Planning conditions

A missing planning condition can lead to shortcuts being taken and loopholes used during building. Queen Edith’s Cllr Sam Davies explains how difficult it is to resolve problems where the process of building something isn’t what was expected when the planning permission was granted.

Some things are just shit, but there are repeat systemic offenders who can be shown. Is it achievable that they can only cheat the system once?

Those who take shortcuts aren’t the only ones involved in an application – from architects to consultants to contractors to specialists, in a well monitored system, there are many entities to dissuade dodgy activity because it’s their reputation too.

Cambridge City Council has a list of upheld complaints, and the media has high profile examples.

A list could be maintained, similar to the first draft below, that if an application involves a company listed, then explicit conditions (for the entire project) should be considered due to past failings:

Missing planning conditions:

(You may need to put reference codes into this page on the planning site to see any documents):

There are probably other examples. Attaching future planning application conditions, and companies responsible for the long list of (systemic) problems in the camcycle archive is an exercise for someone else.

If someone tweets other learning opportunities for missing conditions, or the draft objections / conditions text for others to use, I’ll add links to them.


Planning documents remain largely inaccessible, especially for bulk monitoring like this, making it exceptionally difficult for there to be proactive monitoring by the community of when an application may need these conditions to avoid repeat offenders getting away with harming communities. Hopefully DLUHC is doing something about that.

Such an archive also would make it far easier to answer a related question: which applicants waste the most committee time with incomplete applications? 

posted: 04 Mar 2023

Cambridge House Prices (over time)

“Sustainable” housing prices for Cambridge would be a band D house costing around £150k in 2022.

Some data on Cambridge house prices as they grew, compared to 1991 prices with inflation, and starting salaries of cambridge researchers, and Cambridge averages (posted largely so I can find them again)

(data and sources)

Anything that is unsustainable will eventually stop, but it is currently entirely sustainable because we are still doing it…. for now?

August 2023: The Cambridge Bennett Institute has now run some similar numbers over a short time period.


  • Why start the graphs in 1991? Council Tax (Band D based) still uses that…
  • Actual house prices are even higher than shown – the Band-D £68k house in 1991 is now the yellow £1m dot in the Castle Hill neighbourhood I picked.
  • Historic researcher salary data is less tidy (started from 2022 starting salary, matching well back to ~2001, a bit wobbly a bit earlier)
  • I’ve not seen good historic salary data for gardeners (or porters) in Cambridge going back to 1991. If someone wants to extend any data back earlier, I’m happy to add years into the spreadsheet
posted: 11 Feb 2023