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Planning permission agreed for 4,000 more homes and facilities at Northstowe

Plans for 4,000 new homes, two primary schools, green spaces, sports pitches, shops and employment areas were approved by South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Planning Committee on Friday (28 January).

Councillors on the Committee voted to give the planning application by Homes England outline planning permission, setting out the vision for how the land will be developed. A series of detailed planning applications will follow, to agree the details on what homes and facilities look like. This will happen after a legal agreement securing the new affordable homes and facilities has been completed and the formal planning decision notice issued.

The Northstowe 3A application that was agreed includes 1,600 new affordable homes in a mixture of affordable rent, shared ownership, discounted market sale and rent to buy. This will help a wide range of people get on the housing ladder or rent at lower than market rates.

The town, once complete, will be one of the largest new towns built since the 1960s and have in the region of 10,000 homes. Currently around 980 newly built homes at the town are already lived in.

The phase 3A application includes a local centre which will be a focal point for the community. The centre will include a park and space for shops and cafes. The site is largely bounded to the north by Northstowe Phase 2; to the east by the Guided Busway; to the south by the village of Oakington, and to the west by arable farmland.

The officer’s report that was considered by councillors said that the design and layout of the homes and facilities was influenced by comments made during public consultation. Particular concerns around drainage and transport were discussed by Councillors, who took nearly six hours debating the details before reaching their decision. The plans were subject to robust assessment following feedback from the Environment Agency, Lead Local Flood Authority and the County Council’s Transport Team.

Cllr Dr. Tumi Hawkins, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Planning Policy and Delivery, said: “Our Planning Committee carefully considered this application over the course of a whole day. There were clearly many factors to balance. Supporting this application will see this new town growing to meet the needs and aspirations of the community. Delivering 40% affordable homes with a good mix of the types on offer is really important to make sure everyone has a chance to find a place to call home. Northstowe is already shaping up to be a green and healthy place to live and it was great to hear that Homes England really used the feedback from the community to shape these plans. And, of course, further consultation will be carried out as the detailed planning applications are submitted.”

A planning application for phase 3B of Northstowe was also due to be discussed at the Planning Committee on Friday. However, as the Committee needed the whole day to discuss the phase 3A application, the 3B application was deferred to be discussed at a later date.  The phase 3B application includes 1,000 homes, along with a primary school, an area with retail, services, community, leisure, employment and some homes, along with open space and landscaped areas.