Design details of a recreation space which will be a focal point for a major new housing development at St Neots have been approved, even though the plan does not include a proposed “marker” building.
The triangular area of land, bordering Cambridge Road, is part of the Western Gateway to Wintringham Park which will bring nearly 3,000 homes to the site east of the town.
Huntingdonshire District Council planners have now given the go-ahead to the final designs for the scheme by Wintringham Partners which had earlier been approved in principle.
The area includes a large area of water - developed from a drainage pond - public open space, with a platform, landscaping, cycleways and infrastructure.
Planners concluded that despite the proposal deviating from the design code for the site because it did not contain a distinctive “marker” building, the change was justified.
They said that although a large body of water adjacent to the Western Gateway was not the focal building envisaged, it was a “striking landmark” which still offered a feature to the entrance to Wintringham Park.
“Whilst not a marker building, the pond has been designed to be an attractive area for recreation purposes as well as a SuDS (sustainable drainage system) feature,” the planners said.
Their approval notification said: “The larger water feature forms a striking landmark at the centre of the Western Gateway so itself acts as a key marker and allows for wider vistas to the first primary school which is to the south east and currently under construction. A marker building will still be provided just beyond the Three Fishes Pond and provides a distinctive backdrop to the Western Gateway.”
The plan, which has been backed by St Neots Town Council, was also said to provide good pedestrian and cycle links through the site.
In addition to up to 2,800 homes, Wintringham Park is set to include 63,500 sqm of employment floorspace, district and local centres with retail, commercial, leisure, health and community uses, new primary school provision, and open spaces.
The community hub for the area envisages retail, a cafe, office space possibly including an incubator unit for start-ups, a pub/restaurant, hotel, healthcare centre and a gym.
The developer’s application said: “It is likely that the proposed hotel will be developed as a marker building at the western gateway to Wintringham, viewed across Three Fishes Pond, which will provide an attractive landscaped setting for the new building.”