A vision for a new town north of Waterbeach has been revealed, with calls for developers to contribute to the cost of major infrastructure.
It will feature a railway station, five schools, two secondary schools, a sixth-form college, shops and 11,000 homes.
There is currently an outline planning application for up to 6,500 homes on the site, as well as a full planning application for the proposed relocation of Waterbeach railway station.
Developers will be asked to pay to help improve local roads and transport links, including possibly helping turn the A10 into a dual carriageway.
There is another outline application for up to 4,500 homes and infrastructure.
Waterbeach New Town will be located immediately adjacent to Denny Abbey, a Grade I listed building.
A new supplementary planning document was published by South Cambridgeshire District Council yesterday (August 6). It sets out the council's vision for the new town and how all of the elements fit together.
It will be used to guide future planning applications for the site.
Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer, deputy leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council with responsibility for strategic planning, said there would be a “high bar” set for developers, and noted that transport and access would be key.
Cllr Van de Weyer, said: “Lots of work has been done with the local parish council to help prepare this document and the views of the community are really important.
"We know there are key issues such as transport and the A10 impact to understand, and this document sets out a vision for the range of issues we expect developers to consider in their applications.
“It is important that the proposed new town works as a whole, especially as we have more than one developer, and that we set a high bar that must be passed. Any new development must be respectful of the local area so that the village of Waterbeach retains its identity, and the new community has its own.”
The report will be discussed by South Cambridgeshire District Councils scrutiny and overview committee on August 14.
The document will be presented to a scrutiny committee meeting on August 14 before going to the councils cabinet on September 5. If agreed by the cabinet, a six-week public consultation will be carried out.
Will it have its own railway station?
The council says they support relocating Waterbeach station to a new spot within the new town.
It says this is due to the “limiting constraints” of the existing station and the need and opportunity to serve the new town and existing village better with a modern facility.
The council supports the development of a relocated station in order to provide improved sustainable travel choices. They say this will help get people out of cars and onto public transport.
The document sets out how the space around the station will be used for mixed retail units, business, and other commercial uses, as well as leisure and entertainment facilities, community facilities, and a sixth form college.
There will also be a multi-storey car park which will form part of a park and ride.
Will the roads be able to cope?
The document says that walking and cycling should be prioritised within the new town in a bid to reduce the use of private cars. There will also be an on-site Park and Ride.
Cycle routes to Cambridge and linking to neighbouring communities should also be part of plans put forward.
Developers must contribute funding to “strategic transport improvements that could include on or off line dualling of the A10”, as well as upgrades to the junctions on the A10.
Developers will also be asked to make contributions to improvements to the Milton Interchange, and to new public transport and cycle links to Cambridge.
How many schools will there be?
The council envisages there will be five primary schools in the new town, spread out to make sure there are enough for everyone to get to on foot. As well as this, there will be two secondary schools, and a sixth-form college. The town may also include a special educational needs school.
According to the document: “The first secondary school will be located centrally within the town centre. The second secondary school, if required, will be located within Bannold Drove Centre and well served by walking and cycling routes.”
The college will be located within the railway station district centre, so students can make use of the train and bus. If a special educational needs school is built, the council recommends putting it on land near the A10 corridor.
The document says this is “due to its requirement to serve a wider catchment” and that a significant proportion of pupils will arrive either by private or school transport.
What will the town centre be like?
The town centre will be organised around a “high quality mix of uses together with high quality public space”.
It will have its very own high street and a series of open spaces, and will be built to a higher density than the surrounding areas. Buildings with shops or restaurants on the ground floors will have residential uses on the upper floors. The council says this will “bring about increased housing density and therefore activity to the town centre”.
The business, retail, services, food and drink needs of the new town will be provided primarily within the town centre and close to the relocated rail station.
So, who owns what?
There is more than one landowner and site promoter involved in delivering the new town. The district council says it is important that it should be delivered as a “single unified development”.
The new town site is within multiple land ownerships. The former military base is owned by the Ministry of Defences Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), and is being promoted for development by Urban & Civic (U&C).
Land to the east is held in a trust by Turnstone Estates along with St Johns College and Royal London Asset Management.
Denny Abbey is owned by English Heritage, and the land around the Abbey is controlled by RLW Estates.
Will the town be environmentally friendly?
The council has also said that developers should explore the opportunity to incorporate “on-site renewable and low-carbon energy generation”.
The hope is this will allow it to provide its own power rather than drawing from regional stations.
The planning document also sets out that the approach to building new homes – saying developers should be looking to reduce water consumption to less than 110 litres per person per day. This could include using harvesting rainwater to flush toilets and using lower grade greywater for irrigation.
What will the buildings look like?
Buildings near the lake, town centre, and relocated railway station will be four to six storeys high, with lower buildings of two to three storeys near the edge of the existing Waterbeach village.
Parts of the site were previously used as a military barracks and some elements of the military past remain. These include large aircraft hangars, a water tower, a runway watchtower, and other buildings dating from the 1940s.
The document suggests keeping the barracks' grid layout as it reflects "part of the distinctive character of the site and its history.”
The Watch Tower, a non-designated heritage asset, has “potential for future community use”.
A number of the barracks buildings have already been brought back into community use including the Waterbeach Military Heritage Museum.