Andrew Lansley, MP visits Oakington Barracks to see intended ‘Heritage Core' for Northstowe

 

Today, March 11, Rt Hon Andrew Lansley CBE, MP for South Cambridgeshire and local Leaders visited the former Oakington Barracks site and airfield to look at the progress of estate management work and the proposed ‘heritage core' which would include provision for  a community facility for the local heritage society.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) owns and manages the government land asset for which it has a duty maintain until it can be brought forward for housing development as part of Northstowe.  With increasing constraints on the public purse, work needed to start swiftly to reduce ongoing and expensive liabilities and maintenance costs.  This will also act as preparation work for new homes in the future.

The HCA has been working with partners and members of the local heritage society as part of this process to look at how the cultural and environmental aspects could be carried forward to any future housing development. 

Terry Fuller, executive director of the HCA in the East and South East explains;
"Following an initial assessment of the buildings, and in light of our discussions with local groups, partner organisations and local MPs, rather than remove all the buildings on the site it is now the intention of the HCA to retain a number of buildings and areas for what we are calling a ‘heritage core' for Northstowe;

  • The Officers Mess
  • The Guard House
  • The Admin Block
  • Open Space adjacent to the Admin Block
  • Shelter adjacent to Admin Block
  • The Water Tower
  • The Mushroom ‘Oakington Pill boxes
  • The existing road layout and all trees around the barracks.

In addition, the HCA is offering the Longstanton and District Heritage Society floor space in the Admin Block as a secure and water tight storage facility for their collection of artefacts.  And, in the short term, will retain two of the ‘H' blocks and assess whether there is a business case for retaining them."

Andrew Lansley CBE, MP for South Cambridgeshire says; "There is a pressing need for new homes to be built in south Cambridgeshire.  It is important that we get on with making this happen right away, which is why I am so pleased to see that work is now underway towards this today.  It is also encouraging to see that a number of the important historical buildings that exist on the site can be preserved and incorporated into the new proposals.  The history that already exists here will, I hope, become a part of this vibrant new 21st centaury town."

Investigation is also ongoing by the HCA regarding retention of the former aircraft hangers for short term commercial use.  All the other buildings will be removed, pending the outcome of a current heritage application*.  Work has now commenced outside the areas in question.

Terry Fuller continues: "The HCA as a public body and land owner is always keen to determine how the character of a local area could captured in any future housing development   By selectively retaining some key buildings at Oakington Barracks we can hopefully create a heritage core for the future benefit of all.  Moreover, we are pleased to have been able to reach what we believe to be an appropriate compromise that does not unduly impact the public purse.  Both the HCA and all partners remain fully supportive of Northstowe."

Ends

For more info contact Emma Drake, Communications Manager, HCA 07775 550847 emma.drake@hca.gsx.gov.uk

Notes to editors

1. At the time of writing, none of the buildings have been designated as listed by the Secretary of State or English Heritage.  There is, however, an outstanding application being considered by the Secretary of State on the following buildings; 1) The Officer's Mess 2) The Admin Block 3) The Sergeants Mess.  The HCA is mindful of this application, and the petition and lobbying from the local heritage group and is sympathetic to their cause to retain a number of buildings. 

2. A list of  HCA  assets

3. The Homes and Communities Agency and Gallagher have been working together as joint promoters of Northstowe since the beginning of 2006.  Gallagher is one of the UK's largest master developers, promoting and delivering residential and mixed use schemes across the country. In addition to Northstowe, Gallagher is currently promoting another new town in Bedford (The Wixams), and six other new communities in South Midlands/East of England growth areas. The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is the single, national housing and regeneration delivery agency for England.  Our vision is to create opportunity for people to live in homes they can afford in places they want to live, by enabling local authorities and communities to deliver the ambition they have for their own areas. 

Joint Promoters of Northstowe comment on implications of CSR / A14

7 March 2011

The Joint Promoters of Northstowe; The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), and Gallagher Longstanton Ltd, are committed to working with all partners involved to bring forward the site for housing development.  Commercial negotiations are still ongoing and no outcome has yet been reached.  

Managing the ongoing maintenance liabilities and costs to the public purse is an important aspect of estate management for the HCA who own the former barracks and airfield part of the proposed development site. Removing some of the buildings is a necessary part of this process.  The work that has commenced on site is necessary now, but will also act as preparation work for the time when negotiations reach a close and the site is brought forward for development.  

Going forward, the Joint Promoters are confident that Northstowe can be delivered and support the DfT’s proposal for a study to identify cost effective and practical proposals which will bring benefits and relieve congestion on the A14.  

The delivery of Northstowe with housing, employment, commercial and recreational facilities will make an important contribution to the economic growth of the Cambridge area and the Joint Promoters remain fully committed to the scheme.  

Therefore, both the HCA and Gallagher, along with all key partners continue to explore ways in which early phases of Northstowe could be brought forward in the short term as part of the wider vision for Northstowe.  

ENDS

For more info contact:
Emma Drake, HCA East of England on 01223 374008 emma.drake@hca.gsx.gov.uk

Notes to editors:
The Homes and Communities Agency and Gallagher have been working together as joint promoters of Northstowe since the beginning of 2006.

Gallagher is one of the UK’s largest master developers, promoting and delivering residential and mixed use schemes across the country. In addition to Northstowe, Gallagher is currently promoting another new town in Bedford (The Wixams), and six other new communities in South Midlands/East of England growth areas.
www.gallagheruk.com

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is the single, national housing and regeneration delivery agency for England.  Our vision is to create opportunity for people to live in homes they can afford in places they want to live, by enabling local authorities and communities to deliver the ambition they have for their own areas.

For more information visit the HCA newsroom at homesandcommunities.co.uk/newsevent