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Chancellor announces share of £717m for new Cambridge north east fringe development


By Josh Thomas, Local Democracy Reporter


Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced that Cambridge will receive a share of £717million to deliver a new north east fringe development.

Chancellor Philip Hammond. (7769763)
Chancellor Philip Hammond. (7769763)

The money, announced in the Chancellor's Spring Statement today (Wednesday, March 13), has been set aside from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to unlock up to 37,000 new homes on sites in west London, Cheshire, Didcot, and Cambridge.

Cambridge had asked for £193million from the fund to help move the Anglian Water water treatment centre, off Cowley Road, to make space for a new north east fringe development.

The Cambridge Northern Fringe East (CNFE) project would see land near Cambridge North station developed with homes, business and community spaces.

Early estimates say the new quarter could provide more than 5,000 residential units, and create about 7,000 jobs, with significant retail and amenity, and community space, and around 20 acres of open space.

Landowners say the new neighbourhood has the potential to be a “live, work, learn and play community”. The success of the project hinges on moving the water treatment centre that currently occupies the site.

A map of the proposed Cambridge Northern Fringe East development (7769834)
A map of the proposed Cambridge Northern Fringe East development (7769834)

Cllr Lewis Herbert, leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “Great news that government has confirmed funding to help create a new community in north east Cambridge. Major supply of affordable as well as market housing over a decade. Real work begins now – based on great partnership working under way.”

Cllr Herbert said the council is still waiting for confirmation of the exact sum being provided, and what proportion of the requested amount that adds up to. If the funds have been secured in full, the relocation of the water plant and the building of houses could be under way by 2024.

Mayor James Palmer said: “The development of the Cambridge northern fringe east site has been an important priority in the Combined Authority’s mission to increase housing delivery and foster economic growth.

“I’m delighted the Chancellor in his Spring Statement was able announce his support for the scheme. It is testament to the ability of the Combined Authority to secure funding of this scale, and testament to the work of all the partners involved in putting together a compelling scheme which has attracted this government investment.

“This has the potential to deliver around 8,000 homes, including affordable housing, and around 7,000 new jobs. It is a brownfield site, in a well-connected area, supported by Cambridge North station, and close to centres of employment like Cambridge Science Park.

“I think we can also be encouraged by the fact the Chancellor in his statement expressly mentioned the importance of investment in the Cambridge to Oxford Arc. This Housing Infrastructure Fund award was announced very much in the context of this. It also comes on the day when the Chancellor announced a joint declaration between the government and local partners, including the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, to work together to fully realise the potential of this area.

“And while this funding is a hugely significant step forward for Cambridge northern fringe east, there is now much work to be done in ensuring the delivery of a much-needed new, exciting, thriving, low-cost and sustainable community in which people can live.”

A planning consultation on the proposed new district is under way, with Cambridge City Council calling for people’s views on the Area Action Plan and planning priorities for the area. The consultation runs until March 25.



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