whilst the University wishes to avoid this, disclosure of total household income is likely to be a pre-requisite of the allocation policy. On renewal of tenancy agreements, rental levels will be reviewed either with reference to salary/household income levels or the Retail Price Index. Should occupiers of housing end their contract of employment with the University or one of its Colleges, they will no longer be eligible for this rented housing.

Housing allocation policy

50. A draft allocation policy for the staff housing was agreed by the Accommodation Syndicate in March 2010 and subsequently confirmed by the Human Resources Committee as a basis for further onward consideration within the University. This draft policy, which has been further refined since its original consideration in March 2009, has three components: eligibility criteria; prioritization; and allocation guidance linked to individual housing type. The University’s Committees have concluded that there is no discrimination or equality issue that would prevent application of the policy. The local authorities may well seek to impose such policies as a condition of granting planning consent.

Eligibility criteria

51. The eligibility criteria for entry onto the University’s housing list are as follows:

(a)the applicant must have a contract of employment with the University of Cambridge and/or a College of the University of Cambridge

(b)the contract of employment must have at least 12 months remaining

(c)the member of staff must be contracted to work at least 18 hours a week

(d)applicants’ net household income will be reviewed against current market rents and assessed in terms of ability to afford rental on the open market.

52. Prioritization for applicants on the waiting list is as follows. A six-point scale is proposed, against which each applicant will be scored at the time of their application. Individual circumstances may alter the scoring, according to the University’s own priority requirements for housing. A high scoring may not necessarily guarantee that an applicant will actually be accommodated, as that will depend upon availability and demand at the time of application and when the applicant needs housing. If an applicant is unsuccessful but wishes to remain on the waiting list, his/her application will be re-scored at the time he/she needs accommodation or makes a subsequent request.

53. The intention is to provide short- to medium-term accommodation (2–3 years) from the University housing stock to provide quality accommodation at affordable prices for new staff, and to help new members of staff to settle quickly into Cambridge. The intention is not to provide long-term accommodation. Priority is given to those who are new to Cambridge, because many will have to accept properties without viewing them first. Those who have lived in Cambridge for any period of time naturally have a greater chance of finding alternative accommodation through other sources.

54. The six-point scale referred to will comprise the following criteria in priority order:

1.those who are new to Cambridge

2.anyone coming from overseas

3.University or College staff in ‘hard to fill’ posts

4.anyone coming from outside of the Cambridge area

5.University staff

6.anyone working for an affiliated organization – e.g. the Medical Research Council, the European Bioinformatics Institute, Babraham Research Institute.

55. Though staff with families are not specifically prioritized, the housing requirements for staff prioritized for other reasons will be taken into account, and will include family accommodation. The policy is focused on the individual and the unit mix is designed to meet the typical needs of that individual. Where the individual has a family, he or she will be accommodated accordingly, but the prioritization is not based on family status.

Collegiate Accommodation

56. Collegiate accommodation for students is provided in a wide variety of forms, from the home College itself, through to purpose built annexes, to dispersed, often converted housing within the city. Generally, student accommodation is characterized by a relatively high quality of environment; at best within some of the finest buildings in the city but sometimes in less than ideal conditions.

57. At North West Cambridge, the opportunity to provide 2,000 collegiate student housing units is unique. It offers the opportunity for the University and Colleges to meet existing and forecast need in a planned and optimal way, providing space for Colleges and the University to meet anticipated graduate student growth.

58. In consultation with the Collegiate Advisory Group,4 the masterplan currently provides for two significant clusters of collegiate student housing. The aim is to achieve concentrations of sufficient critical mass, both in terms of student numbers and also to benefit from the close relationship between identifiable collegiate student housing and other uses including existing and future academic and research facilities within the site and nearby, the amenity and community uses provided within the neighbourhood centre, other housing and the proposed new open spaces for recreation. New collegiate housing clusters within North West Cambridge will help to form strong linkages between Girton College, traditionally felt to be detached from the city, and the various Colleges and College annexes on Storey’s Way and beyond.

59. There are many options involving the existing Colleges, including:

(a)Sponsored by individual Colleges as extensions

(b)Sponsored by groups of Colleges

(c)Owned by one College or the University and rented or leased to another College

(d)New arrangements involving graduates and postdoctoral staff, etc.

and no conclusions have yet been reached.

60. It may be, however, that a new College could be developed in its own right, within the anticipated development period. This would be dependent on one or more major benefactions being secured.

