Following extensive consultation with residents, local community groups, staff and other stakeholders, planning permission has been granted at the Meadows and Buchan Street sites for the redevelopment of the council owned Meadows and Buchan Street community centres along with much needed council rented homes.
Planning was granted for The Meadows site at the first meeting of the new Joint Development Control Committee, made up of Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council, as it crosses council boundary areas, whilst Buchan Street was granted planning by Cambridge City Council.
The two existing community facilities will be replaced with a modern, highly sustainable community hub, which will include large, flexible multi-purpose spaces that can be used to provide pre-school, children, family and youth activities, classes such as IT, or health and rehabilitation fitness classes.
There will also be increased meeting spaces and a new café area, providing opportunities for further income generation for the hub. Extensive consultation with staff and user groups has resulted in enhanced designs to maximise flexibility and future proofing whilst improving accessibility.
The Meadows site will also provide 78 new one and two bedroom apartments for council rent and the Buchan Street site will see 28 one and two bedroom council rented flats built. Four of the flats at The Meadows and one at Buchan Street will be for wheelchair users.
Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Housing for Cambridge City Council and CIP board member, comments: “We are delighted to get the go ahead on these important sites for Cambridge Investment Partnership. Over the past year we have consulted extensively with local residents and stakeholders to ensure that we have taken into account their views and refined our proposals for the sites, particularly with regards to the open space at St Alban’s recreation ground.
“We look forward to delivering a fantastic new facility which can be enjoyed by everyone along with much needed council rented homes in the north of Cambridge to address the housing shortage.”
The new developments will offer high levels of sustainability with the community hub designed to BREEAM Excellent, which is in the top 10% of non-domestic buildings in the UK. The Cambridge Local Plan targets 19% carbon reduction on 2013 Building Regulations and both sites will achieve around 60% in carbon reduction, significantly exceeding local plan requirements.
Tom Hill, Regional Director for Hill, said: “As a partnership we are committed to building with the community in mind and are very pleased that The Meadows and Buchan Street has been granted planning. We will not only create much needed new homes but deliver a first class community hub which will provide the local community with better facilities for years to come.
“Sustainability is also an integral part of our design and we will be providing electric charging points for cars, 230 cycle spaces across the two sites, underground recycling bins and green roofs, with solar photovoltaic panels and air source heat pumps as the main energy sources.”
The council published a Community Centres Strategy in 2019 which identified that a community centre serving both Arbury and Kings Hedges residents is essential and a priority location for delivering outreach services. However, it identified overlaps in the existing provision and an opportunity to provide community based services more efficiently and sustainably in future, in one enhanced new, modern, fit for the future community hub. This also created an opportunity to use any surplus land created to provide additional new council rented homes.
At Buchan Street plans also include new open space, a public plaza, and retention of a café and shop space.
As part of the plans 93.6% of the open space will be retained, as opposed to 85% proposed under the first consultation and 92% in the second.
A net total of 109 new trees will also be planted, and as well as retaining the zip wire and trim trail, a new MUGA (multi-use games area), an improved free-draining football pitch, new play areas, and a new skate ramp will be provided at the recreation ground, replacing the current provision. Within the plans, enhanced meadows and woodland areas will also mean an overall improvement of 65% in biodiversity for the open space.