Developer launches bid for hundreds of new homes on airfield site

An artist's impression of how the new development could look. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

An artist's impression of how the new development could look. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of new homes could be built on the former airfield at RAF Wyton - two years after proposals to redevelop the site were dropped over transport concerns.

Now Engie Services Ltd has submitted full plans to create a "garden village" on part of the site involving 595 homes, 1,668 square metres of employment space, a neighbourhood centre with shops and services, a community hub including health facilities, recreation space and new access points on to the A141.

Nearly half the new homes at the development, known as Wyton Hill Gardens, would be affordable and 193 would be retirement accommodation.

At the same time, Engie has made an outline application for up to 105 homes, 30 custom-built properties, 57 homes for retired people, extra-care accommodation featuring 150 homes, and 68 care beds.

This phase of the development would also include 3,954 square metres of employment space, a pub, play facilities and infrastructure.

Military flying at the airfield dates back to the First World War and some of the first raids of the Second World War were launched from the base which became a key part of the Pathfinder Force which marked enemy targets for bombers. It was declared surplus to requirements in 2012.

Plans were hatched to build 4,500 homes on the airfield which would have helped Huntingdonshire District Council meet is target of identifying 20,000 sites for new houses.

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But in 2017 the council had to drop the airfield from its housing allocation because the cost of providing the road infrastructure, including a link to the A14, was considered not to be viable. Support remained for the airfield to be used for housing.

Engie believes that aiming accommodation at older residents could help to offset the impact of the development on local roads.

Its planning application to the district council said: "Engie's proposal contains a range of preventative and mitigation measures to reduce the impacts of the development on the local transport network.

"Designed to reduce transport impact we will reduce vehicle trips at peak times in comparison to standard developments."

It said over 55s housing generated only 26 per cent of peak traffic compared with other developments, family housing was close to major employers, the neighbourhood centre and business and technology park were accessible through green mobility schemes, there were better connections to public transport and there would be a dual carriageway between the roundabout at the A141/B1090 junction and Wyton Hill Gardens' main access, along with other highway improvements.

Engie said its vision was to develop a low carbon, smart, sustainable garden village.

The firm said the number of employees at the remaining part of RAF Wyton was set to grow by around 800 by 2023, many of whom would need accommodation, and it anticipated there would be demand for business space from firms associated with the base.

It estimated that nearly 600 full-time equivalent jobs could be created over the two elements of the scheme.

At present the site is used for vehicle storage.