61. Within the development footprint allowed to accommodate 2,000 collegiate units, a number of the options above may be achievable. There is no pressure for an early decision, but if there was a willingness to proceed, student accommodation could be included in early phases.

62. The University is currently consulting groups of undergraduates, postgraduates, and postdoctoral staff on their requirements for accommodation on the site.

Academic space

63. This is the last major piece of undeveloped land in the ownership of the University. Its release from the Green Belt is intended to meet the University’s needs for the next 20 years or so.

64. The Area Action Plan provides for 100,000sqm of academic and commercial research/research institute space, in the ratio of 60:40 respectively.

65. There are no specific plans at present for academic developments on the site, but provision has been made in the masterplan for future buildings. The strategy for development and sale/investment of these facilities will follow normal procedures for approval by the Regent House and development control through the Council’s Buildings Committee.

Commercial research space

66. The University may wish to enter into development/pre-letting agreements with private sector companies for research facilities, with the University financing, designing, and developing the facilities and granting an occupational leasehold interest to the private sector company on practical completion. The leasehold interest granted could be a long lease for a capital payment, or a shorter occupational lease at a market rent, the latter enabling long-term ownership of the Estate to be maintained on a more flexible basis.

67. Alternatively the University could enter into development and letting agreements with private sector companies, for those companies to design and develop research facilities entering the relevant plot on the site under a building licence, the relevant leasehold interest being granted by the University on satisfactory practical completion of the research facilities. On the basis that the University receives a set capital payment, or minimum rental income, this option is likely to be less risky, in terms of cost overrun and uncertainty.

68. The University could also develop commercial research space on a speculative basis, but this is only likely to be attractive in a strong market where demand is outstripping supply.

Relationship with West Cambridge

69. It will be clear that there is not scope within the approved masterplan for West Cambridge to meet many of the needs described above. The intention is that development of the two sites should be complementary, and the establishment of a joint Project Board is indicative of that intention. The development of the neighbourhood centre on the North West site should improve the range of facilities for those working on West Cambridge and surrounding sites.

70. The University has commissioned specialist development consultants to consider requirements for research floor space provision at the North West Cambridge site and to advise on the delivery of commercial research and research institute space at West Cambridge.

71. It is considered that planning for larger-scale facilities on the North West Cambridge site will complement rather than compete with those at West Cambridge, and indeed make the latter potentially more attractive to commercial occupiers than it presently is. In the fullness of time the University may come to see the two sites as a whole, even though they are currently governed by two different planning regimes. The current Project Board (see 107 below) has responsibility for strategy at West Cambridge as well as development of the North West Cambridge project.


72. Cambridge is a cycling city, with a large proportion of commuting and social trips using this mode of transport. Car use is correspondingly low, and in 2008, over 48% of Cambridge residents travelled to work by walking, cycling, or public transport.

73. The masterplan has been developed to ensure that a quality urban environment is created which provides a high standard of infrastructure for these modes of travel, thereby minimizing private car use. Walking and cycling will be a key focus, by providing safe, attractive, and appropriate routes for both pedestrians and cyclists through a network of car-free or segregated routes, and the provision of adequate cycle storage facilities in both homes and employment areas.

74. The masterplan incorporates a range of transportation proposals that seek to:

(a)prioritize and provide separate cycle and pedestrian routes;

(b)improve public transport accessibility across the site;

(c)improve public transport connectivity orbitally to other development areas such as NIAB and West Cambridge; this would include establishing a direct link via the Guided Bus route to the planned Chesterton station;

(d)improve pedestrian access and linkages to adjacent sites;

(e)discourage ‘rat running’ traffic and encourage traffic calming;

(f)create high quality streetscapes; and

(g)reduce car journeys to work, to a maximum of 40% car drivers.

75. A core component of the masterplan is the ‘Ridgeway’, a pedestrian and cycle link that connects Storey’s Way through the site and up to Girton College. This will link through the local centre and the key public transport routes (including the guided bus and the potential railway station at Chesterton) and will also provide secondary links to the West Cambridge site, the NIAB development, and the remainder of the North West Cambridge development. Cycle parking will be conveniently located with generous provision in line with the most up-to-date standards.

76. The masterplan includes an orbital public transport priority route that links the proposed NIAB development to the north of Huntingdon Road through to the West Cambridge development site to the south of Madingley Road. The public transport link runs through the local centre to encourage people to use public transport to access local facilities. The aim is for a bus stop to be within 400m of every home and for services to be frequent. The Highway Authority requires all roads to be designed with a 20 mph speed limit, which will involve changing road surfaces, priority for some side routes, pinch points, and vertical/horizontal road surface deflections, etc. to facilitate traffic calming and to discourage through access.

