Strategic Planning

You can access a range of datasets relating to planning and development, including building completions, from our Open Data Portal. All documents related to local strategic planning can also be accessed within the Planning & Development section of our Document Library.

We also provide up to date monitoring data on housing, business and renewables in Cambridgeshire. Visit our page here for more information: 2021/22 Monitoring Development.

Below, you will find an overview of local planning in Cambridgeshire and headline information on local policies and procedures.

Local Planning: An Introduction

The planning system manages the use and development of land. In doing so, it aims to balance present and future environmental, social and economic needs. Given its wide-reaching role in balancing competing needs, planning’s impacts are wide-ranging. Planning therefore has links with many of the other topics on Cambridgeshire Insight such as economy, population, and housing.

Local Planning Authorities are required to prepare a plan for their area that sets out the amount, type and location of new development that will take place over the next 20 years or so, while protecting areas of environmental importance. In addition, the County Council is required to prepare a plan to identify sites for minerals and waste use. All planning applications are then judged against these plans, and other relevant issues.

Cambridgeshire Quality Panel

Cambridgeshire Quality Panel provides scrutiny of development proposals for the major growth sites in Cambridgeshire. The Panel provides advice to developers, clients and their design teams, and advises local planning authorities, with the aim of improving the quality of development being proposed. It assesses schemes against the four core principles (the four “C’s”) of the Cambridgeshire Quality Charter for Growth: community, connectivity, climate and character.

The Quality Panel has additional roles supporting and challenging the in-house design and planning teams of the local authorities, and supporting local authorities in their own procurement and development process, for instance on the design of schools or community facilities.

The Panel seeks to give guidance that is:

  •  independent
  •  expert
  •  objective
  •  constructive
  •  balanced
  •  wide ranging

All documents related to the Quality Panel can be found in our Document Library.

Contact: Please contact the Panel Secretariat if you require further details or wish to arrange a Quality Panel review, by contacting Judit Carballo, Planning Officer at Cambridgeshire County Council, tel 01223 706574 or e-mail

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Plans

All of the districts in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are currently reviewing or rolling forward the Local Plans for their area. See below for links to each Local Plan page:

A collated Cambridgeshire Local Plan timetable is available here.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Planning Documents

You will find a range of local planning documents in our Document Library. These include:

  • Joint Statement on the Development Strategy for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough by the Local Authorities (2012)
  • Strategic Housing Market Assessment (2013)
  • Memorandum of Cooperation: Supporting the Spatial Approach (2013)
  • Strategic Spatial Priorities: Addressing the duty to cooperate across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (2014)
  • Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership Strategic Economic Plan (2014)

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Joint Strategic Planning Unit (JSPU)

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Joint Strategic Planning Unit (JSPU) has now been wound down. Between 2012 and 2017 the JSPU worked with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough local authorities, and with relevant strategic bodies, to help develop a coherent approach to planning across the area.

The JSPU was responsible for working with relevant bodies on the development of key strategies and supporting the local planning authorities in addressing the statutory duty to cooperate. You can find a number of documents relating to the JSPU in our Document Library.

Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership Strategic Economic Plan

The authorities have worked closely with the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (GCGPEP) to help develop its Strategic Economic Plan. This plan includes funding proposals for infrastructure that will help deliver both GCGPEP’s economic vision, and the objectives within the local authorities’ district plans. The Strategic Economic Plan was submitted to Government at the end of March 2014.