Local Geography

Litlington lies some 20 km. south-west of Cambridge, and covers 879 ha. (2,171 a.).  The parish is roughly rectangular, stretching from the Icknield Way in the south to a stream called the Mill river in the north. It lies upon the Lower and Middle Chalk. From under 30 metres by the stream the ground rises southwards, very gradually, to c. 40 metres near the village, from which a stream, the Chardle, formerly Chaldwell, ditch, runs north-eastwards, and to over 55 metres at Limlow Hill, nearly 1 km. further south. It then dips again before rising to over 70 metres by the Baldock-Royston road, which marks the southern boundary of the parish and county. Although there was wood for 30 pigs in 1086, the parish had later little timber, except for small groves in the village closes, until some long, narrow plantations were laid out south of the village in the 19th century.  Until inclosure in 1828 Litlington was farmed in open fields, and has remained mainly agricultural.

Some 230 metres south of the village the parish is crossed by the ancient way called Ashwell Street, straightened at inclosure.  A Roman villa with 30 rooms, first uncovered in 1829 and excavated in 1881 and 1913, stood close to a later manor house, just west of the village.  A high barrow at Limlow Hill, probably dating from the late 2nd century A.D., was perhaps the burial place of the villa's owners. Never absorbed into the surrounding fields, it was destroyed by a farmer in 1888.  It was probably the villa's dependants who were buried in an enclosed cemetery by Ashwell Street, in use from A.D. 120 to 360, uncovered in 1821.  The village was possibly occupied continuously into the Saxon period, and many Saxon coins have been found around it.

Litlington is both in the Area of Restraint south of Cambridge and in the East Anglian Chalk Landscape Character Area and Natural Area.  The village is surrounded by high grade agricultural land and contains areas of Archaeological Interest; which includes the moated site north of Bury Farm, a site on the western edge of Church Street and a site on the eastern side of Royston Road. The Conservation Area, which was designated on 12th July 1974, covers the heart of the old settlement together with the important open spaces and open frontages to the west, which form part of the setting of the village.

In the lists of Listed Buildings produced by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport there are one grade II* and thirty six grade II buildings including a K6 telephone kiosk at St. Peters Hill. These lists are not finite.

Recent Planning History

The 20th century has seen local authority housing development in two periods, early in the century and, later along and off the Bassingbourn Road between 1945 and 1960. In the 1970's and the early 1980's private housing estates have been built helping to swell the housing stock from 194 houses in 1961 to 271 in 1981. A one-way system has been introduced to ease traffic problems in the narrow lanes.  In 1951 the population was 780. By mid 1991 this had risen slightly to 810, a small increase in the post-war period during which planning policies have applied.  However, by 1996 the population had fallen marginally to 800.

Planning Policies

Litlington has been designated as an infill-only village. Residential developments within the village frameworks of Infill villages will be restricted to not more than two dwellings, subject to the criteria set out in policy SE5 and other policies of the plan. In very exceptional cases a

slightly larger development may be permitted if this would lead to the sustainable recycling of a brownfield site bringing positive overall benefit to the village. Any development will have to be within the defined framework of the built-up area.

No development will be permitted on the following important Protected Village Amenity Areas:

that bounded by Malting Lane/Middle Street/South Street and Church Street;

that between Malting Lane and South Street.

These are visually and historically important open spaces crucial to the character of the Conservation Area.