All the latest news from the April Community Forum

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 - 12:45

Another excellent turnout as nearly 70 people gathered in the community wing of the Pathfinder School to hear news and updates from the Northstowe partners.

 

For those who missed it, here’s a quick summary of what was covered during the evening:

Phase 1 Work Programme – Gallagher contractors will complete remaining earthworks at the Hatton’s Rd ponds by end June and finish up bulk earthworks on the western end of the Phase 1 site and final ‘snagging’ on the roads around the school by end May.

Bloor Homes - Sales are off to a flying start with 26 properties sold off plan so far. 44 out the 92 homes are now under construction. First occupations will take place over the next few weeks. The show home and full marketing suite launches to the public on 13 May with a preview and welcome event to mark the first residents arriving taking place on 11 May.

Phase 1 Play area design – Landscape architects Randall Thorp, who have been involved with some of the innovative play areas at Cambourne, have been engaged by Gallagher to look at the design of the 5 play areas to be provided across Phase 1. They would like the local community to get actively involved as part of the public consultation process to form a group of ‘Play area trustees’ to help guide and shape the final designs selected. If you are interested, email northstowe.community@scambs.gov.uk . Dick Longdin of Randall Thorp explained how the traditional concepts of play area design could be challenged and brought back to basic questions of how and where children like to play. Take a look at how the play areas might look using the 10 principles for great play spaces outlined by Dick in his presentation below.

Planning -  Principal Planner James Stone from SCDC gave a status update on current and forthcoming applications. The draft Maintenance and Management Strategy for Phase 1 open spaces is under negotiation with Gallagher Estates. Submission expected shortly. Taylor Wimpey, Bovis and Linden Homes will all start on site on their first parcels by end May and compounds are currently being erected in preparation. Pre-application discussions continue with the housebuilders on their subsequent Phase 1 parcels. By agreeing points up front, it is hoped lead times through to approval will be shortened. Planning permission for Phase 2 (3500 homes) was granted at the beginning of the year. HCA have been busy working on the Design Code which sets out the guiding principles for the look, feel and movement across the development. This will be submitted in the next couple of months following examination by a Quality Panel (group of professional urban designers and experts) and local public consultation this month. Progress is quickening across the board as initial discussions with HCA on Phase 3 (a further 5000 homes) are set to commence in the summer.

Phase 2 Draft Design Code – Katja Stille from Tibbalds, the Planning and Urban Design consultants leading on the Phase 2 Design Code, presented some of the feedback (nearly 240 comments) received following the initial public consultations last May/June that have been fed into the draft Design Code which is now open for comment. Although a large document at 116 pages, it needs to cover a wide breadth of elements as it will serve as a technical guide for what will be such a substantial development to be built over a long timeframe. It needs to retain flexibility in some areas whilst providing strong consistency in others (see Katja’s presentation below for details of what is included or have your say on the draft Code available for comment here until May 10).

Healthy Living and Youth and Play Strategy – Katja also presented the work that has commenced on how youth and play can be provided at Northstowe and the healthy living measures that can be implemented to encourage all future residents, whatever their age, to lead active, healthy lifestyles. Landscape architects Chris Blanford Associates will lead this work. Local community consultation will take place during May and June including a community workshop. Contact us if you would like to get involved.

Affordable Housing – Director of Housing for South Cambridgeshire, Stephen Hills outlined the provision across the Phase 1 & 2. There will be 300 affordable homes on Phase 1 (equating to 20%). For Phase 2 it was agreed with HCA at the beginning of the year to provide 50% affordable housing (previously only 20%) made up of 10% affordable rent (max 80% market rent values), 20% starter homes and 20% starter homes or ‘other affordable housing option’ to allow for a review mechanism to be built in. Starter Homes were introduced in the Housing Planning Act 2016 but regulations governing these are still awaited. The recent Housing white paper took a refreshed look at Starter Homes. This may introduce an income ceiling along with the current age range for eligibility set at 23-40 plus a potential longer tie in period for buyers. The white paper has also widened the debate covering Rent to Buy homes. The council will be guided by government policy once adopted. With over 2000 affordable homes already planned for Northstowe, attention will be given to ensure these are pepper potted across the site and designed with place making in mind.

BPHA are responsible for delivering the 300 affordable homes for Phase 1. Sarah Ireland, Director of Development, explained how BPHA have been involved at other Cambridgeshire sites including the Southern fringe and NIAB as part of the Cambridge Challenge since 2008. All homes are being built to Level 4 Code for sustainable homes standard equivalents. Across the 12 housebuilder parcels on Phase 1, there will be 180 affordable rent and 120 available for shared ownership. All rented homes are let at the Local Housing Allowance rate. BPHA have over 2500 applicants on their shared ownership register and 1700 approved applicants for Help to Buy. BPHA are also committed to building strong communities at all sites by providing a dedicated Community Development Worker to support residents however possible.

Healthy New Town programme – NHS England have provided continued funding for the next 2 years to look at how best to provide healthcare for Northstowe residents and new facilities for the town centre in Phase 2. An activity plan has been drawn up to ensure the Healthy New Town principals are applied to all aspects of the development. Work has also been commissioned to look at older people’s accommodation and care needs, population growth and capacity planning for health and social care needs and the Healthy Living and Youth and Play Strategy.

Community update - Anita Howard from County Council updated on the plans for the Community Wing at the school. The micro self service library is in place and will be available soon. The local healthcare team will be relocating there to use as a touchdown centre. Furniture for the community space has been ordered and we are looking to the community to bring it life over the coming months. If you would like to use the space for any activities email northstowe.community@scambs.gov.uk . The residents Community Information packs have been prepared including a history leaflet and running and walking routes developed by local residents. It will be hand delivered to the new residents by myself and a representative from the Northstowe Community Working Group. We are also busy looking to start a pop up café and home working hub. Please contact us if you would like to volunteer to help or have any ideas for community projects and activities. Any queries please contact the community development team at northstowe.community@scambs.gov.uk.

Nutan Patel - Northstowe Projet Officer - South Cambridgeshire District Council

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