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South Cambridgeshire District Council

Update (2006)

In May 2006, South Cambridgeshire District Council issued a Public Art Strategy and Developer Guidance for Arbury Park, a new housing development in the north of Cambridge. The Strategy was supported by an award from PROJECT - engaging artists in the built environment.

Follow this link to download the Public Art Strategy for Arbury Park as an Adobe Acrobat format document: 46Kb

Follow this link to read more about the Shared Vision project: Arbury Park (PROJECT website)

Further details: Andy O'Hanlon, Arts Development Officer, South Cambridgeshire District Council;

Email: [email protected]; Website: www.scambs.gov.uk

Public Art Policy (2004)

South Cambridgeshire District Council approved a Public Art Policy for the district in early 2004. It comprises Supplementary Planning Guidance entitled 'Public Art: A Guide for Developers', giving the full guidance, backed up by a relatively succinct core policy - see below.

Reproduced by kind permission of South Cambridgeshire District Council.


REPORT TO: Leader and Cabinet

AUTHOR: Chief Executive

16 February 2004


'Guidance for Developers'


1. To seek Cabinet approval for a Public Art Policy and its publication and distribution.

Effect on Corporate Objectives

2. Quality, Accessible Services

Whilst not directly helping this year's priority of promoting electronic service delivery (ESD), the proposal will improve the council's service through offering villagers, developers and other interested parties appropriate guidance on high quality design in terms of public art.

Village Life

Whilst not directly addressing this year's priority for affordable homes the proposal sets out to facilitate a more attractive living and working environment for and with residents.

Public art also helps illustrate and promote a community's local identity in terms of its geography and history combined with its local social and economic character.


The proposal relates to the development of quality of design at Northstowe and edge of Cambridge Developments, a priority for 2004-2005.

The values and principles that underpin public art and sustainable development are synonymous given both are dependent upon public engagement and participation and both concern quality of life issues. As such, they also reflect the importance of the social, economic and environmental well being of local communities.


The success of the Public Art Policy rests on partnership between the Council and a broad range of players, including the business community. The policy will be instrumental in accessing external funding for public art works dependent on these partnerships. The Public Art and Design Steering Group will also relate to the Local Strategic Partnership, through the Community Strategy.


3. A public art policy report was presented to Cabinet at a meeting on 16th October 2003 and members agreed that a working group consisting of officers and councillors concerned consider their comments and report back. This report represents the deliberations of that working group meeting, minutes of which are attached at Appendix 1.

4. A Public Art Policy is required in order to clarify and explain the role and expectations of South Cambridgeshire District Council in the public art process. 'Guidance for Developers' will initially aid encourage developers ' voluntary participation in the scheme, pending a statutory policy in the review of the Local Plan. If a public art policy is included in the Core Strategy of the new Local Development Framework, a draft Supplementary Planning Document will can then be prepared. From government guidance , currently in draft, this new type of planning statement will need to meet formal requirements including published for public consultation and sustainability appraisal.

5. The preparation of a Public Art Strategy - including supplementary planning guidance for developers - is a published target of the 'Lighting the Way' Arts Strategy 2002-2005. It also forms part of the Council's most recent Best Value Performance Plan.

Draft Public Art Policy and Strategy

6. The proposed policy for consideration is detailed below:


(i) The Council actively encourages the provision of publicly accessible art, craft and design works - both permanent and temporary - in new building, townscape and landscape developments and village enhancement schemes.


(ii) The Public Art Policy is required in order to clarify and explain the role and expectations of South Cambridgeshire District Council in the public art process.

(iii) The purpose of the Council's Public Art Policy is to provide clear guidance to:

  • developers regarding the inclusion of Public Art in new development.
  • parishes and community organisations wishing to incorporate public art into village enhancement projects.
  • artists wishing to work with residents in the production of public art


(iv) 'Public Art' refers to any contribution by artists in a publicly accessible location and encompasses:

  • landscape design, tree planting and mazes
  • painting, sculpture, ceramic, prints, mixed media and artist in residence schemes
  • brickwork, terracotta and patterned tiling or slates
  • doors, gates, engraved and stained glass
  • lighting, metalwork, tapestries and carpets
  • wood and stone letter carving, banners and original graphics
  • seating, bollards, railings, clocks and boundary features

(v) 'Artists' is used to describe all visual and media arts practitioners including painters, sculptors, printmakers, craftspeople, film and video makers, live artists and photographers.

