5,000 homes, three schools and a local center must be approved in Northstowe


Plans for 5,000 new homes in the third phase of the Northstowe development are recommended for approval by councilors on Friday.

Three primary schools, shops, sports centers and open spaces are also considered under the two Homes England bids.

Northstowe phase 3a – an illustrative image of Military Lake. Image: England Homes

They will be reviewed by a special South Cambridgeshire District Council planning committee.

The new town, built on the former RAF base in Oakington, will eventually have 10,000 homes.

While planners backed the latest apps, there were over 100 objections to them.

The first, for Phase 3A, covers 4,000 homes on 210 hectares and two primary schools, to be built on land just north of Oakington and south of the sites of the previous two phases. The developers would also make a contribution to the existing 12-entry secondary school and special educational needs school in Northstowe, as well as a contribution to post-16 education.

A ‘local centre’ with a neighborhood plaza, retail space and park is planned as a focal point for community activity, providing the potential for markets and other events. Housing estates, sports centers and a BMX park are also planned.

Northstowe phase 3a - an illustrative image of Military Lake.  Image: England Homes
Northstowe phase 3a – an illustrative image of Military Lake. Image: England Homes

A design and access statement reads: “Phase 3A will provide a range of home types, including affordable homes to rent and buy, self-built and bespoke homes, to help establish a mixed community.

“Employment opportunities in Northstowe, together with measures to facilitate working from home, will support the town’s development as a place to live and work.”

In a report that recommends delegating approval to the Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development, a council official said: “Overall, the proposed development will provide significant measurable economic, social and environmental public benefits.

A sustainability strategy includes targets to exceed building regulations for energy efficiency at the later detailed design stage “through building fabric, orientation, air tightness, provision of appropriate sun protection, the creation of thermal mass and the use of proven technologies”.

But Daniel Fulton, of campaign group Fews Lane, said: ‘Environmental impacts on groundwater levels have been ignored in the officer’s reports for the planning committee, both in terms of local impacts on the Longstanton aquifer and the damage caused by increased withdrawals. from the chalky Cam aquifer.

“Locally in Longstanton, all ponds have been completely dried up in the summers since 2016. Prior to Northstowe starting, the ponds had never dried up in living memory. Groundwater levels are expected to drop locally by a further two to three meters due to further development. None of the findings of HR Wallingford’s reports on the effects of local groundwater were included in the officer’s report to the planning committee, and the impacts on Longstanton ponds are not even mentioned anywhere in the reports, which consist of several hundred pages. ”

Northstowe Phase 3a Master Plan.  Image: England Homes
Northstowe Phase 3a Master Plan. Image: England Homes

Among the concerns raised by 88 letters of objection to these plans were the effects on nature and wildlife, the impact on Oakington, and the “lack” of sufficient green space between the village and the new town.

One opponent said the plans showed a “clear coalescence” between Northstowe and Oakington, arguing that “no effort” had been made to maintain a clear gap between them.

The second request for Phase 3B is for 1,000 homes plus a primary school on land to the north of the existing Northstowe and Longstanton development.

Delegated approval is also recommended for this application, which received 16 objections, including concern over the impact on traffic.

One opponent said: ‘For properties returning to the B1050 the current volume of traffic is quite audible.

Illustrative sketch of Northstowe Phase 3a.  Image: England Homes
Illustrative sketch of Northstowe Phase 3a. Image: England Homes

“The extra traffic volume for the construction and the 1,000 new residences will only increase the volume and have a negative effect on people’s well-being.”

Cycling association Camcycle objected on the grounds that a primary school was planned on a main road, exposing children “to pollution and danger from traffic”.

Three comments were made in support of the application, but offering preferred recommendations, including that construction traffic not be allowed through Willingham, and urging planners to ensure all green space is ready when the first people will move into the new homes.

Northstowe phase 3b.  Image: England Homes
Northstowe phase 3b. Image: England Homes

The promoters undertake to achieve a net gain in biodiversity of at least 10% with the first application and 20% with the second.

A phase-out of fossil fuels for heating by 2023 is proposed, with air-source heat pumps planned for homes and potentially geothermal heat pumps for non-residential buildings, as well as photovoltaic panels.

If approved, further applications will have to be submitted to the District Council presenting more detailed information on the developments.

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