77. A Green Travel Plan (which will be required for planning consent) will outline sustainable travel measures for the site along with a plan for implementation of measures and monitoring proposals. The University is committed to delivering sustainable travel at North West Cambridge. Existing University travel plans will also be assessed to ensure that there is a co-ordinated approach providing sustainable travel throughout the University’s portfolio.

78. A car parking strategy for the site has been developed taking into account national, regional, and local policy guidance and the likely demand on site. The strategy covers both on and off street parking and car free zones and takes account of the demands generated in the area by each land use type.


79. The University is at the forefront of sustainable thinking and has an ambition to see development of the North West Cambridge site as an exemplar in this regard.

80. The term sustainability has been defined in a number of ways, but perhaps the best known is:

‘sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (Brundtland Commission 1987).

To be truly sustainable therefore, the development of the site needs to be able to meet the needs of current and future generations alike. This means consideration of not just the physical design and fabric of the buildings and infrastructure, but also the creation of a viable and successful community.

81. The 800-year history of the University sets an important precedent and the design team has been briefed to look to the long term and lifecycle analysis, which is being used as a decision making tool. Flexibility is key to this long-term approach with buildings and infrastructure designed to adapt to the needs of future users of the overall Estate.

82. One of the objectives of the AAP is stated as:

‘the creation of a sustainable community (that makes) the best use of energy and other natural resources, to be built as an exemplar of sustainable living with low carbon and greenhouse gas emissions and able to accommodate the impacts of climate change’.

83. The University has set up a Sustainability Panel under the chairmanship of Professor Robert Mair, with a remit to challenge the evolving designs. The panel have strongly suggested that the scheme must go beyond mere building design and address issues such as place-making, and creation of community and sustainable infrastructure such that the site influences residents to behave in a sustainable manner.

84. Achieving high performance standards for both the Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM (the leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings) will demand substantial carbon savings over current Building Standards. This will require buildings across the site to include high levels of energy efficiency and incorporate renewable sources of energy. All houses and flats built after 2016 will be Zero Carbon through a combination of energy efficiency, on-site renewable energy, and investment in off-site carbon mitigation schemes.

85. The masterplan is evolving to maximize the number of buildings that are optimally orientated, such that houses and flats will have high areas of south facing windows to increase wintertime sun access. Commercial and academic buildings will have high areas of north facing windows to minimize summertime overheating. Also adequate space is being provided between buildings to allow good levels of daylight to penetrate throughout in order to minimize the use of electric lighting. All buildings will be highly insulated and airtight.

86. Taking advantage of the recently announced ‘Feed in Tariff’, many roofs will feature photovoltaic and solar thermal panels. The higher rise buildings within the centre of the site will have a communal heat main taking waste heat from on-site electrical generation. This highly efficient combined heat and power system (CHP) will be a feature of the neighbourhood centre and used to educate residents and visitors about sustainable energy.

87. Flexibility will be key to the energy strategy. Current studies are focused on one gas-fired combined heat and power system (CHP) with all the plant centralized in the vicinity of the local centre. The ability to develop a biomass CHP plant at the northern corner of the site will be provided for, so that the energy source can be changed as fuel availability and technology changes in the years to come.

88. It is acknowledged that some degree of climate change is inevitable as a result of historic emissions of carbon dioxide. Higher summer temperatures, lower yearly rainfall, and more intense storms are expected and the masterplan is being designed to provide for the project to be climate change resilient.

89. Very high summer temperatures (such as the summer experienced in 2003) may be the norm by 2050 so measures to reduce the need for domestic air-conditioning such as orientating dwellings south, the use of overhangs and pergolas to avoid overheating in summer, optimization of window areas and glazing performance and thermal mass are being actively incorporated.

90. Measures will also be put in place to reduce urban heat build-up through the use of reflective surface finishes, trees, and vegetation. Water features in the development, such as the ponds located within the linear parkland along the M11, and swales located within the built development, will provide natural cooling.

91. The Code sets a challenging limit for water efficiency of 80 litres/person/day. To meet this standard, water recycling measures such as water butts, grey water and rainwater recycling will be employed across the site in addition to low water use appliances in buildings. This is in accordance with the AAP which expresses the urgent need to conserve water within the region:

(a)The East of England has the lowest rainfall in the country and is described officially as semi-arid. A high proportion of the available water resource is already being exploited and as such, even allowing for the impacts of climate change, careful management of water resources will be crucial if the economic potential of the Cambridge Sub-Region is to continue to be realized.

