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Developers U+I and TOWN named masterplanners for North East Cambridge development

Developers U+I and TOWN have been named the masterplanners for the proposed 5,000-home mixed-use development at North East Cambridge.

Swedish practice Kjellander Sjöberg Architects have been chosen to lead the architectural work, working alongside other practices.

Aerial view of North East Cambridge core site
Aerial view of North East Cambridge core site

These include Stirling Prize winners Haworth Tompkins and Alison Brooks Architects, along with Feilden Fowles, Nooma Studio, Bell Phillips and 5th Studio Architects.

The development will be built on a 48-hectare Cambridge waste water treatment plant — known as the core site — which is owned by Anglian Water and Cambridge City Council.

The scheme’s amenities and facilities will include schools, shops, workplaces and parks which the developers promise will be located within easy walking distance, based around the principle of the five-minute neighbourhood.

Martyn Evans, creative director of U+I, said: “As one of the last and largest brownfield sites in Cambridge, core site is a genuine opportunity to deliver an entire new neighbourhood on the edge of — but firmly rooted in — Cambridge, designed through extensive consultation with its people.

“The team has been appointed for its broad and deep expertise, including international practices with experience from exemplar projects across the globe, and local firms with invaluable knowledge of the city.

“We’re looking forward to this collaboration producing a world-class scheme which will become a blueprint for the delivery of new urban districts across the UK.”

Stefan Sjöberg, founding director of Kjellander Sjöberg Architects, added: “The core site is a real opportunity to engage with Cambridge; to envision an amazing place that is inclusive, sustainable, and anchored into its unique heritage and local character with connections to the adjacent Fen landscape. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to shape an inspiring example of future neighbourhoods based on the principles of the five-minute city — where everything is near, and walking and biking are the priority.”

The core site is U+I’s first move into Cambridge, having carried out other major regeneration schemes, including Mayfield in Manchester. TOWN, however, has already worked in Cambridge as the enabling developer behind the award-winning Marmalade Lane scheme, the city’s first co-housing community.

Jonny Anstead, director of TOWN, said: “We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Kjellander Sjöberg Architects as masterplanners for the core site. Their innovative approach to sustainable urban development aligns perfectly with TOWN and U+I’s shared vision for a new quarter that will be designed and delivered in collaboration with local people, organisations, and a range of partners.

“With the insight and expertise of Kjellander Sjöberg Architects, the core site will be a community-orientated, vibrant and dynamic place that will improve people’s quality of life and enable more sustainable ways of living.”

The planned new district of North East Cambridge will deliver approximately 8,000 homes, with new workspaces and community facilities. The site is currently home to the Cambridge Waste Water Treatment Plant, in addition to an adjacent golf driving range, depot and commercial buildings.

The controversial relocation of the sewage works is planned to enable the land the existing plant sits on to be redeveloped into new homes, as part of the North East Cambridge project.

Team announced to design new urban quarter in Cambridge
Team announced to design new urban quarter in Cambridge

In February, Anglia Water submitted a Development Consent Order (DCO) application to ask for permission to build a new sewage works on land known as Honey Hill, to replace the existing works.

But in a subsequent letter to the Planning Inspectorate, it said it wanted to withdraw the application in order to “provide the further information requested in support of the DCO application”.

The company added that it plans to resubmit its application “shortly”.

In March 2019, £277million of funding was allocated to Anglian Water and Cambridge City Council from the government’s Housing Infrastructure Funding to pay for the relocation project.

Anglian Water has previously said that the new facility would provide “vital services for the community and environment”, and that the new plant would operate at net zero carbon, and provide a long-term solution to dealing with waste water from a growing population.

The proposals have been met with a backlash from many living near to the proposed new site of the plant, who say the move is unnecessary and will ruin Honey Hill.

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