Planning application submitted by RLW Estates for up to 4,500 homes at Waterbeach, to the north of Cambridge

June 8, 2018

In a UK first, Waterbeach New Town East will be designed to place people at the heart of the community instead of the car through the innovative ‘Sociable Streets’ concept

RLW Estates has submitted an outline planning application to South Cambridgeshire District Council that seeks permission for the development of up to 4,500 new homes at Waterbeach New Town East 5 miles north of Cambridge.
Waterbeach New Town is located immediately to the north of the existing village of Waterbeach and is allocated for development in the draft South Cambridgeshire Local Plan. The New Town East application covers the land that is east of the former Waterbeach Barracks and west of the Fen Line Railway.

The application submitted proposes a comprehensive development including 4,500 new homes, extensive employment and retail space, two primary schools, a secondary school, a sixth form centre and community facilities.

RLW Estates is a joint venture company specifically established to promote and deliver a new town at Waterbeach. It brings together a local landowning Trust; St John’s College, Cambridge; The Royal London Mutual Assurance Company, and; Cambridge-based developer Turnstone Estates.

A separate application was submitted to South Cambridgeshire District Council in February that proposes relocating the existing Station at Waterbeach to the New Town. Alongside the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Greenways cycling initiative to bring a first-class cycle link between Waterbeach and Cambridge (which RLW will part fund) these together will ensure the highest quality cycle and public transport links to Cambridge, giving people sustainable alternatives to travelling to Cambridge along the A10.

The Outline Application and the station application form an important part of the comprehensive delivery of Waterbeach New Town to meet the housing needs of the Cambridge area.

Chris Goldsmith, of RLW Estates, said:
“Our Vision for Waterbeach New Town is a community that supports the growth of Cambridgeshire through the creation of beautiful and diverse new living and working environments.

“Taking its design inspiration from the Fen Edge location, it will be of the highest quality and energy efficiency, providing a mix of affordable home in a sustainable new community that is well connected via public transport and cycle infrastructure to employment areas in central and north eastern Cambridge”.
In what will be a first for the UK, Waterbeach New Town East is going to be designed on the basis of Sociable Streets; a re-imagining of what residential streets can be and what they can offer to people that will live on them.

The Sociable Streets concept will see a move away from prioritising the needs of cars in spaces around people’s homes. RLW Estates’ vision is that streets and spaces will be designed in a variety of ways but that cars will be placed at the edge of communities that contain 160-400 homes. This will allow the space in between homes to become places for activity, play, recreation and nature, ensuring people define what their communities become, not what the car dictates.

Chris Goldsmith continued:
‘Planning for a New Town of this scale offers us the opportunity to achieve something truly remarkable, forward looking and ensures that people are placed first, not the car.

‘Outdoor spaces should be for children to play in, enable active travel and allow nature to flourish. By placing the car at the edge of housing locations we will create the first New Town in the UK that truly puts people first and ensure that their local area is designed for them, not their vehicles.’
LDA Design are advising on the masterplan, Boyer are planning consultants, Mott McDonald are advising on drainage and WSP are transport consultants.

LDA Design Board Director Bernie Foulkes, who led the masterplan, commented: “Our vision for Waterbeach is to create a place that makes connected living easy, which draws on the powerful and compelling landscape and patterns of the fens to foster a strong sense of community based around a series of small neighbourhood steads. Life here will be closely tied to nature, with new parks, shared spaces and naturalistic planting. It will be a place to work as well as to live – enterprising, lively and self-sustaining. I don’t think there’s anything like it in the UK that comes close to having such spirit or vision on this scale.”

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