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CPCA asked to approve £200m funding bid

21 September 2017

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Thousands of homes and new jobs could be unlocked around a new railway on the edge of Cambridge if a £200m bid to Government is agreed next week.

At the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Board meeting on Wednesday 27th September, members will be asked to back the bid that will help deliver regeneration of the brownfield site.

The 40 hectare site, part of which currently houses the Anglian Water Wastewater Recycling facility, has been identified in the local plan for many years, but investment for development has been hard to secure.

However, work undertaken by CBRE for the Combined Authority has identified it as the best scheme to put forward as a submission to the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund, which is a major capital grant programme of £2.3 billion for new physical infrastructure aimed at unlocking sites in the areas of greatest housing demand and helping to deliver 100,000 new homes in England.

Combined Authorities can bid for schemes up to £250m under the Forward Funding Pot.

Councillor Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council said: “It is great news for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire that the Combined Authority is hoping to bid for this money to unlock stalled development at Cambridge Northern Fringe East. The site is a critical development zone, including area plans for 7600 new homes which have been stalled for years because of the cost of relocating the Anglia Water Wastewater Recycling Facility.

“It is still early days, given that we expect the Government funding to be oversubscribed and major work is needed to bring all the plans for this site together, but this bid presents a one off opportunity that the councils and Mayor are determined to persuade Government to back, supported also by our local MPs. It will also deliver a high percentage of affordable homes and make the most of an impressive range of transport investment locally including the new Cambridge North Station, the St Ives busway and Greater Cambridge Partnership plans to improve buses, cycling and walking along the full length of Milton Road.”

Councillor Peter Topping, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council and portfolio holder for housing on the CPCA, said: “The land around the new Cambridge North Railway Station is a cracking place for regeneration but the costs of relocating the water treatment facility has made this impossible to date. This bid can change that, make the impossible, possible, and unlock much-needed high quality homes with the railway station on their doorstep.”

Mayor of CPCA James Palmer said: “"This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Greater Cambridge. If successful through the bidding process, this money will be instrumental in bringing forward over 7,000 new homes, a positive off shoot of this will be over 30,000 jobs linked to the construction work.
"The Cambridge Northern Fringe scheme has the benefit of sitting on a brownfield site and its proximity to Cambridge North station means its public transport links would be excellent. Clearly if we're successful through the bidding and the scheme moves forward the case for more services at Cambridge North strengthens.
"We have a big job to do over the coming years needing to provide approximately 100,000 new homes. The Cambridge Northern Fringe scheme would be a big boost for the whole of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough."

A spokesperson from Anglian Water added: “We will continue to work closely with the council as they consider their options for the future.
"We are open to the prospect of relocating the Cambridge water recycling centre providing it maintains the same quality of service and represents best value for our customers’ bills – this is our primary focus.”

Alongside the Cambridge Northern Fringe East site, two additional strong candidate schemes which could make a significant contribution to unlocking new homes and social and economic growth in the Combined Authority area were also identified. These were Huntingdon Third River Crossing and Wisbech Garden Town. The Board is also asked to support further development of these schemes to target future investment proposals.