(b)The use of Sustainable Urban Drainage (SUDs) is proposed for the site as part of the masterplan primarily through the use of swales and balancing ponds.

92. Truly sustainable developments must also address the potentially large impacts of the construction phase. Locally sourced and recycled content materials will be used where possible, including materials from nearby demolition projects if available. Modern methods of construction such as off-site manufacture will also be encouraged, whereby waste can be recycled at the factory.

93. The materials used in the construction of buildings will meet high sustainability standards based on embodied energy and carbon dioxide, recycled content, recyclability, and lifecycle analysis. High-quality materials will be used ensuring robust, long-lasting buildings. Materials will be responsibly and legally sourced from suppliers that have environmental management schemes and that meet international standards.

94. The design of the site will ensure that residents, visitors, and workers can make maximum use of recycling, by collecting separate waste streams from buildings, supplemented by one or more community recycling centres. Businesses on the site will be required to meet stringent levels of waste control and recycling. It is intended that biodegradable waste, from kitchen scraps to garden and landscape waste, will be retained on site for composting using an in-vessel composting system. This compost will be made available free of charge to residents to use on gardens and allotments, and for maintaining site landscaped areas.

Design Concepts / Ensuring High Standards / Quality Panel

95. Current thinking is that the North West Cambridge development should:

(a)be an extension of urban Cambridge

(b)be pedestrian and cycle friendly, with restrictions on cars

(c)restrict car parking, minimize on-street parking

(d)have some element of common design features either for the whole site or for different areas of the site

(e)adopt elements of central Cambridge, e.g. courtyards

(f)seek that the area has a degree of vibrancy with shops, cafes, etc.

(g)have flexibility to deal with changes in need and lifestyle.

96. The University will retain overall control over design on the site, irrespective of who owns, or is paying for, individual plots or buildings. To ensure the development is undertaken in a coherent manner, the University will propose design guidelines that will follow on from the outline planning application.

97. To ensure long-term compliance with the intentions of the masterplan, design guidelines, and the in-principle intentions of the University, it is intended that a Quality Panel will be established. Its members will vary from time to time, but will comprise a mix of University and external experts whose brief will be to test progress of the project at key points in time and at least bi-annually, against the original objectives of the brief. In addition, the original design concepts of the scheme will be tested by a newly appointed Design Quality Panel appointed by the local authorities through Cambridgeshire Horizons, prior to the outline planning application being submitted.

Procurement/Development Strategy

98. While no conclusions have yet been reached on procurement/development strategy, current thinking is as follows:

(a)the University will pay and arrange for infrastructure and services on the site – roads, water, sewers, drainage, electricity, gas, heating including CHP infrastructure (if appropriate), and fibre optics/telecoms.

(d)development would then take place on serviced sites

(c)plots for market housing would be sold to house builders under agreements for long-term leases

(d)plots for University residential development would be developed by the University which would retain full ownership and control

(e)there are a number of alternatives for development of plots for collegiate accom­modation, which are described above

(f)development of the local centre by the University for retention as an investment

(g)primary school – to be decided

(h)faculty and University research space would be developed by the University which would retain full ownership

(i)commercial research space could be developed by the University, which would retain full ownership and lease under occupational leases or on a long-lease basis. Alternatively areas on ground leases could be sold to commercial developers or users

(j)adoption of principal roads by local authority

(k)provision of central plant and infrastructure by the University or in partnership with a specialist provider to reduce carbon emission. However district heating and power cannot be imposed on the market housing

(l)creation of an integrated academic community on the site will be facilitated

(m)the University will impose a service/management charge for maintenance of unadopted common areas.

99. Some general principles apply:

(a)ensure overall control over appearance and maintenance quality across the Estate through the grant of long or very long leases with appropriate covenants rather than freehold sales

(b)keep as much as possible of the University’s land together and contiguous

(c)development is likely to take place in phases over a length of time and the masterplan will be sufficiently flexible to be adapted through experience and be capable of change if needs change

(d)allow for re-development in the future as needs change

(e)the risks in a project of this scale need to be controlled and minimized; proposals for governance are set out from 106 below.


100. The overall timescale for undertaking the development is indicative at this stage and will depend on various factors including the strength of the private housing market, funding availability for the University housing, the need for academic accommodation and availability of funding, demand for commercial research facilities, and demand for additional collegiate accommodation. A decision to actually proceed with any part of the project itself would require further Regent House approval.

