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6,500 homes approved in Cambridgeshire

Words: Laura Edgar
Waterbeach / Urban&Civic

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee has backed outline plans to develop the former Waterbeach Barracks site.

The proposals are for the western half of the site, which is allocated for a new town in the authority’s recently adopted local plan.

Urban&Civic’s plans include up to 6,500 homes, 1,950 of which will be affordable. They also include road, cycle and public transport upgrades; community facilities, a secondary school, three primary schools, seven hectares of allotment and community orchard space, and parks.

The application notes that 43 per cent of the site would be open space, including recreation areas. The developer plans to enhance and create woodlands, grasslands and wetlands to improve the green environment for plants, animals and residents. A local centre would be set around an existing lake.

A legal agreement alongside the approval would see Urban&Civic provide £141 million in funding towards new local services, facilities, and local transport upgrades such as improving junctions on the A10 at Car Dyke Road/Waterbeach Road, and Landbeach Road/Humphries Way.

The council said traffic-calming measures are planned in Waterbeach and neighbouring villages, and local bus services will run more often and a temporary park-and-ride scheme will be established on the new town site.

Dr Tumi Hawkins, the council's lead cabinet member for planning, said in supporting this application the council had carefully considered the concerns and the opportunities entailed in delivering housing on this scale.

“We know transport is one of the main concerns with any new development. That’s why we’re working extremely closely with Urban&Civic to agree a package of transport upgrades that not only include improvements to junctions on the A10, but also major improvements to local cycle and walking routes and bus services. We’re also continuing to work with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority on larger-scale options to improve the A10.

“This proposal plays an important part in ensuring that the council can secure the delivery of the new homes and high-quality places to live and work that we know we need.”

Urban&Civic was appointed by the Ministry of Defence to develop the site. Tim Leathes, development director, said: “It has been a very intense five years of work, pulling together with local communities and partners the right vision for the unique opportunity that the barracks presents economically, environmentally and socially, to create an exemplar sustainable community.

“With medical staff from Papworth already living in refurbished accommodation and local residents using facilities on site every day, we are looking forward to getting going with the next stage of planning and preparatory works over this summer, opening up the amazing lake next year and delivering much-needed homes and facilities from 2022.”

A detailed planning application will be submitted to South Cambridgeshire District Council by Urban&Civic soon.

A separate application for up to 4,500 new homes on the eastern half of the planned new town site, submitted RLW Estates in June last year, is still being assessed by the council.

Image credit | Urban&Civic