Waterbeach Barracks-‘lakeside community’ plan
It really is one of the most ambitious projects to address the housing issue in the area – the conversion of Waterbeach Barracks, 715 acres of brownfield land just three miles from the science parks off the A14/A10 roundabout, into a residential site with 6,500 new homes and a host of facilities to cater for every possible need.
The Waterbeach proposal laid out by developer Urban and Civic awaits planning permission, but whatever happens next the joined-up thinking sets a new bar for big development projects – urgently needed to solve the region’s property shortfall.
- Up to 6,500 homes, including up to 600 units of residential institution (care home) use
- Three primary schools – the first open from day one – incorporating pre-school provision
- A secondary school
- Extensive community facilities, (up to 9,000sq m) including multi-purpose community centres, health care, nurseries, library use, places of worship and a museum
- Sports and fitness centres (up to 7,000 sqm) including gyms and other cultural and recreational uses.
- Up to 16,500sq m of retail uses, with no single outlet will be larger than 4,000sq m.
- Employment space including offices, research and development and light industrial units (up to 15,000 sqm) to support existing local business parks.
- A lakeside hotel (up to 4,000sq m)
- Infrastructure improvements and investments in energy centres, waste management facilities and sustainable urban drainage systems.
None of this ambition would be possible without the exemplary work of the Royal Engineers, who took the site on in 1966 an landscaped it to include a golf course and a lake, which could become a waterfront economy – and provide a unique nighttime attraction.
Urban and Civic chief executive Nigel Hugill said: “Waterbeach can help meet a demonstrable shortage of accessible accommodation in the north of the city, both from an expanding workforce and local residents who have lived here for generations. Courtesy of the Royal Engineers, the barracks and airfield are already marvellously landscaped, with a 23-acre lake and tree lined environment that has been 40 years in the making, and is already part of a popular and dynamic village.
“The Science and Business parks are famous the world over but commuting from the south of Cambridge to these expanding employment hubs is just too tough at peak times. More people are having to live in the same amount of space. We have been working hard and listening hard to help come up with the right plans to allow people to live near to where they work and ensure transport options to get people out of their cars and onto cycles and public transport.”
These options will involve new development plans including a “superspeedway” for cyclists and improved cycleways to Cottenham, the Cambridge Research Park, and Horningsea.
The project certainly deserves to succeed based on the detail of scope of its vision of a lakeside community close enough to the city to be within easy reach and far enough from the pollution zones around the A14 and M11 to be able to appreciate the joys of the countryside on your doorstep.
Search “Current Projects” at waterbeachbarracks.com for more details.