A new partnership between Urban&Civic and two Nuffield charitable trusts will ensure not only the development of 2,800 residential properties in St Neots but also about “how healthcare will work in the 21st century”.
Property firm Urban&Civic has acquired a one third partnership stake in a 400-acre site at Wintringham Park, St Neots, Cambridgeshire, from the trusts, at a cost of £13.3m. The total land area is allocated but not yet consented for the development of up to 2,800 residential units, 63,500sq m of employment space, a district centre with ancillary uses and two primary schools. The trusts comprise the Nuffield Dominions Trust and the Nuffield Oxford Hospitals Fund which are dedicated to supporting medical research and teaching at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, and within the Medical Sciences Division of the university.
The land at St Neots has been in the ownership of one or both trusts since the 1940s and forms a major part of their bequest from the late Lord Nuffield. The trusts are able to draw upon significant expertise in health and innovation which will be incorporated within the broader contribution that a large well-planned development at Wintringham will make towards accelerated housing supply and improved well being.
“One of the things that Urban & Civic is very much looking to do is to bring out the existing strengths of an area,” said Urban&Civic’s communications, communities and partnerships spokesperson Rebecca Britton from the firm’s Alconbury office. “St Neots is interesting in that it has got the commuter part of the town but it also has its challenging aspects.
“With Nuffield trusts there are of course hospitals and charitable initiatives involved and with this partnership one of the things we want to do is draw their expertise in and there’s so many ways to ensure this development is more than a housing estate, so it’s about how healthcare will work in the 21st century, especially in the areas of medicine and new healthcare delivery which includes telemedicine systems.
“It’s something we always try and do but Nuffield are enthusiastic about creating an exciting and aspirational development. The trusts do link across these areas and we’re looking to max that on the ground as it were.”
Urban&Civic has been appointed Master Developer and will take forward the delivery of the site as a whole, together with the sale of fully serviced land parcels adopting its now proven model. Current new house prices in the local area are around £285 per sq ft. Work is expected to start in early 2018.
The Wintringham Park project represents the third major holding for Urban&Civic with ready access to Cambridge, after Alconbury and Waterbeach. Express buses to Cambridge run every 30 minutes and there are 104 weekday trains to and from King’s Cross and St Neots, with the fastest journey time now 35 minutes.
Nigel Hugill, chief executive of Urban&Civic, said: “The real thrill for us is in the prospect of taking our Master Developer model and deploying the Nuffield experience of creating healthier lifestyles to show just what well planned new large scale projects can achieve. We are aiming for accelerated housing delivery in which improved well being is made a priority from the outset.”
Sir Andrew Dilnot, Warden of Nuffield College, Oxford and Chair of the Nuffield Dominions Trust added: “The trusts are committed to furthering medical research and teaching. We have owned the site for 75 years and high quality development in the context of all that the Nuffield name stands for remains our absolute priority. We are determined that our partnership with Urban&Civic will provide an appropriate financial and environmental legacy.”