Cambridge City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council are set to go ahead with plans to create a vibrant new centre in the East Barnwell area of Abbey ward in Cambridge.

The proposals include plans for a new community centre, new library and pre-school facilities, new accessible public open spaces, new commercial premises, plus new high-quality sustainable and affordable housing.

The city and county councils will now work towards an agreement with Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP) to deliver the first phases of the project to create a more liveable, accessible and sustainable neighbourhood, where motorised traffic and space for car parking is not as dominant.

It is hoped that three sites will be developed by CIP in the centre of East Barnwell near the Newmarket Road, Barnwell Road and Wadloes Road roundabout, subject to planning permissions.

These council-owned sites are currently taken up by the Abbey Bowls Club, the East Barnwell Community Centre, and the local centre on Barnwell Road which comprises shops, flats and a public library.

These initial sites will be the focus for the comprehensive regeneration of the East Barnwell local centre, to provide new community, library, pre-school and commercial facilities alongside new homes, with the bowls club being relocated to new facilities at the Abbey Leisure Complex.

The timescales for delivery of the proposals subject to agreement by both authorities is for planning application submission in early 2023, construction to start on site by the end of 2023, and the opening of facilities in the first half of 2025.

Cllr Gerri Bird, executive councillor for housing at Cambridge City Council, said: “East Barnwell is a wonderful part of Cambridge with a strong sense of community, but it has perhaps suffered from a lack of investment and opportunities for its residents over the decades.

“These proposals, which we will continue to liaise closely on with residents, are a once-in-a-generation opportunity to significantly improve the quality of life for people there, including by meeting the need for modern, sustainable housing, providing long-awaited new community facilities, and opportunities for business and employment.”

Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “What we are seeing now is the benefits of a good and close working relationship with a partner authority, which has the potential to deliver an excellent result for local people. I only wish this collaboration could have happened sooner.”

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