101. An initial phasing strategy for the development has been developed with an awareness of the need to create a sense of place and community on completion of each phase, whilst at the same time minimizing the extent and cost of infrastructure in order to optimize the financial viability of each phase. The strategy will need to be revised and refined as the masterplan, guidelines, and design proposals are further developed. This will need to take account of a range of considerations, including:

(a)early provision of local centre/community facilities

(b)an initial bias towards family market housing to respond to market demand and maximize sales and receipts from land sales to developers

(c)minimization of infrastructure provision (and hence costs) consistent with the requirements of each phase

(d)providing a broad balance between market and University housing, subject to viability/cash flow requirements

(e)the possible early build out of serviced University housing sites, subject to financial viability

(f)early income generation from market housing adjacent to Huntingdon Road, the supermarket, and the hotel.

At present the following milestones have been established to inform the planning and appraisal of the project:

Outline Planning Application

Q4 2010

Detailed application for phase 1

Q2 2011

Resolution to grant planning outline

Q3 2011

Commencement on site

Q1 2012

Completion of first units in phase 1

Q2 2013

Completion of market / university housing


Completion of overall development


102. In summary, it is envisaged that the market and University housing will be completed between 2013 and 2021, at a maximum rate of about 400 units a year, based on sale capacity of the private sector housing market. Depending on the rate of build out at West Cambridge, the first academic and/or commercial research facilities might be completed in about 2015, with the total 100,000 sqm built out over 10 to 15 years. The development of the collegiate space will depend on demand for additional or replacement accommodation from the Colleges, the wish of the University to encourage the expansion of postgraduate places, and the availability of funds.

103. The scope of the first phase of development (Phase 1) is envisaged to include the following:

(a)University housing – approximately 250 units comprising 1-bed and 2-bed apartments possibly with some 4-bed shared apartments

(b)Market housing – 150 to 200 units just off the Huntingdon Road

(c)The local centre comprising a pre-let supermarket of up to 2,500 sqm net trading area, 8 to 10 unit shops, a café, pub/restaurant, and community facilities, grouped around a new market square

(d)Site infrastructure (i.e. roads, incoming services, and drainage) sufficient to support the Phase 1 development, including the orbital link between Huntingdon Road and Madingley Road

(e)Site for a 150-bed hotel.

104. As the intention is to make the development attractive from the outset, that first phase will inevitably incur a higher proportion of infrastructure costs than any later phases as a large amount of infrastructure benefiting the overall project will be required. This will have to be taken into account at the time of making the decision whether to proceed or not.


105. The Regent House has responsibility for authorizing the erection of new University buildings (Statute F) and for endorsing major developments, such as that being considered for North West Cambridge. It has previously endorsed the Emerging Masterplan as the basis of evidence to the North West Cambridge Area Action Plan public examination and its approval will be sought for town planning applications.

106. It is an essential requirement of the project that there is

(a)a structure that delegates sufficient powers for a highly complex scheme while retaining control on key issues and stages of the project to the Regent House

(b)an efficient management structure with clear accountability

(c)transparent financial reporting and audit arrangements.

A project of this nature should only be pursued if these conditions can be met.

107. At present, the development of the project is being supervised by a Project Board, described in the Appendix.5 Frequent reports are made to the Council and its Finance Committee, which provide mechanisms for discussion and feedback. The Project Board’s minutes are also received by the Planning and Resources Committee.

108. The question of what kind of governance model might be most appropriate for the project has been the subject of discussion over the last year. There are three principal options:

(a)setting up a corporate vehicle;

(b)remaining with something like the status quo; or

(c)establishing a Syndicate by Ordinance within the University’s existing governance arrangements.

109. While not ruling out the possibility of joint venture arrangements with an appropriate partner for specific elements or phases of the Project, it is not considered necessary or appropriate to establish a separate corporate vehicle (e.g. a trust corporation or a wholly owned subsidiary) for the purpose of administering and implementing the Project as a whole. It is not clear how such a vehicle would bring significant advantages in terms of governance, unless it were itself to hold the estate portfolio connected with the Project, and there would be immense difficulties associated with transferring the entire estate out of the direct ownership of the University.

110. Subject to specific restrictions in the University’s Statutes and Ordinances relating to the disposal of freehold or leasehold real property belonging to the University and the erection, demolition, substantial alteration or change of use of a University building, it is considered that the University’s existing governance arrangements would in principle enable a sub-committee of the Council to be constituted with sufficient powers to run the Project.

