There were approx. 80 people at the forum, it was great to see so many new residents and look forward to welcoming more as Northstowe grows.
Stephanie Redgate, Head teacher at the Pathfinder School updated the forum on how the school was growing. Having opened in September 2017 with 11 children from reception to year 6, there were now 23 children and pupil numbers are growing steadily, as are teachers with an advert for a new teacher to be publicised shortly.
The school has a strong community ethos and Stephanie was keen to point out that they are building resilient, optimistic children to help them face the realities of life today. The Bishop of Ely will officially open the school at a ceremony this summer to which the community will be invited, but in the interim, if anyone would like to see the school then please contact the school office for a visit anytime.
Stuart Field from Gallagher Estates was able to share that all five housebuilders are on site and building new homes. There are now over 50 properties occupied with new homes being occupied every week. The timetable was not confirmed but he hoped work would start on the local centre square in the summer, sports pitches would be seeded in the autumn before an 18 month growth period and the play areas started later this year, subject to these being approved by the District Council.
Stratos Constantinou from Gallagher Estates was also in attendance to hear local concerns about the kingfisher pond. Stratos has been monitoring the bore holes and said there has been a slight improvement to water levels over the past few weeks, but he believed a long period of sustained rainfall was still required to see if this would help the water levels return to normal. He is looking at draining the sports pitches, and grey water from the pavilion and car park (through a filter) into the kingfisher pond to help it replenish after rainfall.
It was noted that the pond had been historically known as the kingfisher pond, but no kingfishers had been spotted there since 2007/8. Other nesting sites have been made off site at the Hatton Road Ponds to encourage re-establishment and it is hoped that one day they will return.
Mike Goulding of Homes England (formally the Homes and Communities Agency) spoke about their plans for phase two. He was pleased to announce the infrastructure contract had been awarded to Sisk who would be starting on site imminently. The Planning application for the Homes England office had been submitted based on the plans presented at the last forum and they hoped, subject to planning permission being granted, that the office would be built later this year.
Jim Comberton from Sisk outlined the programme of infrastructure works on Phase Two. He said that work to protect the vast array of ecology would start shortly with the waterpark being the first major earthworks. There would be a need to take a few lorries through Longstanton at first in order to get welfare facilities on site but he would let Longstanton Parish Council know the dates of this in order to publicise and avoid disruption where possible. He believed the airfield road would be controlled by traffic lights or manned gate from around March 2018 to enable construction traffic to cross it. He was awaiting confirmation from the County Council over the road’s designation before considering total closure. There were mixed views from the room around whether closure was good or bad.
Andy Daly from Swavesey Village College then introduced a presentation (please see PDF download below) by Steve Cuttill from Frank Shaw architects on the secondary school campus. Andy explained that for one day a week since November, a group of stakeholders including South Cambridgeshire District Council, Sport England, County Council, Homes England and CMAT had been meeting to award the contract and work through the final designs. He was really excited about what was being proposed and looked forward to talking to people about the proposals as consultation takes place over the next few months.
Finally we heard that the Diocese of Ely has purchased a house from Taylor Wimpy near to the Pathfinder school to use as a vicarage and community building. Also, that the District Council expects to receive formal applications later this year from Bovis, Barratt and Taylor Wimpey for further housing parcels on Phase One.
New residents to Northstowe asked that future agendas focus on local facilities and support available for new residents, which should include detail regarding timings for implementation.
The 2018 community forum (7pm) and drop-ins (6pm) will be held at The Community Wing, Pathfinder C of E Primary School on 18 April, 18 July and 17 October.
Any queries please contact Northstowe.firstname.lastname@example.org or 01954 713070.
Download the Northstowe Forum Presentation 17 January 2018.pdf