Plans for Northstowe, the largest new town since Milton Keynes have taken a huge step forward, with Homes England securing £123.9 million of funding to deliver new infrastructure and plans for the penultimate phase of Northstowe given the green light by South Cambridgeshire District Council.
The planning approval covers phase 3A and includes 4,000 new homes, a mixed-use centre, two primary schools, and a range of open spaces for play and recreation, across 210 hectares (519 acres). A section 106 agreement will now be agreed to deliver community benefits.
In addition to securing the outline planning for 4,000 new homes, Homes England has secured £123.9 million of funding which will enable the agency to continue acting as master developer. This funding will give Homes England the resources it needs to build more of Northstowe’s essential infrastructure, including roads, public transport routes, cycleways, green space and schools. This infrastructure is a vital pre-requisite to Homes England opening up land for 5,100 homes, comprising 3,500 homes of phase 2 of the Northstowe masterplan and the first 1,600 homes of phase 3a.
The Homes England flagship settlement is set to create 10,000 new homes in total, making it one of the largest new settlements in the country. The remaining phase – 3B – which provides a further 1,000 homes, primary school and mixed-use commercial zone, as well as a communal area, across 47 hectares (116 acres) will be considered at a later date. When complete, around 25,000 people will live at Northstowe.
Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said:
It is crucial to our levelling up mission that we build the high-quality homes this country needs, where we need them. So I am very pleased that thousands of families will have the opportunity to rent or buy a new home in Cambridgeshire and enjoy the cycleways, green space and schools that will be provided for them in Northstowe.
Ken Glendinning, Regional Development Director South (interim) commented:
Homes England is committed to using its expertise as a master developer to create a well-designed, sustainable new town that promotes a sense of community and pride in place.
Securing the go ahead for Northstowe Phase 3A from the planning committee marks a significant step forward for the town. These proposals, combined with the additional funding will establish a pipeline of new homes at Northstowe for the next 15 years, providing a variety of neighbourhoods and homes of a wide range of tenures.
Arcadis and Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design are advising Homes England on the proposals, with an emphasis throughout on health and wellbeing as well as taking on board lessons learned during recent changes to working patterns. Access to nature and open space and delivering biodiversity net gains are also important drivers for the masterplan.
Janice Hughes, Project Director for Arcadis, said:
The Planning Committee decision is a crucial step, and further endorsement of our work for Homes England to develop a landscape and community-led masterplan and address technical and environmental issues. We are really pleased that Northstowe Phase 3A can now move forward.
Katja Stille, Director of Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design, said:
Northstowe is being developed strategically as a vibrant, 21st century town offering the highest quality of community living and complementing the area’s local identity. This latest phase builds on the legacy of Phases 2, centred around a thoughtful approach to urban design, sustainability and healthy living principles.
Most importantly, Northstowe’s masterplan ensures that as well as delivering new homes, healthy living attributes will be applied to all aspects of development – from inclusive, walkable neighbourhoods with good cycling connections and easy access to facilities and green open space. It has been designed to ensure that all future residents can make positive lifestyle choices, minimising carbon impacts at the same time.
Delivery of Phase 3A is expected to start in 2023. In the meantime, work on Phase 2 of Northstowe – the town centre, on which Arcadis and Tibbalds also advised Homes England – will start to take shape.