Colleges' plans for 2,800 homes in south west Cambridge

Artist impression of the South West Cambridge proposal north of Barton Road, Aldermanne section. 

Artist impression of the South West Cambridge proposal north of Barton Road, Aldermanne section. - Credit: David Lock Associates

Four colleges and the University of Cambridge are proposing a new development of up to 2,800 homes on the city’s south west boundary.

On Wednesday (February 17) the group announced its vision for the development of land north of Barton Road, which it has submitted as part of the greater Cambridge local plan call for sites.

The plans have been put forward by the North Barton Road Land Owners Group, a consortium of landowners comprising Corpus Christi College, Downing College, Jesus College, St. John’s College and the University of Cambridge.

Artist impression of the South West Cambridge proposal north of Barton Road, Aldermanne section. 

Artist impression of the South West Cambridge proposal north of Barton Road, Aldermanne section. - Credit: David Lock Associates

The site is currently green belt land used for farming. The North Barton Land Owners Group said that it envisions more than half of the site remaining as green space – with 49 per cent of the proposed area being retained as green belt.

The group said the development would have “a significant amount of accessible green infrastructure,” which includes open spaces and parks, sports pitches, green corridors, meadows, wetland habitat and the “rewilding” of Bin Brook.


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The group is also advocating the “extremely sustainable location”, which it said is easily accessible by walking, cycling and public transport.

The group is proposing a development of between 2,500 and 2,800 homes, as well as a new primary school, health centre, public square and other community facilities on the site.

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The vision for the development includes adhering to the city council’s policy of offering a minimum 40 per cent affordable housing on site, with the other homes being made for the open market, housing for the university and college staff, specialist housing for the elderly, and student accommodation.

The group told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that it is proposing “a range of densities across the site”. At this stage it is looking at between 47 and 52 homes per hectare.

Artist impression of the South West Cambridge proposal north of Barton Road, South West Meadows section.

Artist impression of the South West Cambridge proposal north of Barton Road, South West Meadows section. - Credit: David Lock Associates

The group said it envisages that the majority of the development areas will be no more than two to three storeys, with some taller development, up to five storeys, at the northern end of the site, where it adjoins the commercial West Cambridge university site.

The group will be holding a public webinar about the plans at 6pm on February 25 where residents can ask questions and speak with developers.

Jenny Raine, the bursar of Corpus Christi College, said: “The vision for South West Cambridge is of a high-quality new neighbourhood that will provide the homes Cambridge needs in the most sustainable location.

“Located next to the growing employment area of West Cambridge and providing easy access to the centre of the city, the proposals meet the requirements for new development laid out by Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire councils.

“The new neighbourhood will also be at the forefront of environmental sustainability, both with respect to the homes that are built and the new, publicly accessible green spaces created.

Artist impression of the South West Cambridge proposal north of Barton Road, Colys Crosse section. 

Artist impression of the South West Cambridge proposal north of Barton Road, Colys Crosse section. - Credit: David Lock Associates

“Now that our vision has been submitted to the councils, we want to ensure that our proposals are fully explained to both the local community and everyone living in the region.

"We are therefore proposing a series of webinars where people will be able to hear from the project team and ask any questions that they may have.”

No formal planning application has yet been made, and is not expected for some time.

The group has submitted the proposal as part of Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council local plan process.

As part of the local plan – which is expected to be finalised no earlier than 2023 – the councils will set the policies for development in the area for the next several years and possibly up to two decades.

As part of the call for sites process, the councils have asked landowners to submit their proposals to be considered for this plan.

Far more land and housing development has been proposed then will likely be agreed to by the councils, and more detail on which sites are likely to be included is expected in the autumn.

Sites that are included will then still need to apply for planning permission, but with the knowledge that the principle of some form of development on their land is agreed in policy.

The entire process from submission in the call for sites to the first homes being built can last several years.

Further details on the South West Cambridge proposal are available on the website: www.southwestcambridge.com

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