Scenario 3:
Develop the "Necklace Villages"

The Policy

  • To continue the current policies of protecting Cambridge and the surrounding countryside by only allowing further development in a necklace of villages beyond the Green Belt.

  • No additional buildings beyond existing planning permissions in the City and Green Belt.

  • Replacement or renewal of buildings allowed within the City (e.g., conversion of houses into flats, or warehousing into offices, etc).

  • Some new development allowed in market towns of Ely, Huntingdon, St Ives, St Neots.

  • Transport to remain as it is now (e.g., no increase in capacity of roads or public transport).

There would be a slight increase of households within the City despite the restrictions, due to existing permissions for development; subdivision of houses into flats, and reductions of household size. There would be a substantial increase in South Cambridgeshire and increases in East Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire.

There would also be a continuing increase in employment within the City and South Cambridgeshire, despite the restrictions due to existing permissions for development, substitution of extensive space users (i.e., warehousing and manufacturing) by intensive space users (e.g., high-tech business, private and public services).

The Results

  • Dwelling costs increase substantially within the City and less so within South Cambridgeshire.

  • Displacement of middle and lower socio-economic groups in the City by wealthy managerial and professional groups.

  • Commercial floorspace costs increase substantially within the City and South Cambridgeshire.

  • Displacement of traditional jobs in the City by more competitive, high-tech and private service jobs.

  • Increased separation of jobs and houses which would generate extra commuting into Cambridge and its fringe.

The cost of living within the City and parts of South Cambridgeshire would increase substantially, due to increased house prices and rentals, costs of goods, services and transport.

The cost of production within the City and parts of South Cambridgeshire would increase substantially, due to increased labour costs, floorspace rentals and congestion.

Transport implications

The increased separation between jobs in and around the City and households beyond the Green Behlt would generate increased levels of commuting and longer shopping trips.

  • The majority of trips would be by car, as public transport is generally unsustainable with dispersed populations.

  • Similar increase in travel distances to that in the Minimum Growth option.

  • Even more traffic queues than in Minimum Growth, as more traffic is generated by trips to Cambridge for services and shopping.

  • Increase in emissions and thus pollution.

  • Would necessitate radical measures to reduce congestion, such as road pricing.



  • Economic efficiency would be impaired, putting at risk the competitiveness of the region.

  • Export-oriented firms such as those in the high-tech sector would find it very difficult to compete with the rest of the world, as they would face an increase of almost 40% in production costs (between 2001 and 2016).


  • Social equity would be impaired.

  • The City of Cambridge would become more segregated as only high-income groups could afford to live there.

  • Beyond the Green Belt, South Cambridgeshire would become more balanced. Lower socio-economic groups concentrate in East Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire.


  • Good protection of the environment of the City and the surrounding Green Belt, at the expense of erosion of the character of the countryside around the necklace villages.

  • Increase in emissions and pollution due to congestion in the access roads to Cambridge.



Pop-up villages
©Cambridge Futures & METAPHORM - 3D model based on Ordnance Survey © CCC and Crown Copyright. All rights reserved.

The picture above illustrates an area where additional development could take place. The area shown covers new village development at Bar Hill (centre) on the A14 and Hardwick (upper right hand side). Bar Hill is extended to the west and to the east and Hardwick is extended towards the east.

To option 4 analysis