1 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
1.1.1 Mill Road Depot (see figure 1) is the main site for many of Cambridge City Council’s services, including waste disposal, maintenance, storage, and a garage servicing centre for its vehicles. It also incorporates Council office space, commercial lettings, two community facilities and leased garages. The Council’s decision in October 2014 to relocate the Depot to Waterbeach, following the creation of a single shared waste facility with South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC), has freed up the site for redevelopment. The Council has already reduced the activities carried out on site and plan to vacate the site and buildings in the near future.
1.1.2 The site is 2.7 hectares in area and has the potential to deliver 167 dwellings, as identified in Site Allocation R10 (see figure 2) in the Proposed Submission Cambridge Local Plan (2014). The site presents a good opportunity to provide more homes to meet the growing demand for housing in Cambridge.
1.1.3 Mill Road Depot is situated centrally within the Mill Road Opportunity Area, identified in Policy 23 of the emerging Cambridge Local Plan. Any potential re-development of the depot site should support and strengthen the character and distinctive local community of the Mill Road area.
1.1.4 Cambridge City Council appointed Allies and Morrison Architects to prepare a draft planning and development brief to the editorial control of the council as “client”. As part of this process, there have been two stages of informal local consultation held as well as input from key local stakeholders. The process of preparation is set out in more detail in section 1.5.
1.2 PURPOSE AND SCOPE
1.2.1 This Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) is a planning guidance document which will support policy in the emerging Cambridge Local Plan. SPDs are in one of two categories: the first is guidance supporting a city-wide objective, such as the Affordable Housing SPD; the second is guidance for a specific site or area. This SPD falls into the second category.
1.2.2 The SPD has been prepared in the form of a Planning and Development Brief to provide planning and design guidance to developers, and to help guide the preparation and assessment of future planning applications on the Mill Road Depot site. As such, this document will form a material consideration, which will be taken into account by Cambridge City Council when determining any future planning application for the site. In addition, all proposals for the Mill Road Depot site will have to comply with the policies in the adopted Cambridge Local Plan 2014, once adopted.
1.2.3 This SPD has been prepared in line with the requirements of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.
1.3.1 The development brief is structured as follows:
- Chapter 2: provides background context to the site and summarises the key constraints and opportunities.
- Chapter 3: presents the vision statement and outlines the strategic design principles. This has been informed by the site analysis and consultation with the local community.
- Chapter 4: sets out the parameters for future development of the Mill Road Depot site and gives guidance as to how these should be implemented.
1.4 PLANNING POLICY CONTEXT
1.4.1 The emerging Cambridge Local Plan (2014) will guide future development in Cambridge to 2031. Mill Road Depot is identified as Site R10 in the Plan for housing as part of the Mill Road Opportunity Area and is shown in figure 3.
1.4.2 Following the Proposed Submission Consultation, the Schedule of Proposed Changes to the Cambridge Local Plan 2014: Draft Submission version (March 2014) sets out a description of the site and key requirements as follows:
- Abuts Mill Road Opportunity Area.
- Contamination requires remediation.
- Retain listed library building (in County Council ownership).
- Open space requirements to reflect location in an area of open space deficiency.
- Potential location for district energy centre.
- Provide room for the Chisholm Trail.
- Site will need careful review of highway access.
- Vehicular access to be from Mill Road only, subject to detailed testing.
- Range of housing typologies to be provided across the site.
- The site promoters will be expected to prepare a planning and development brief for the site demonstrating how development will successfully integrate with the existing residential area as well as addressing the constraints and opportunities of the site. Scale, massing and density considerations in the design and disposition of new and existing housing will be expected to have regard to the character of the existing area.
1.4.3 The Mill Road Opportunity Area extends from Donkey Common in the west to Brookfields in the east. Development in opportunity areas should strengthen character and identity in key corridors of the city. Policy 23 of the Local Plan gives guidance to future development in the Mill Road Opportunity Area. It should:
- Contribute positively to the vitality and viability of the Mill Road district centres.
- Enhance the area’s unique historic character.
- Implement a people focused placemaking approach.
1.4.4 Cambridge City Council submitted the Local Plan to the Secretary of State in March 2014 for independent examination and it is anticipated for adoption in 2017.
1.5 PROCESS OF PREPARATION
1.5.1 The Council consulted with local residents and a number of stakeholders concerning the depot site during the Proposed Submission consultation period for the Cambridge Local Plan in 2013. The following issues were raised:
- The need for open space and community facilities in the locality.
- Building heights and density to reflect the existing character of the area.
- Access to the site which should be from Mill Road only.
- Consideration of the wider impacts of new residential development on the surrounding area and communities, specifically social infrastructure and traffic flows.
1.5.2 The draft SPD has been informed by consultation with local stakeholders in the community. Two consultation workshops were held in November 2015 and January 2016 as an opportunity to provide feedback on the emerging proposals for the site. The consultation has shaped the key themes and design principles contained in this SPD. The events were captured in a consultation statement which is provided on the council's website.
1.5.3 In addition to this, a formal public consultation period of six weeks will be undertaken when stakeholders will have the opportunity to give feedback on the draft SPD. The consultation for this SPD is expected to commence in June 2016.
1.5.4 Comments received from the consultation period will inform the final version of this document, and amendments made to the draft SPD will also reflect:
- Any amendments to relevant policies in the adopted local plan; and
- Any government policy changes.
1.5.5 The overall process of preparing the SPD is summarised in the diagram below, figure 4.
1.6 STATUS OF THIS DOCUMENT
1.6.1 This is the draft version of the Mill Road Depot SPD, and is anticipated to be agreed for consultation at Cambridge City Council Development Plan Scrutiny Sub-Committee by the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport on 14 March, 2016.
1.6.2 The SPD will be a material consideration in the determination of relevant planning application(s).
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