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£2m bid for government cash to bring more shops, restaurants and affordable homes to Cambourne High Street

By Paul Brackley

The area of High Street, Cambourne, that is earmarked for development
The area of High Street, Cambourne, that is earmarked for development

South Cambridgeshire District Council has applied for funding

Up to 8,000 square feet of retail space could be created
Up to 8,000 square feet of retail space could be created

A bid for £2million of Government funding has been made to help develop the High Street in Cambourne and deliver new affordable homes.

South Cambridgeshire District Council lodged the bid today (Thursday 28 September) with the Department for Communities and Local Government, which has a funding pot designed to get stalled developments moving.

Council planners approved plans at the end of 2012 for about 8,000 square feet of retail space in the High Street on empty land between The Cambridge Building Society branch and the library/Monkfield Medical Practice and on the grass behind the Monkfield Arms pub on the other side of the road.

But the project proved unviable for developers due to the high costs of widening the road and dealing with the relocation of a complex network of electricity cables, sewers and key broadband links.

If approved, Government cash would help to deliver new shops, retail units and restaurants, along with 120 flats and homes.

Cllr Simon Edwards, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for finance, said: “We want our communities to be thriving places where people want to live, work and go to school. At the moment this scheme is not viable for developers due to the very high costs of the work on the High Street.

“Despite planning permission being issued for the retail space back in 2012 the plans have not got off the ground. This bid would both unlock new homes and give Cambourne an even more vibrant centre through a wider variety of shops and restaurants.

“Delivering a mix of housing to meet the range of needs people have locally is really important to us, including affordable homes.”

The investment to widen the High Street would allow delivery vehicles to access the proposed retail units and help provide an improved bus route through the centre of Cambourne.

The council made the bid to the Marginal Viability Funding Pot, which will be assessed by the Department for Communities and Local Government by the end of November.

Councils will find out if they were successful between December and February. The funding pot allows bids up to £10million for a single scheme.

Cllr Ruth Betson, South Cambridgeshire district councillor for Cambourne, said: “When I talk to people in the villages of Cambourne there is a great demand for more choice in local shops and restaurants. This bid is key to delivering this for Cambourne and creating more of a community and hub at its heart.”

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and South Cambridgeshire Tory MP Heidi Allen have both written to the council to support the bid.

It comes after Just For Pets, which has a store off Back Lane in Cambourne, announced it was going into administration.

The chain, which has 25 stores, including another in Barnwell Road, Cambridge, said changing customer habits, competition and greater cost pressures meant it was operating at a loss.


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