Multi-million pound deal struck to provide community facilities at Northstowe in Cambridgeshire

29 January  2014

Local councils have struck a £30 million deal with the promoters of the first homes at the planned town of Northstowe, a planned new town to the north-west of Cambridge, for investment in community facilities – including funding for a primary and secondary school.
 
The contributions agreed follow a deal being brokered by South Cambridgeshire and Cambridgeshire County councils with the promoters of the first 1,500 homes, Gallagher Estates.
 
A report presented to the Northstowe Joint Development Control Committee outlined the terms of the agreement which will get the new town off the ground.
 
The legal agreement includes:
-        £10 million for a new primary school
-        £8 million contribution toward a new secondary school
-        Almost £6 million toward transport, including new cycle routes, footpaths and a contribution for the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway which is already in place
-        £1.5 million for a community centre
-        £1.5 million for sports pitches
-        £1.1 million for a sports pavilion
-        Over £1 million for drainage, which will include improvements for nearby Longstanton
-        Over £500,000 for parks and open spaces
 
The initial development of new homes will also include a local centre with shops and employment opportunities as well as a household recycling centre.
 
The legal agreement has been finalised by lawyers and will soon be signed by all parties before being sealed. Once completed the outline planning permission already approved by councillors for phase one will be issued.
 
 
Once planning permission has been granted, a series of detailed planning applications will follow, which will include the design and appearance of homes.  These will be consulted on with residents.
 
Subject to the detailed planning applications being agreed, developers have said to the councils that work could begin on site later this year.
 
One in five of the homes in the initial development will be affordable rented or shared ownership. However, councillors are also expecting that a variety of other homes will be built in the first phase that are open to buy or rent for all residents with the support of schemes such as ‘Help to Buy’, mortgage guarantee and similar Government backed initiatives which may be available.
 
To make sure the secondary school can be delivered as early as possible alongside the first development of homes at Northstowe, the Homes and Communities Agency – which owns the majority of the government land that the future town will be built on – will make land available. The Agency is working together with Gallagher, the County Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council to bring forward the new town which will have up to 10,000 homes.
 
Cllr Tim Wotherspoon, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for Northstowe, said: “Delivering a new town of the highest quality has always been our priority and this agreement will secure the money needed to provide the facilities that are vital to its success. We know there is huge demand for new homes, especially at a price people can afford, and I am really pleased after a long period of negotiation that we have been able to secure the best deal possible. We have a thriving economy in South Cambridgeshire with around 1,000 new jobs being created each year, but to continue our success story and quality of life for local people more housing is needed.”
 
Cllr Ian Bates, Cambridgeshire County Council’s cabinet member for growth and infrastructure, said: “Securing a contribution toward a new secondary school as part of phase one of the new town is excellent news for the area. It is rare to be able to do this at this stage of a town and will help make sure it gets off to the best possible start. The highly successful Busway being in place before the first homes begin to be built, along with the recent planning permission for the new Cambridge Science Park Station, will also ensure new residents will have some of the highest quality transport links in the country on their doorstep. But future phases of the town will also need a major upgrade of the A14 which we will continue to press the government on delivering as early as possible.”
 
Alan Joyner, Executive Director at Gallagher, said: “We are looking forward to starting construction on site later this year. This is the culmination of many years of hard work by Gallagher and its partners and we will be helping to provide the new community with a wide range of services and facilities in a great location for inward investment in homes and jobs.”
 
Paul Kitson, Senior Manager of the Homes and Communities Agency, said: “This is great news. As future plans for more homes unfold this year we will start to see a real momentum building on this development. We are looking forward to talking to the public about these plans soon.”
 
ENDS
 
For further information contact Gareth Bell in the communication team on 01954 713289 or
gareth.bell@scambs.gov.uk or emma.drake@hca.gsi.gov.uk / 07775550847
 
The report to be presented to the Northstowe Joint Development Control Committee can be found by visiting:
http://scambs.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=818&MId=5912&Ver=4
 
Notes to editors:
 
The Homes and Communities Agency and Gallagher have been working together as joint promoters of Northstowe since the beginning of 2006, in partnership with both South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.
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 is the single, national housing and regeneration delivery agency for England, and the Regulator of Social Housing Providers.  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; and
Focus on governance, financial viability and value for money as the basis for robust economic regulation that maintains lender confidence and protects the taxpayer.
 
For more information visit: http://www.homesandcommunities.co.uk/newsevent or follow us on Twitter.