Local Government papers

The structure of Local Government in Cambridge

Links to Cambridgeshire Local Government websites are available.

You may find this recent newsletter article useful in understanding how ‘the system’ works.

Cambridgeshire County Council

Cambridgeshire Committees

Cambridge City Council

Cambridge City Council Committees

Meetings from 2001 onwards are online.

Regional Spatial Strategies

Regional spatial strategies are defunct following the change of government in 2010.

Development Plan for Cambridge

The present Development Plan for Cambridge consists in part of these elements:

and is under review following the National Planning Policy Framework.

Statement of Community Involvement

The Statement of Community Involvement (i) sets out how and when Cambridge City Council will involve the community and key stakeholders in preparing, altering and reviewing its Plans and Guidance to guide future development in the City; and (ii) explains how the City Council will involve the community in planning applications.

The main document is the Consultation Strategy for Planning in Cambridge.

The glossary (page 67) is a useful guide to the terminology in many of the documents.

Planning applications

Section 4.2 of the SCI describes the types of planning applications:

4.2 There are three main types of planning application:

  • Outline Applications – These allow for a decision on the general principles of how a site can be developed. As a minimum, outline applications must include information on: use; amount of development; indicative layout; scale parameters; indicative access points. Outline permission is granted subject to a condition requiring the subsequent approval of one or more reserved matters applications.
  • Reserved Matters Applications – These must be submitted within three years of the approval of an outline application. Reserved matters are: layout; scale; appearance; access; landscaping.
  • Full Applications – These provide detailed information and plans for the proposal at the outset.

Section 4.17 of the SCI descibes how representations can be made:

4.17 Public representations on a planning application should be made in writing (by e-mail or letter, in both cases stating your full postal address), within the deadline set for comments on that application. You are therefore strongly urged to submit your representations within this deadline. It might not be possible to take later representations into account in time for the publication of the officer’s report (normally one week prior to the committee’s meeting). A representation submitted after publication of the officer’s report will only be considered if it is from someone who has already made written representations in time for inclusion within the officer’s report. Any public representation received by the Environment and Planning Department after 12 noon on the Monday preceding the day on which the Planning Committee is held (usually Wednesday) will not be considered. Similarly representations received by the Department after midday on the Tuesday preceding the day on which Area Committees are held (usually Thursday) will not be considered. Representations can be made online via Public Access as described above. The 12 noon deadline referred to above will also apply to the receipt of additional information submitted by an applicant or an agent to the Department in connection with the item on the Committee agenda (including letters, e-mails, reports, drawings and all other visual material), unless specifically requested by Planning Officers to help decision making.

Section 4.23 of the SCI describes who decides on applications:

4.23 Currently, unless a Councillor requests, in accordance with agreed procedures, that an application be determined by Committee, householder and other minor applications are normally determined by planning officers under delegated powers, whereas major applications are determined by Councillors at Planning Committee, which meets monthly. All other applications i.e. those not determined under planning officer delegated powers or by Planning Committee are determined by one of four Area Committees, which meet on an 8 weekly cycle.

4.24 Committee agendas and reports are publicly available a week before the meeting and are also published on the City Council’s website. Committee meetings are open to the public and applicants and members of the public who have made written comments on an application are informed in writing that they are able to speak at the relevant Committee either in support of, or against, the application. Meetings of Committee are minuted. Minutes of the last meeting are normally produced before the next meeting is held. Once agreed these are made available on the Council’s website.

Appendix 8 determines what constitutes Major Development or Minor Development.

Sections 4.25 – 4.27 of the SCI describes the Development Control Forum, where petitioners can explore scope for concensus with the developers. Extracts are:

4.25 In addition to the above the Environment & Planning Department also operates a Development Control Forum. This is a meeting where the originators of petitions with at least 25 signatures can present their views to Councillors, planning officers and the applicant some weeks before an application is determined. The neighbour notification letter draws attention to the Forum and a separate public information leaflet is also available. Minor applications are excluded from the Development Control Forum. The aim of the Forum is to allow early discussion of the planning issues raised by petitioners and to explore the scope for building consensus and for resolving concerns.

4.27 The Development Control Forum is an informal meeting; no decisions are made at the meeting. […]

Change of Use is defined in Appendix 8:

A decision should only be classified as ‘Change of Use’ if one or more of the following apply:

  • The application does not concern a major development.
  • No building or engineering work is involved.
  • The building or engineering work would be permitted development were it not for the fact that the development involved a change of use e.g. Removal of internal dividing walls in a dwelling house to provide more spacious accommodation for office use.

Code of conduct for Councillors

Parliament approved a revised Code of Conduct for Members which the City Council adopted on 13th September 2007.

The City Council also has its own Planning Code of Good Practice which acts as a supplement to the revised Code.

Code of Conduct for Members and Planning Code of Good Practice

Part 2 determines prejudicial/personal interests, and this is also noted in the explanatory notes on the above link at point 3.2.

Part 2, 8. (1) You have a personal interest in any business of your authority where either: (a) it relates to or is likely to affect – (i) any body of which you are a member or in a position of general control or management and to which you are appointed or nominated by your authority; (ii) any body – […] (cc) one of whose principal purposes includes the influence of public opinion or policy (including any political party or trade union), of which you are a member or in a position of general control or management

Part 2, 10. (1) […] where you have a personal interest in any business of your authority you also have a prejudicial interest in that business where the interest is one which a member of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts would reasonably regard as so significant that it is likely to prejudice your judgement of the public interest.

Finance

The City Council’s Contract Regulations govern how the City Council spends its money, in line with the Council’s Constitution. Section 9.3.1, 4 of the latter states that:

The appropriate lead officers are authorised to approve bids of &15,000 and below to be met from the following capital programme remits established by the Council:

  • City Centre Management Programme
  • Sustainable City Programme
  • Safer City Programme
  • Cycleways
  • Development of Joint Use Facilities
  • Environmental Improvement Programmes
  • Road Safety Schemes – Traffic Calming
  • Road Safety Schemes – Crossings
  • Environmental Safety Fund
  • Public Conveniences
  • City Services Vehicle Replacement
  • Bus Shelters
  • Car Park Infrastructure and Equipment Replacement
  • ICT Infrastructure Replacement and Upgrade
  • Hobsons Conduit Repair and Refurbishment

Archived Local Government papers

This section is an archive of relevant Local Government papers for easy reference.