A multi-million-pound investment is being made in Northstowe by South Cambridgeshire District Council, to create new local jobs, green space and facilities built around pedestrians and cyclists.
The Council has agreed to spend £5.05 million acquiring the local centre and Enterprise Zone – both within phase 1 of the new town – to play a leading role in the creation of two key areas of Northstowe. The Council is purchasing the land from developer and promoter L&Q Estates. Local residents and businesses will be key in helping to shape the future plans from an early stage. The Council is already bringing forward plans for a community building, to be funded by L&Q Estates, which will sit within the local centre.
The vision from Councillors is for the Enterprise Zone and local centre to be places designed around pedestrians and cyclists. The aim is for good pedestrian and cycle links to the nearby Guided Busway park and ride, along with flexible green, public open space.
Enterprise Zones are designated areas across the country that provide tax breaks and Government support. They are great places to do business especially for both new and expanding firms.
The Council envisages that the Enterprise Zone will become an attractive northern gateway to Northstowe, taking advantage of the Guided Busway’s links to Cambridge, St Ives and surrounding villages. The Zone will contain buildings set within a green landscape providing green links, connections, and places for people to enjoy.
The local centre is located directly next to the employment land and presents an opportunity for the Council to help shape and bring forward the retail and commercial development.
It will create an important meeting place and local facilities such as shops for residents, linking employment and residential areas. The vision is to create a mixed-use area made up of shops, restaurants, cafes and buildings that are active, vibrant, and safe. A community building will provide a central focus point for this area.
Now the purchase of the site has been completed, work is already underway to ensure the local community help shape the plans. The Council is currently in the process of finding and appointing a team to work with residents, businesses and other stakeholders to ensure they can contribute to the development . Businesses and green energy specialists are also among the groups the Council plans to approach to ask for input.
The ambition is for construction work to begin on site in the summer of 2022.
South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr John Williams, said: “We’re doing everything we can to help create and shape a thriving, healthy community in Northstowe. We’ll be making sure that local people and businesses have every possible chance to help us bring forward the plans; after all, those are the people that already know the area best. This is proof of our commitment to helping bring forward local facilities and jobs at Northstowe – benefiting local residents and businesses too. We hope that the Enterprise Zone will in future be home to many new and growing local businesses. I’m hugely excited to get this work started and very much look forward to making progress in helping to shape a big part of this brilliant new town.”
One Local Member for Northstowe, Cllr Sarah Cheung Johnson, commented: “We know Northstowe residents have waited some time for news of how shops, leisure facilities and other elements will come forward. This update shows just how hard the Council is working to continue shaping this new town into somewhere they will enjoy living and working long into the future. This isn’t just about more new homes – it’s about continuing to build a proper community.”
Fellow Local Member for Northstowe, Cllr Alex Malyon, added: “We’re so pleased that the Council has agreed to make this commitment to Northstowe – it truly shows how much we care about its future. We’ll be ensuring that local residents are truly involved in helping to shape the plans from an early stage. The aim is to build something that truly works for the community, and local people’s input is vital.”
Ian Hardwick, Managing Director of Northstowe’s master developers L&Q Estates, said: “We are delighted to have progressed the sale of the employment and local centre land to South Cambridgeshire District Council. We believe the Council will develop a high-quality development which fully integrates the community building within the mixed-use scheme and will reflect the significant investment made to date at Northstowe.
“The local centre will provide retail, employment and community facilities which will serve the population of Northstowe as the development continues to grow.”
It was confirmed last year that Northstowe – which when complete will have around 10,000 homes and 26,200 residents – is to be governed by a newly created Northstowe Town Council. The decision was made at South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Full Council meeting on 26 November and follows a Community Governance Review with local parish councils and communities to consider the governance options for the new community. The District Council will also work with the new Northstowe Town Council, when established later this year, to ensure it is involved in shaping the plans for the two areas.