Waterbeach New Town East, a new settlement of up to 4,500 homes close to Cambridge, has received outline approval from South Cambridgeshire District Council.

The scheme, proposed by RLW Estates, aims to move away from prioritising cars and focus on outdoor spaces in order to offer a strong sense of community and connectivity. The 20-year project, designed by LDA Designs, hopes to offer a more sociable and sustainable lifestyle for future residents.

A major highlight of the scheme is the car-free residential streets, which LDA claims will encourage a more intimate, sociable, and green community. Plans have also been included for a 20-acre park, play areas, allotments, and community orchards to accommodate shared activities, play, communal dining, and food growing.

Waterbeach NTE will also feature diverse working environments, with a mix of workspaces and retail, plus a wide range of facilities including a new secondary school, primary schools and community centres.

A relocated railway station with longer platforms forms part of plans to significantly improve public transport links in the area. A network of walking and cycling routes will link homes to public transport and the town centre, schools, and workspaces. Two local bridleways will be integrated into the new town.

David Wesselingh, master planning lead for Waterbeach NTE, describes wanting to create a place that makes connected living easy. “The vision we have developed with RLW Estates leans heavily on Waterbeach’s location and the compelling landscape and patterns of the Fens. The proposal sets out a series of small neighbourhoods, or steads. Each stead will comprise up to 400 homes; they will have their own character, landmarks, and amenities. They will be fine-grained, nuanced, and well-linked, but they will also connect to a bigger landscape and story.”

RLW Estates’ Chris Goldsmith said: “We are looking forward to working closely with the Council to deliver our vision of a sustainable community that will place cyclists and pedestrians at its heart, creating an environmentally conscious and future-proofed development.”

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