Construction of a town at Waterbeach barracks and a village at Bourn Airfield has been proposed under plans to build up to 23,500 new homes in South Cambridgeshire.
Major extensions to existing communities including 2,250 houses west of Cambourne and 120 on the site of Papworth Hospital will also be consulted on amid warnings that developments which are already on the table will not be enough to support the area’s booming economy and to meet demand for new properties.
One of the options being considered would earmark all the land north of Waterbeach between the A10 and the railway for construction of 12,750 homes but, since this has been opposed by many villagers, another idea would limit building to the land which is currently owned by the Ministry of Defence, delivering about 7,600 houses.
A third suggestion would allow housing only on parts of the barracks which are already developed, providing 930 properties.
Several other sites for new towns and villages were put forward by landowners, and the only one to reach the first consultation on the council’s new local plan is Bourn Airfield, where between 3,000 and 5,000 homes could be built.
The council is giving residents three options about how many homes should be built in total over the next two decades, beyond the 14,200 which are already planned – 4,300, 7,300 or 9,300.
Cllr Pippa Corney, the cabinet member for planning policy, said there were “tough decisions” ahead.
She said: “We’ve got to grow, we can’t stagnate, but it’s a balancing act.
“We’re not about concreting over South Cambridgeshire, we know it’s a lovely place to live, it’s about getting enough growth to secure the jobs we want while keeping this one of the nicest places to live in the country.”
The Cambourne site, near the proposed secondary school, is the largest extension suggested for an existing village, but another 50 sites will be consulted on.
- seven sites in Sawston totalling 890 homes, including 340 east of the village;
- four sites in Histon and Impington, totalling 355 homes;
- seven sites in Cottenham, totalling 370 homes;
- four sites in Comberton, totalling 305 homes;
- three sites in Longstanton, totalling 250 homes.
Ten green belt sites on the fringes of Cambridge previously published by the city council are included in the consultation, such as land around Fen Ditton, either side of Barton Road, and south of Trumpington.
Cllr James Hockney, who represents Waterbeach, said local roads and infrastructure could only cope with a limited amount of development on the barracks site.
He said: “People have said to me overwhelmingly that they don’t want to see a town larger than Ely on the barracks site but at the same time it can’t remain derelict and something has got to be done with the land which is beneficial and complementary to the local community.”
Cllr Clayton Hudson encouraged residents to share their views on both sites in his Bourn ward.
He said: “Probably the biggest challenge for anybody who wants to develop these sites will be transport sustainability because they are not on the guided busway and they haven’t got a rail station nearby, so both will be very reliant on the car.”
Residents will also be asked how many new jobs they think South Cambridgeshire should plan for up to 2031 – 14,000, 23,100, or 29,200.
The proposals will be considered by councillors next Thursday, ahead of a consultation running from July 12 to September 28.