Next phase of development set to be unveiled

An artist's impression of how the new Alconbury Weald development could shape up. Picture: CONTRIBUT

An artist's impression of how the new Alconbury Weald development could shape up. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Plans for a future country park and 1,500 extra homes at Alconbury Weald are expected to be unveiled in a matter of weeks.

But a bid to create an education and sports campus on the site has been dropped, together with a scheme to move the Huntingdon campus of Cambridge Regional College, the former Huntingdonshire Regional College, to the massive redevelopment site on what was RAF Alconbury airfield and the adjacent Grange Farm.

Urban and Civic, which is behind the redevelopment scheme, has launched a process to update its plans as a result of changing conditions in the area since approval was given in 2012.

The scheme included the construction of 5,000 homes, business space to create an estimated 8,000 new jobs, together with schools and leisure facilities.

Tim Leathes, development director at Urban and Civic, said the technical planning process, called section 73, enabled them to tidy up aspects of the original plans which needed changing, together with key planning applications which would be made in the next few weeks.

He said: "The recent consultations have enabled us to test and refine approaches which will see the delivery of the country park, and alongside that put in an application for the next 1,500 homes at Alconbury Weald and this will form our second key phase.

"Given the scale of investment coming forward in infrastructure across Grange Farm, and the country park, it seems logical that reworking the plans for Grange Farm and enabling this to include additional numbers on the development as set out in the local plan, enables us to maintain our commitments of bringing forward homes with infrastructure, green space and facilities hand in hand."

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Mr Leathes said: "With additional homes, on top of the 5,000 consented, it is important that we ensure scope to expand all of the core facilities and amenities at Alconbury Weald like retail, sports and community space, as well as schools and health centre. The section 73 agreement enables us to agree that with the local authorities as part of the wider planning discussions on the new applications, so that everything is updated, joined up and effective."

He added: "We'll be able to talk more about the future plans for the country park and Grange Farm in the next few weeks when we submit planning applications for them, but in the meantime it is important that all of the correct planning and legal frameworks are progressed in the right way and to be true to our commitment that homes only come forward with the right transport, facilities and green space alongside them."

A statement from Urban and Civic said: "Among the changes to the outline application are the removal of an area set aside for a post 16 education and sports campus to the southern end of the site, which is no longer required.

"The land was originally part of a potential move by partners to create a shared sixth form and expanded regional college offering for the area. Ultimately this requirement fell away, as each of the local schools have retained their sixth forms and Huntingdonshire Regional College - which is now the Huntingdon campus of Cambridge Regional College - received investment to refurbish its building on the current location.

"At the same time £10million funding was secured to bring forward a complimentary high level skills centre as part of the Enterprise Zone at Alconbury Weald - iMET - which was best located in the heart of the businesses on site."

The statement said: "Changes to the education policy has also established that the secondary school at Alconbury Weald will have a sixth form of its own, and be part of a campus with a special educational needs provision, with the Diocese of Ely Multi Academy Trust and Spring Common Academy Trust respectively lined up to run these schools as part of a co-located campus.

"Alongside these developments, the route of the southern gateway access - which had options in the original plans - has now been refined with a series of applications progressing with Cambridgeshire County Council to deliver the development's connection to the A141 by road, bus and cycle links."