111. However, if the North West Cambridge site is developed, it will take more than a decade for all phases to be completed. It is also likely that the University will have a perpetual financial and ownership interest in the developed site. The duties arising from this, as well as those from the development phases, would best be discharged, not through a committee, but through a commercially focused Syndicate. This is a model which is well-established within the University, with Cambridge University Press and the Local Examinations Syndicate (Cambridge Assessment) having essentially this structure. To the outsider they appear as almost the same as subsidiary companies. Such a Syndicate, as part of the University’s existing governance arrangements,6 would work within the declared strategic objectives of the site of providing new accommodation for staff, students, and research activities. The Syndicate would act as a ‘board’ for the executives working on the project and would be able to establish procedures and systems for the long-term financial and development arrangements for the site. A model that provides significant delegated powers of this kind to a Syndicate will be paramount in ensuring the success of the project. There has to be clarity and certainty for those responsible for delivering the project and those overseeing it. This can best be done by providing an Executive Director and a ‘board’ with the ability to make decisions purposefully and with authority as required within the framework agreed by the University through the masterplan and the conditions attaching to it.

112. The Council, in supporting this model, considered that such a Syndicate should also take on responsibility for the strategic development of the West Cambridge site. There are synergies between West and North West Cambridge and the future development of both sites needs to be considered in the round.

113. Nothing in those proposals is intended to change the arrangements for approving provision of buildings for the University’s academic purposes. Detailed proposals for a new Syndicate and the consequential legislative changes that would be required are being developed and will be brought forward for consideration by the Regent House in due course.

114. The Syndicate model provides a robust framework for operating at arm’s length from all other bodies including the University itself. If the University wants a building, for say academic use, then the building would need to be specifically approved by the Regent House as at present, and the University and the Syndicate would transfer the value of the land, which is in a sense, a rather more formal representation of how the serviced sites at West Cambridge have been accounted for. The University and Syndicate would also agree arrangements for the construction of the building. The Syndicate would continue to own, operate, and receive the income from revenue producing assets such as the University accommodation.

115. The structure proposed should produce clear accountability by the management of the Syndicate.

116. The Syndicate would report annually to the Council and the University, and its accounts would be published.

Financial framework

117. Following the principles set out in the Fourth Report on the development of the University’s land in North West Cambridge (Reporter, 2007–08, p. 613), the intention is that any investment required by the University would be ring-fenced from academic budgets and would be recouped on financial conditions agreed for the scheme as a whole. The project can therefore be assessed independently of the University’s annual budget.

118. Expenditure on the project to date is £5.9m, which is anticipated to increase to £8.5m to complete the outline planning application. It should be noted that this expenditure is unlikely to be recovered if development of the site does not take place.

119. The overall size of the project including build out of the private sector residential and all of the academic/research accommodation is estimated to be in the order of £1bn, spread over 10 to 20 years. The split of the total development costs between the University and outside developers (including the Colleges) is estimated to be 40:60 on the assumption that the University would develop the infrastructure, the University housing, the local centre, and be responsible for the associated s106 payments. The total development expenditure by the University might therefore be in the region of £400+m. Based on the current financial appraisal and assessment of forecast project cash flows it is currently estimated that approximately £200m of funding will be required to cover the negative cash flows in the early stages of the project. Assuming this was met by actual borrowing there would be a corresponding peak borrowing requirement of approximately £200m to £250m in real money terms. Thereafter, the cash inflows from the project would gradually reduce the borrowing requirement.

120. It should be recognized that there are some aspects of the project that are not strictly commercial, for example having a large proportion of University housing at affordable rents. A normal housing develop­ment might have up to 40% social housing at affordable rents but a capital grant would be available from the Homes and Communities Agency for one third of the capital cost of providing the social housing. The University is proposing about 50% of the residential element as ‘key worker’ University accommodation, but because this is not social housing, grants are not available, even though rents levels will have to be affordable. This adversely affects financial returns, but the provision of this University accommodation is a key objective of the University. It will however be necessary to examine whether the 50% target is achievable, given there must be an acceptable financial return if the University is to undertake a project of this scale and complexity.

121. The basis of financing the cost of the University staff housing has been assumed to be a combination of the rents from the housing itself and receipts from sales of land for housing and other uses. On that basis, it is assumed that the subsidy in providing the University staff housing is borne within the project. However when bringing forward more detailed financial proposals relative to each phase, the cost of the implicit subsidy will be clearly stated.

