A vision for the Cambridge East development on the Cambridge City Airport site has been unveiled by Marshall.
The plans show 7,000 new homes and 9,000 new jobs to be created in a new urban quarter for Cambridge where people can live and work, all within a 15-minute walking distance.
Marshall is set to depart the 462-acre airport by 2030 to Cranfield in Bedfordshire, in time for decisions to have been finalised on the next Local Plan.
The firm envisions the majority of the proposed new homes being mid-rise blocks of apartments rather than two-storey detached houses.
Green belt rules mean developers will have to leave a 300m wide green space running through the middle of the site, which could be turned into a park or woodland.
Marshall is inviting members of the public to have their say on what they would like to see in the new district, including ideas for community space, leisure facilities and landscaping.
Marshall chief executive officer Kathy Jenkins said: “We recognise the opportunity to work alongside the people of Cambridge to create a new, complementary urban quarter for our amazing city.
“This initial round of public engagement is just the beginning of the conversation but we firmly believe that Cambridge East has the potential to be the most exciting mixed-use development in the UK, encompassing a diverse mix of homes, employment, education, healthcare, transport, culture and sports and leisure opportunities.
“We want to make sure that Cambridge East can fulfil its true potential and help to address some of the city’s well-documented infrastructure and inequality challenges.
“People will be aware that in order to free up the land we will be relocating our aerospace business to Cranfield in Bedfordshire by the end of the decade, where it will benefit from a new purpose-built facility at the heart of an Eastern aerospace cluster.
“Cambridge, however, will continue to sit at the very heart of the Marshall Group and many of our existing operations will remain in the city, continuing to provide highly skilled employment as well as a wide range of training opportunities, for many generations to come.
“We are excited to continue the many valuable partnerships we have built up with our local community as we work together to create our vision for Cambridge East, and I do hope as many people from as many backgrounds as possible will take the opportunity to participate in this initial engagement.”
James Buxton, who sits on the Marshall Group Property board, says they will work with planners and the Environment Agency to solve any problems with water supply, following concerns raised about other developments and objection of other developments.
James Buxton said: “There needs to be an integrated strategic plan for water for Cambridge. And there has been criticism levelled in the past that there isn’t that strategic plan but that things have been done on a piecemeal basis. Developments have been permitted incrementally without looking at the overall consequences of lots of developments, one after the other.
“We expect to be part of discussion with water authorities and with the Environment Agency about what is the long-term solution for Cambridge and how do we fit into it, and how can we contribute towards it.”
He added that transport options of the new site would need to be considered, even if some people do live an work on the development.
“I think the 15-minute neighbourhood, in an ideal world, would probably be our starting point,” says James.
“But being realistic, there are going to be people living on Cambridge East who are working in other parts of the city. And we will need to work with the local authority on what improvements to the transport network can be made and when.
“There is probably a scale of development which could be accommodated without any major infrastructure improvements. But then there will probably come a point where it’s actually desirable, from everybody’s point of view, that there is some sort of significant change in modes of transport.”
He also promised that there would be both “affordable housing” and “social rent” properties on the site alongside “expensive properties”.
The site looks set to be one of the biggest brownfield developments in the UK, if not in Europe, he added. “And it’s all in single ownership, which is very unusual,”.
The company will hold four open events during July, encouraging members of the public to share their ideas and vision for a new mixed-use development.
The public engagement sessions will take place at Concorde House on Newmarket Road, situated behind the ice rink at the following times:
- Tuesday, July 11, 2.00 – 7.00 pm
Wednesday, July 12, 3.00 – 8.00 pm
Tuesday, July 18, 2.00 – 7.00 pm
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