A project that matters ...
Waterbeach New Town East is a pioneer. It reimagines residential streets and what they can offer, moving away from prioritising cars.
The Fens: one of the UK’s most dramatic, open and most powerful landscapes.
“Overhead the arch of heaven spread more ample than elsewhere, as over the open sea; and that vastness gave, and still gives, such cloudlands, such sunrises, as can be seen nowhere else within these isles.”
Charles Kingsley, Hereward the Wake
Waterbeach is on the edge of the Fens. It’s held within an open and compelling landscape.
With views stretching to the horizon, ‘the sky seems larger and more beautiful’ (Charles Kingsley), the light extraordinary. The very creation of this land is a dramatic tale, and yet ‘Waterbeach’ speaks simply of itself, conjuring up lives gleaned from sod and river, a place where eel was early currency.
Once ‘the sink of thirteen counties’, the land is now the backbone of England’s agricultural production, its soils rich with marine minerals.
The marshy water’s edge provides ample habitats for species; and wildlife is diverse. Nature feels close.
Once ‘the sink of thirteen counties’, the land is now the backbone of England’s agricultural production, its soils rich with marine minerals. The marshy water’s edge provides ample habitats for species; and wildlife is diverse. Nature feels close.
The plans for Waterbeach New Town East will create 4,500 new homes helping to meet an urgent local need for housing.
Those who settle here will have something of the pioneer about them.
A Sense of place
Waterbeach New Town is no isolated dormitory town, but instead a community in which to start your own business; a place alive with children playing; and across the town, people meeting to have coffee in the mid-morning sun. Lives will easily overlap.
With its range of housing, Waterbeach is a place to be born into and to happily grow old. A place to claim as your own. Our approach to masterplanning embraces a comprehensive approach to place making. Our vision provides a series of neighbourhood steads, re-imagining residential streets and what they can offer.
Each stead of between 150 and 400 homes will have its own character, landmarks and facilities. They will be fine-grained, nuanced and well-linked, but they will also connect to a bigger landscape and story.
Life here will be closely tied to nature, with new parks, shared spaces and naturalistic planting.
Each stead will have up to 400 homes. They will be linked to the bigger landscape story.
Cars will be housed on the edges of communities, leaving the steads car-free.
A Sense of place
These residential streets will have the feel of intimate green linear parks. There will be space for communal activity, from children’s play to eating together to tending vegetable plots.
Waterbeach is about sociable streets and car-free living. Nothing has been attempted in the UK on this scale before. It is a UK first.
Droves between the residential steads provide a strong organising structure, just as they do within the wider landscape. The droves will be generous, with deeply planted drainage borders, providing colour, texture, the sound of water and nature too, as well as flood protection.
They are designed to be welcoming and easy for pedestrians and cyclists but with space for car parking, enabling the streets within the residential Fensteads to be largely car free. Our masterplan encourages walking and cycling, and the use of rail and bus, to achieve a significant modal shift.
A new station makes Waterbeach a very convenient place to live.
A Sense of place
With an eye to the future, automated transport will be fully factored in to Waterbeach New Town. For the here and now, a relocated and enhanced train station will connect local people to Cambridge and beyond.
The station is being made as convenient as possible for the existing community of Waterbeach village, an integral part of the new town, which is now close to new parks as well as new schools, healthcare and sports facilities. Walking and cycling routes connecting key destinations, such as the station and town centre are designed to be more direct than vehicle routes, encouraging wider use.
The vision for Waterbeach New Town is of an enterprising, self-sustaining community, a place to work as well as to live.
The urban quarter, near the station, has a good mix of workspaces, shops, community hubs and leisure facilities, making for vibrant streets and spaces from day through to evening.
Residential density increases within easy walking distance of the station, forming the Townsteads.
Waterbeach is a gem in a big sky. No other development in the UK comes close to this ambition for healthy living, at this scale.