122. Initial studies indicate that the project should make a low positive real internal rate of return (IRR). It is difficult to assess an appropriate required level of return for a very long-term project of this nature, given the general value (and competitive advantage) which would accrue to the University as well as the inherent risks of the project itself. Further work is being done but the University Endowment real return of 5.25% can serve as a benchmark against which risk, value, and opportunity can be assessed. Further work is being undertaken both to determine better the required rate of return and to improve the projected financial returns. It is anticipated that this work considers not only the overall project but also individual phases and components of each phase.

123. The costs of the infrastructure of the site need to be recovered from the developer (whether internal or external) of individual serviced sites. This principle has been established for academic and research developments on the West Cambridge site and the equivalent will be built in to the cost of residential accommodation and any third party developments. Where there are proposals to build premises for rent on a commercial basis, the business case will need to show that market rents will adequately cover the equivalent of this charge.

124. In every case involving a third party developer, the full value of the land will also be recovered.

125. Such preliminary expenditure as has already been incurred will be charged as part of the capital cost of the development and is therefore clearly separate from the normal operating costs of the University.

126. More detailed financial appraisals are being carried out, which will identify as far as practicable

(a)the cost of each phase of the development

(b)the total cost of the whole project

(c)the total cost to the University

(d)maximum borrowing (including real interest) by the University

(e)the financial return to the University, phase by phase and overall.

127. Current analysis has been done in real terms (2010 prices). Individual phases will be assessed with actual interest charges and inflation assumptions appropriate to the time.

128. Fundraising may contribute to the cost of particular elements, but no assumptions of this have been made in the financial appraisals.

129. The ‘base’ appraisal reflects one set of assumptions. Detailed testing of different assumptions will be carried out as well.


130. Risk to the University’s academic operations was the genesis of this project. The need for housing development was identified 20 years ago. Subsequently, the University identified a potential shortage of good student accommodation on the collegiate model and then recognized that proximity of both to workplaces – i.e. academic space or research space with a commercial partner – would create a more sustainable and integrated community, especially if sufficient emphasis was placed on a significant and well-planned local centre. In difficult economic times the need to monitor regularly the academic and competitive risks to the University are stronger.

131. High-quality risk analysis is as essential to a project of this nature as is land use planning, architecture, and design. It is important that objectivity is maintained and that the syndrome of ‘development bias’ (whereby the desire to carry out the project is inherent in analysis) is avoided. Risk from the University’s perspective can be considered under three broad headings, being

(a)Reputation – risk of damage to reputation due to inadequate design, execution, ‘product’ or financial loss

(b)Financial – risk of loss or inadequate return

(c)Opportunity Cost – risk of lost opportunity through diversion of time, attention or money.

132. Within these broad categories risk on major projects can be assessed in specific sections as follows:

(a)General economic/market conditions

(b)Governance and management of the project

(c)Design and planning of the project

(d)Town planning, consents, and conditions

(e)Construction of infrastructure

(f)Construction of buildings

(g)Construction by third parties

(h)Methods and terms of financing

(i)Leasing and sale


(k)Obligations and guarantees given to third parties

(l)Management of the completed development.

133. The University’s North West Cambridge project is of long-term duration and of a very significant scale that will see changing economic circumstances over its duration. Such a project carries substantive risks, which are present in the current overall appraisal, for example:

(a)Uncertainty in financial out-turn caused by changes in land values and building costs

(b)Incurring infrastructure costs in advance of developments that will bear the cost

(c)Potential diversion of management effort

(d)Potential diversion of resources from core purposes

(e)Potential reputational damage through failure to be a high-quality extension to the University and city

(f)Loss of long-term land for redevelopment

(e)Borrowing risks to undertake the development

(h)External obligations including deadlines and guarantees.

134. However the project will be dealt with in phases and risks will be investigated in detail on that basis with a view to reducing and mitigating them. Steps already identified include:

(a)The proposed establishment of a Syndicate which will operate at arm’s length from all parties including the University itself and with a balanced membership reflecting internal and external perspectives and skills

(b)A clear mechanism for accountability to the University, including regular reports of the financial position

(c)Professional management of the project to the highest standard

(d)Use of design standards and development agreements, enforceable on all developers within the site

(e)A clear development and management strategy for the site as a whole

(f)Plans will be kept under review in the light of experience gained

(g)Risk on developments to be transferred to others wherever feasible and in accordance with the University’s policies, particularly market housing

(h)Commercial research space will only be built when there is demand

(i)Long leasehold disposals to preserve the University’s long-term interest.

135. The Project Board manages a risk register for the project which keeps these and other short-term risks under review.