(vi) 'The Council' refers to all members and departments of South Cambridgeshire District Council.


The aim of South Cambridgeshire District Council's public art policy is:

  • to promote artistic activity through the creation of new and original art work
  • to promote a high quality and well-designed environment, valued by those who live and work in or visit the District.
  • to promote participation and involvement in the arts and our environment



(viii) Artistic

  • To maintain standards of excellence in visual arts.
  • To encourage work by artists that is both original and appropriate.
  • To make the District known as a place where art and culture are prominent and integral to the quality of life and the quality of the environment.

(ix) Economic

  • To increase the employment opportunities for artists, small craft businesses and their fabricators.
  • To improve the environment for the benefit of those who live and work in South Cambridgeshire.
  • To enhance the unique characteristics of the villages and localities within the District.

(x) Environmental and Social

  • To strengthen the identity and diversity of South Cambridgeshire's localities
  • To promote the use of sustainable materials in commissioning
  • To assist in the orientation and interpretation of places

(xi)    Community Involvement

  • To actively encourage public involvement in all public art schemes in the District
  • To raise the awareness of public art through related education activities
  • To celebrate both cultural diversity and local identity
  • To offer advice on the commissioning and decommissioning of public art works in the district
  • To implement equal opportunities in the recruitment and selection of artists.
  • To develop collaborations between artists, planners, engineers, landscape architects, architects and others
  • To engage in the public art process the staff and, where possible, users of commissioning organisations.


(xii) South Cambridgeshire District Council will implement its aims for public art (above) by providing:

(a) Guidance for developers (and contracted builders) implementing large-scale developments. The involvement of an artist or artists at an early stage in the planning and design of developments is actively encouraged. Such guidance would clarify the percent for art formula. The Council will encourage by negotiation elements of the development involving the artists' input to constitute a significant part of the scheme; typically it will seek between 1% and 5% of the total budget. Plans and budgets will need to be agreed in association with the Council's officers preferably prior to planning approval. 'Guidance for Developers' will initially aid developers' voluntary participation in the scheme. If a public art policy is included in the Core Strategy of the Local Development Framework, a draft Supplementary Planning Document will be published for consultation prepared. (Appendix 2).

(b) Advice and support for parish councils and local organisations wishing to engage visual artists in village enhancement schemes. Preliminary guidance is available in the Springboard Toolkit for South Cambridgeshire community groups. Further guidance is available from the Arts Development Officer.

(c) Advice and support for local artists wishing to develop their skills in working with residents in the production of artworks of the highest quality. Guidance is available from the Arts Development Officer.

(xiii) The Arts Development Officer will convene a public art and design steering group, as required, composed of members and officers of the Community Development and Conservation sections, together with other interested parties, in order to review and facilitate the progress and development of the public art policy.

Financial Implications

7. There is no additional financial requirement for Community Services within the current budgetary framework.

Staffing Implications

8. Should the Policy be approved, and become "Guidance for Developers" initially and later a Supplementary Planning Document following inclusion of a policy for public art in the Local Development Framework it will be the responsibility of the Arts Development Officer and the Conservation Manager to identify applications from the weekly list that may be subject to the Policy and to comment accordingly.


Cabinet is recommended to approve the:

(a) Draft Public Art Policy detailed in paragraphs 6 (i) to (xiii) above, and

(b) Publication and distribution of Guidance to Developers regarding the inclusion of Public Art in new development (see Appendix 2). Such guidance would be informal Council policy in the short term and is likely to be consulted on as a draft supplementary planning document if a public art policy becomes part of the Local Development Framework.

Background Papers

Minutes of Public Art Working Group 5/12/2003

Report to Cabinet 16/10/2003

Report to Portfolio Holder 25/07/03

Report to General Purposes Committee 15/01/2000

Guidance from Arts Council England

Publications from Commissions East

(all available from the Arts Office)

Contact Officer

Andy O'Hanlon, Arts Development Officer, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambourne Business Park, Cambourne, Cambridge CB3 6EA.

Tel: 01954 713343. Email: [email protected]