Waterbeach Barracks development to be accelerated by £61million government loan
A government infrastructure loan will help begin the building of 6,500 homes as part of the development of Waterbeach Barracks.
The housing agency Homes England has agreed a £61million investment with developer Urban & Civic to accelerate and broaden delivery of the site.
It will fund key strategic infrastructure at Waterbeach, including roundabout improvement to create a main access route from the A10, road, drainage and utility works to open up the first phase of the development and community facilities.
The first phase of 1,600 homes is currently progressing through planning, and early landscaping, archaeology and remediation work is underway.
Housing Minister Christopher Pincher MP said: “Building the homes we need is central to the mission of this Government, which is why we have safely reopened the housing market.
“This £61 million investment from Homes England, the government’s housing accelerator, will deliver the building blocks of a community that people will be proud to call home, including a new primary school, health centre and community centre.”
The funding will see £40m spent on the enabling infrastructure, which as well as earthworks and landscaping will include cycleways and footpaths, utility connections, gateway access from the Cambridge Research Park roundabout and a new Park & Ride facility.
A further £20m will be used for early community facilities, including the first primary school, refurbished sports hall, preliminary library and health facilities, equipped play areas, green gym and open spaces with wider parkland and woodland setting, and water sports lakeside cafes and nature walks around the 23-acre lake.
Urban & Civic, the master developer for landowner the MOD for the 716-site, has secured outline planning permission for 6,500 homes and five schools, as well as commercial, retail, leisure and community facilities on the former barracks.
It will award the first £15 million worth of contracts to local businesses in the next six months.
Nigel Hugill, chief executive of Urban&Civic, said: “Waterbeach Barracks provides the most stunning lakeside location and is much the largest development in the country to be started since the onset of Covid 19.
“The project will have all the characteristics typically associated with Urban&Civic; great schools; generous, fabulous and accessible green spaces; imaginative play areas; and next generation broadband, with an enduring emphasis on local and community.
“Cycle and bus connections are built in from the outset.
“Funds generated from initial rentals and house sales will be reinvested to further accelerate delivery with the continuing involvement of local contractors and the housebuilder supply chain.
“Partnership funding from Homes England is fundamental to that investment model. We would not attempt the same pace and ambition without their long-term loan support.”
Work is already under way with local consultants and partners to take forward detailed design on a range of additional transport measures, landscaping and an inspiring primary school in a woodland setting.
The Homes England money comes from the Home Building Fund.
Neil Milligan, head of infrastructure finance at Homes England, said: “Our investment in large scale, long-term projects like Waterbeach demonstrates how our funding can help to accelerate the ambition of master developers like Urban & Civic in developing great places to live and work.
“Covid-19 has presented the industry with many challenges, and it’s great that despite these setbacks we can continue to secure agreements with our partners that build on our pipeline of investing in quality homes and communities and support the wider industry in its recovery.
“New housing remains a priority and whilst some work is temporarily paused, we continue to work to put the foundations in place for the new homes the country needs.”