Green light for Waterbeach Barracks development

South Cambridgeshire District Council today (Monday 13 May) confirmed Resolution to Grant consent for the development of Waterbeach Barracks and Airfield. The application – submitted in February 2017 by Urban&Civic and the Secretary of State for Defence – includes delivery of up to 6,500 new homes, new schools and health centre and significant transport investment and green space on the 715 acres of brownfield land at Waterbeach Barracks.

The former airfield and barracks are just three miles from North Cambridge’s Science and Business parks and are part of significant public and private investment in the emerging northern fringe of Cambridge that will address existing shortages of homes and transport infrastructure, and maintain continued growth for the City, District and the wider County. At the same time, the application was commended for its strong sustainable and ecological vision, which works with and enhances the rich landscape and ecology of the unique site, which includes mature woodland blocks and a stunning 20 acre man-made lake, a legacy of the Royal Engineers time at the Barracks.

The former airfield and barracks site, is part of the new community north of the existing village of Waterbeach set out in South Cambridgeshire’s Local Plan, adopted in September 2018. The vision for the community, which also includes adjacent development of farmland being progressed by RLW Estates, is also set out in a Supplementary Planning Document adopted in February this year.

Tim Leathes, Development Director for Urban&Civic, who are the Development Manager appointed by the Ministry of Defence to take forward development of the site, said:

“Waterbeach Barracks is the best brownfield site in the country, located uniquely in an area with huge housing need.  It has been a very intense five years of work pulling together with local communities and partners the right vision for the unique opportunity that the Barracks presents economically, environmentally and socially, to create an exemplar sustainable community.  We appreciate the massive effort that everyone has put into finalising these proposals, to ensure aspirational and robust plans for a high quality well connected new community, working with and respecting the existing villages and environment.”

“With nurses and doctors from Papworth already living in refurbished accommodation blocks, and local residents using facilities on site every day of the week, we are looking forward to getting going with the next stage of planning, preparatory works on site over the Summer, opening up the lake next year, and delivering much needed homes and facilities to the local area, with first residents likely to move in in 2022.  Crucially we have a responsibility to national and local government to ensure this huge publically owned brownfield site delivers real benefits locally and addresses some of the area’s most pressing needs.”

The Outline Planning Application includes:

  • 6500 homes
  • A secondary school and three primary schools
  • A healthcare centre and library
  • A leisure centre with a swimming pool
  • Four community centres
  • 29 hectares of outdoor sports space
  • Seven hectares of allotment and community orchard space

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Planning, Cllr Dr. Tumi Hawkins, said:

“This is a significant step forward in the delivery of our Local Plan aspirations for the area. In supporting this proposal, the Council has carefully considered all of the concerns and opportunities that housing delivery at this scale entails.

“We know transport is one of the main concerns with any new development. That’s why we’re working extremely closely with Urban&Civic to agree a package of transport upgrades that not only include improvements to junctions on the A10, but also major improvements to local cycle and walking routes and bus services. We’re also continuing to work with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority on larger-scale options to improve the A10.

“This proposal plays an important part in ensuring that the Council can secure the delivery of the new homes and high-quality places to live and work that we know we need.”

Robert Stone, Head of Estates for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), said:

“We’re very pleased to be moving forward with plans to convert this former barracks and airfield into 6500 new homes. This is the result of collaboration and hard work from all parties to take this surplus MOD site into an exciting new town development that can deliver the quality housing that Cambridgeshire needs, in a sustainable environment. It will also contribute to the Government’s housing target and funds raised from the development will be reinvested in the Defence estate.”

Additional background information about the development plans are available from Urban&Civic from Rebecca Britton, on 07739 339 889 or by emailing rbritton@urbanandcivic.com.

For more information and the media announcement from South Cambridgeshire District Council, please contact Tom Horn in the communications team on 01954 713025 or tom.horn@scambs.gov.uk.