Work will start this summer on the Wintringham Park development which will bring nearly 3,000 new homes to St Neots and create up to 2,000 new jobs.
Urban and Civic, a key partner in the project, has already agreed terms for the first housebuilder to begin construction and the first residents could move in by the end of 2019.
The scheme will also put tens of millions of pounds into the community through charges paid by the developers.
Huntingdonshire District Council’s development management committee gave outline permission for up to 2,800 homes, up to 63,500 sqm of employment space, a district centre with shops and services, two primary schools and recreation facilities at a meeting on Monday night.
Councillors also gave full planning permission for the new road layout, drainage and infrastructure of the site off the A428 and adjacent to the railway line.
Urban and Civic, which is behind the redevelopment of Alconbury airfield for housing and business, submitted the plans jointly with trusts associated with Nuffield College, Oxford, as part of the eastern expansion plans for the town.
Tim Leathes, development director for the Wintringham project, said: “We are committed to bringing forward Wintringham as a high quality place to live and work, and as an exciting gateway to the east of the dynamic town of St Neots.
“We will continue to work with the district and town council, and local residents and partners as we bring forward this application into detailed design and delivery, and we will work them to minimise the impacts and maximise the benefits this development can bring the wider area.”
Mr Leathes said: “At Urban and Civic, we care passionately about the quality and timely delivery of key facilities – such as schools and health centres – alongside much-needed homes, local jobs and quality green space for people and nature to enjoy.
“We will bring those aspects forward in each phase of development, and look forward to working with our neighbouring communities to ensure that local people can benefit from our early investment in facilities.”
Nigel Hugill, chief executive of Urban and Civic, said: “The application, including almost 3,000 new homes, was determined within 20 weeks. In 30 years of large scale development, I have never known a new strategic application being determined so expeditiously, which is testament to the work of the design and project team, and the constructive relationships we have built up with our statutory partners, the planning authorities and with local communities.”
Wintringham Park follows on from the existing Loves Farm development where there are plans to build about 1,000 more homes in a second phase of development.
St Neots Town Council has concerns about compliance with its neighbourhood plan, the speed limit on adjacent Potton Road and crossings on the A428, while Loves Farm resident Neil Cook said that while he agreed with the principle of development, he felt details should have been ironed out to avoid some of the issues at Loves Farm.
Councillor Peter Bucknell said that although the council wanted 40 per cent affordable housing, the offer of 25 per cent for the first 500 homes followed by a review was the best that could be achieved and was better than an earlier four per cent offer.
Mr Leathes said the employment element would create 1,500-2,000 jobs, adding: “We really think St Neots is a fantastic town and has the potential to improve.”
He accepted there were “challenges” with Potton Road.