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East Barnwell transformation ‘needs to be done properly’: Abbey People CEO





A consultation event took place last week as part of Cambridge City Council’s consultation programme to collect feedback from the public on proposals to regenerate the central area of Barnwell.

The three parcels of land around East Barnwell shops – the left hand parcel will have 60 new homes, the centre and right hand parcels will have 100 homes between them. Picture: Keith Heppell
The three parcels of land around East Barnwell shops – the left hand parcel will have 60 new homes, the centre and right hand parcels will have 100 homes between them. Picture: Keith Heppell

The event, in the car park area of the Christ the Redeemer church on Newmarket Road, saw council officers, architects and other involved parties engaging with the local community to explain the redevelopment plan, which will see 160 new homes built plus a new library, pre-school facilities, public open space, a community centre, and bowls club. There are also plans to introduce improved facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.

The event was very productive for East Barnwell residents and other stakeholders.

The centrepiece of the project is three parcels of land in the centre of East Barnwell which will be radically transformed as part of the development plan initiated by Cambridge Investment Partnership, the council’s housing development arm operated in conjunction with Hill.

One of the team at the explainer said that the left hand parcel in the photos will have 60 new homes on it, with 100 homes in the other two parcels.

The future of East Barnwell display at Christ The Redeemer Church. Picture: Keith Heppell
The future of East Barnwell display at Christ The Redeemer Church. Picture: Keith Heppell

It seems that 18 homes above East Barnwell shops will be demolished to make way for the new project. The council tenants involved will have the option of moving out and then returning to the area – bear in mind that 40 per cent of the 160 houses to be built will allegedly be affordable homes, the on-site Concilio team working with Cambridge Investment Partnership explained. An option to move to another area would also be on the table, with the tenants involved “moving to the highest possible banding for the move”.

Among those affected by the shops going is The Hub, which is run by Abbey People. Speaking to the Cambridge Independent, Abbey People CEO Nicky Shepard said: “We had a stakeholder briefing before the consultation process went live.

Nicky Shepard, Abbey People CEO, at The Hub. Above these shops are homes which will be demolished to make way for a new development project
Nicky Shepard, Abbey People CEO, at The Hub. Above these shops are homes which will be demolished to make way for a new development project

“For the building on the parcel of land where the shops are, my understanding is that they will phase the work for the businesses involved: they will work with existing leaseholders.

“We’re hoping for continuity; we currently run the centre on the site so we don’t yet know what the process is or when it will happen, but our aim is to continue to provide community facilities from the Abbey, hopefully from the new community centre.

“We’re in conversations with all sorts of different people about what happens next. Both the city and the county council need to approve the paperwork for the plan to get the go-ahead.”

The East Barnwell masterplan – how it looks across the whole area
The East Barnwell masterplan – how it looks across the whole area

The next stage of the process takes place today (September 8) when the plan will be considered by the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership Joint Assembly.

“If it goes ahead it will be transformational for the community,” concludes Nicky. “But the question is, will it be transformational in a good way? It’s a great opportunity for the community, but it does need to be done properly.”



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