Housing Specification Blog

Northstowe, Cambridgeshire’s New ‘Eco-Town’?

July 26, 2012 Alexandra Blakeman Housing Design

A vision of Northstowe. Click on image for original source.

Northstowe, a proposed new town in Cambridgeshire, has won planning approval. Five miles north-west of Cambridge, Northstowe will provide around 10,000 new homes and many other lifestyle facilities.

The town, which will eventually be home to 25,000 people, is due to be built on a golf course, farmland and the former RAF Oakington Barracks site.

South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council accepted the Development Framework Document (DFD) for Northstowe which provides an endorsed masterplan for the entire town, allowing planning applications to be submitted.

A decision on the phase one application is expected in the autumn.
“This is an historic point in the evolution of the project,” said Gallagher Estates’ executive director Alan Joyner. “The endorsement of the DFD will cement the strategic role of Northstowe in the region.”

The previous Labour government had plans to develop Northstowe as a new ‘eco town’. The scheme was abandoned due to lack of funds, but earlier this year local Conservatives decided that the development of the town was crucial to the economic survival of the surrounding area.

Now that plans are back in action, sustainable and eco friendly housing is still a priority on the development list.  Northstowe will provide a mixture of luxury, executive housing and low cost private and social housing.

Milton Keynes was the last purpose built town in the UK. Bringing together three small towns and fifteen villages in Buckinghamshire, today Milton Keynes is home to 250,000 people. In an effort to regenerate areas north of London that were badly affected by the War, Milton Keynes was officially recognised as a new town in 1967.

As with any newly planned development, Northstowe has caused some media grumblings. Sceptics are saying that the ‘eco town’ label is merely a way to get around traditional planning laws. Should this come into consideration in a time when demand for housing severely outweighs supply?

Cllr Tim Wotherspoon, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for Northstowe, said: “There is a huge demand for new homes in South Cambridgeshire, including properties that are affordable, to support the growth in new jobs.

“However, we must make sure that we build a community at Northstowe that is right for existing and new residents.”

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