South Cambridgeshire District Council has voted to support outline proposals for Waterbeach New Town East, a new settlement of up to 4,500 homes close to Cambridge, brought forward by RLW Estates.
Waterbeach NTE moves away from prioritising cars in spaces and streets around homes, at scale. It is a 20-year-long LDA Design project, during which time our team has provided a range of design and EIA services.
LDA Design’s masterplan reimagines residential streets and what they can offer. A strong sense of community and excellent connectivity are its guiding lights.
Drawing on the drama of the Fens, and respectful of the existing village of Waterbeach, the plan proposes a more sociable and sustainable lifestyle that is closely tied to nature and is responsive to its Fen Edge setting. Car-free residential streets will feel like intimate, sociable green linear parks, and there will be space for shared activities, play, communal dining and food growing.
David Wesselingh, masterplanning lead for Waterbeach NTE, describes wanting to create a place that makes connected living easy. “The vision we have developed with RLW Estates leans heavily on Waterbeach’s location and the compelling landscape and patterns of the Fens. The proposal sets out a series of small neighbourhoods, or steads. Each stead will comprise up to 400 homes; they will have their own character, landmarks and amenities. They will be fine-grained, nuanced and well-linked, but they will also connect to a bigger landscape and story.”
Waterbeach NTE will also feature diverse working environments, with a mix of workspaces and retail, plus a wide range of facilities including a new secondary school, primary schools and community centres. A 20-acre park, play areas, allotments and community orchards are also planned.
Significant improvements to public transport include a relocated railway station with longer platforms. A network of walking and cycling routes will link homes to public transport and the town centre, schools and workspaces. Two local bridleways will be integrated into the new town.
The Planning Officers’ report said of the scheme: “This approach to housing development is welcomed. By proposing a design idea that creates attractive areas of green space within each stead, by promoting walking and cycling and making it easy and safe to make journeys using a wider choice of safe and easily accessible modes of transport, then this will contribute to changing people’s habits relating to their travel choice.”
Delighted with the planning outcome, RLW Estates’ Chris Goldsmith said: “We are looking forward to working closely with the Council to deliver our vision of a sustainable community that will place cyclists and pedestrians at its heart, creating an environmentally conscious and future-proofed development.”