Urban&Civic has received conditional planning permission for 6,500 new homes enable the City of Cambridge to expand and remain competitive. 

The Planning Committee of South Cambridgeshire District Council resolved on 13 May, to grant permission for 6,500 new homes and associated employment, transport, educational, health and community uses over the former Waterbeach Barracks site on the outskirts of Cambridge by the private sector company Urban & Civic. Formal planning consent remains subject to completing the associated Section 106 agreement, which is well progressed.

The resolution to grant was made pursuant to an application submitted jointly by the Secretary of State for Defence and Urban&Civic in February 2017. The 716 acre site is entirely brownfield and sits three miles from the Cambridge Science and Business Parks, home to some of the most dynamic employment generation in the world. The land will remain in majority ownership of the Ministry of Defence, administered by Defence Infrastructure Organisation but subject to participation in favour of Urban&Civic.

The Cambridge Times reported that approximately £40m of the fund will go towards opening up the 23-acre lake to the public, a cycleway to the Science Park and a cycle bridge over the A10, access to the Cambridge Research Park roundabout and a new park and ride facility near the entrance.

An additional £20m will go towards the first primary school, refurbishing a sports hall, delivering a preliminary library and health facilities, creating cycle and walking routes, play areas, water sports and lakeside cafés. More than 17,000 trees will also be planted to enhance and extend the existing woodland.

Work will take place to improve the current roundabout to create a main access route from the A10 as well as road, drainage and utility works. A £61m investment from Homes England will accelerate the construction and support the housebuilding sector as it recovers from the Covid-19 crisis.

“Waterbeach Barracks provides the most stunning lakeside location and is much the largest development in the country to be started since the onset of Covid-19,” said Nigel Hugill, chief executive of Urban & Civic.

“The project will have all the characteristics typically associated with Urban & Civic; great schools, generous, fabulous and accessible green spaces, imaginative play areas and next generation broadband with an enduring emphasis on local and community. Cycle and bus connections are built in from the outset.”

Neil Milligan, head of infrastructure finance at Homes England, said: “Our investment in large scale, long-term projects like WatHe added: “Partnership funding from Homes England is fundamental to that investment model. We would not attempt the same pace and ambition without their long-term loan support.”

“Covid-19 has presented the industry with many challenges and it’s great that despite these setbacks we can continue to secure agreements with our partners that build on our pipeline of investing in quality homes and communities and support the wider industry in its recovery.

“New housing remains a priority and while some work is temporarily paused, we continue to work to put the foundations in place for the new homes the country needs.”

The investment deal follows Homes England’s recent announcement of £180m worth of land acquisitions in the last financial year.

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