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24 June, 2022 - 16:55 By Tony Quested

Labs, offices, homes and 4,300 jobs in new Cambridge North scheme

The Chesterton Partnership has submitted plans for the next phase of a mixed-use scheme on the former railway sidings land next to Cambridge North Railway Station. 

The next phase will support 4,300 additional jobs with labs, offices, amenity uses and 425 new homes as well as new public realm and green spaces to create a new and vibrant place accessible to all.

Designed by award-winning architecture practices Acme and Make, the Cambridge North scheme will bring up to 53,700 sq m of new commercial space to the north of Cambridge, including 5,353 sq m of flexible ground floor space that can host a variety of uses such as cafes, shops, bars, a creche, health uses, co-working and community spaces.

The plans have been submitted to South Cambridgeshire District Council for approval following several years of conversations, workshops and consultations with stakeholders, community groups and the local authorities. 

In response to the council’s vision to create great places with wellbeing and social inclusion at their heart, the plans provide extensive green spaces, material improvements to biodiversity and respond to the climate change challenge with energy efficient buildings and by encouraging the shift to more sustainable means of transport.

New public spaces, such as Chesterton Gardens at the heart of the residential quarter, will create a neighbourhood courtyard including children’s play equipment, seating and extensive planting encouraging everyone to use the space. 

A new civic space Chesterton Square will provide an active public space and supporting amenities for people to enjoy.

A ‘wild park’ of planting, with a pond habitat, will be available for to visitors as well as those that live and work at Cambridge North. The proposals will see a significant 86 per cent net gain in biodiversity across the site and will involve planting in excess of 350 new trees and providing landscape areas on building roofs.

The laboratory, office and other workspaces will respond to a lack of good quality supply for such employment space. It is estimated that 4,300 net additional jobs will be created once the scheme is fully operational and that an additional 2,020 construction roles will be required over a planned five-year construction period.

The planned homes respond to significant local needs and will provide a mixture of tenures, including 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom homes for sale, shared ownership or affordable rent: 40 per cent of the 155 homes for private sale will be designated as affordable housing. 

Cycle routes through the site will be expanded with a new route along Station Row and plans include parking provision for 2,500 cycle spaces.

Sven Topel, CEO at Brookgate which is a key member of The Chesterton Partnership and development company for Cambridge North, said: “The next phase of the regeneration of the derelict land surrounding the new Cambridge North railway station will create a new community that will be enjoyed by those that live and work there but also by its neighbours and those that visit.

“The plans respond to a local need for high quality homes and workplaces and will provide a variety of leisure and community facilities and public open spaces to reinvigorate a neglected area. 

“This development will create a sustainable, bio-diverse and inclusive community that responds to climate change and environmental challenges.”

Once complete, the new neighbourhood will enhance economic, social and environmental wellbeing for those that live and work at Cambridge North and the local and regional neighbourhood. 

A new report, created in collaboration with social enterprise, The Social Value Portal, outlines the commitments that will be made by The Chesterton Partnership throughout the design, procurement, construction, estate management and operation of Cambridge North. 

This ensures it improves local opportunities, life chances and wellbeing, with support for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, including the long-term unemployed, rehabilitating offenders and those who have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The proposals include highly-sustainable and energy efficient buildings utilising on-site renewable energy and providing a route to Net Zero Carbon. Each commercial building will target an Energy Performance Certificate A and BREEAM Outstanding ratings. 

Cambridge North is located two and a half miles from Cambridge city centre, with excellent public transport links into the city and surrounding areas. The plans to transform the area are already underway.

A 217-bed Novotel opened in May 2021 creating over 60 full-time jobs and an office building, One Cambridge Square, with retail space at ground floor is under construction and due to open in 2023. 

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