136. The University has consulted widely with both external audiences and internally to engage them in the development of the masterplan. The University’s programme has combined specific periods of formal consultation (including workshops and public exhibitions) with on-going engagement through activities such as individual meetings, a dedicated website, and regular newsletters.

137. The University consulted widely on the initial masterplan proposals in 2005. In 2008 and 2009 the Planning Inspectorate consulted on the proposals put forward by the planning authorities in the draft Area Action Plan. Following adoption of the AAP in autumn 2009 the University undertook a comprehensive public consultation programme to inform the further development of the masterplan. Held over two weeks in November this included two day-long workshops for key stakeholders, two days of public exhibitions, a public workshop, and web-based consultation. A further, similar round of consultation is planned for late June 2010.

138. The University has been in regular contact with nearly 300 key stakeholders including local politicians; leaders of resident and amenity associations; representatives of specific interests groups such as transport, environment, and faiths; representatives of public service providers such as the police, health, and fire services; and representatives from the University and Colleges.

139. The University is currently undertaking a complementary programme of community engagement to target more actively specific groups that have a particular interest in the proposals. These include undergraduates, postgraduates, postdoctoral staff, and University staff through focus groups; local parish councils, faith group, and residents associations through meetings and presentations; and other groups through workshops in partnership with the local planning authorities.

140. In March 2010 the University launched a Community Forum to allow regular meetings with local councillors, residents associations, and other interested parties to exchange information and views. This will meet every two months.

141. The University launched a dedicated website ( which explains the need for the development; carries details of the proposals; explains the benefits to various sectors of the community; allows online consultation and comment; holds published documents and produces regular e-newsletters to stakeholders and those who have registered for information. In addition individuals are able to raise issues and questions through North West Cambridge telephone and email hotlines. The University participates in a regular Communication Task Group with the planning authorities and Cambridgeshire Horizons to exchange information and co-ordinate activities where appropriate.

142. This process has built strong working relationships with key stakeholders and allowed a constructive exchange of views and ideas. This has helped to inform the emerging masterplan and has established a means of managing issues as the project proceeds through the planning process.

143. The University has engaged with experts from within and without the University to contribute to the emerging scheme. Sustainability and Quality Panels have been established, comprising experts drawn from senior University academics and independent professionals, who are contributing to specific design issues.

144. The Collegiate Advisory Group meets regularly to ensure that the specific requirements of the University’s Colleges are taken in to account as the scheme develops.

145. In addition the project design team are in contact with the newly appointed Cambridge Quality Panel to ensure that the scheme benefits from early input as appropriate, from these expert bodies.


West and North West Cambridge Project Board

The Council at its meeting on 7 December 2009 approved interim governance arrangements proposed by the Finance Committee.

The initial membership of the Project Board is as follows:

Mr Alexander Johnston (chairman)

Professor Duncan Maskell (Head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine)

Sir David Wallace (Master, Churchill College)

Professor Jeremy Sanders (Head of the School of the Physical Sciences)

Professor Ian White (Pro-Vice-Chancellor)

Dr Keith Carne (First Bursar, King’s College)

Mr Jeremy Newsum (Executive Trustee, the Grosvenor Estate)

Dame Mavis McDonald (external member of the Council)

Dr David Jarvis (Senior Tutor, Murray Edwards College)

Director of Finance

One vacancy

The Project Board started meeting in January 2010 and has so far met on seven occasions.

Terms of reference

(a)No business shall be transacted at any meeting unless five members are present.

(b)The Project Board shall be responsible for the development and stewardship of the North West Cambridge Estate and of the West Cambridge Estate, within the strategic and financial framework set by the Council and the University, as amended from time to time, and subject to the Statutes and Ordinances of the University.

(c)The Project Board shall report regularly to the Council, via the Finance Committee, and in addition make an Annual Report to the Council, which shall include a detailed financial account of its affairs and which shall be published to the University either as a whole or in summary.


  • 1The document has been prepared under the supervision of the Project Board described at 107 below, but also incorporates points raised by members of the Council.

  • 2Graced 23 November 2001

  • 3The proposed development to the north of Huntingdon Road by the Barratt Group will comprise 1,593 dwellings plus up to 900 units on adjoining additional land.

  • 4A group of College representatives (currently chaired by the Master of Trinity Hall) established to advise on the needs and design requirements for collegiate accommodation

  • 5The Project Board was established by the Council in December 2009 to replace the Strategy Committee described in earlier Reports.

  • 6Statute A, VI