The next phase of Alconbury Weald has taken a big step forward today (2 October) with the announcement of the team taking forward the major new education campus at Alconbury Weald.

Morgan Sindall Construction has been appointed as preferred bidder under a pre-construction services agreement.

The development will be driven by a working partnership between Morgan Sindall Construction, Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC), Huntingdon District Council (HDC), the Diocese of Ely Multi Academy Trust (DEMAT), the Spring Common Academy Trust (which will lead and manage the Prestley Wood Academy Special School) and the developer, Urban&Civic (U&C).

The project forms the next phase of Urban&Civic’s delivery of Alconbury Weald, which currently include homes, a primary school, community facilities, green spaces, play areas and over one million square foot of business space. In total the development will comprise 5,000 new homes, health centre and retail hub, sustainable transport links, and over 500 acres of green space, including a country park.

Phase 1 of the £36 million Alconbury Education Hub comprises the construction of:

  1. A 600-place secondary school with infrastructure to enable it to grow to provide 1,200 places in the future. The school has been named Alconbury Weald Church Academy, which will be run by the Diocese of Ely Multi Academy Trust
  2. A 300-place sixth form
  3. A 130-place special free school, Prestley Wood Academy, which will form part of the Spring Common Academy Trust. This school will serve children and young people aged 3 to 19 with complex special educational needs living in the development and the surrounding area.

The schools are scheduled to open from September 2023/2024.

The site is located in the centre of the overall development, and will lie at the end of a new park which will transform the old runway of the former Cold War airfield. The Campus buildings will form an important landmark, and sit adjacent to a civic square, which will connect the schools to the wider community. Morgan Sindall Construction previously delivered the £8.9 million Ermine Street Church Academy in 2016, which was the first school to open as part of the Alconbury Weald development.

Jamie Shearman, area director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “It’s fantastic to have been selected as preferred bidder to deliver the first phase of this significant investment for Cambridgeshire County Council. Urban&Civic’s plans for Alconbury Weald promise to transform the area into a vibrant new community hub and the education campus will have pride of place at the heart of the project.

“Morgan Sindall Construction is a highly experienced delivery partner for transformational education projects such as this and we’re looking forward to having the opportunity to build on our experience in the sector to provide this much-needed resource for the local community.”

The latest scheme embraces the County Council’s emerging policy regarding the ‘Nearly Zero’ energy agenda. The Council is calling on Government, industry and regulators to implement the necessary changes to enable Cambridgeshire and the rest of the UK to reach net-zero carbon by 2030.

Councillor Simon Bywater, Chair of the Children and Young People’s Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “The Alconbury Weald education campus is an important investment for the County Council, and I’d like to congratulate Morgan Sindall Construction on their appointment. The development will have great benefit for the community and will provide a high-quality education facility to all children and young people.”

Rebecca Britton at Urban&Civic said: “Education lies at the heart of everything we do and is in the DNA of the places we craft. This Education Campus is an exciting new chapter for the development and will not only deliver landmark civic buildings at the heart of the new community, but also partners us with strong education providers in DEMAT and Spring Common Trusts. The opportunity to deliver much needed special needs capacity for the local area alongside an inspirational secondary school and sixth form is a fundamental part of our commitment to Alconbury Weald being at the heart of Huntingdon and Cambridgeshire’s vision for growing well.”

Morgan Sindall Construction is currently on site at other school projects across the region including a new primary school in St Neots. The £14.2 million Wintringham Primary School will sit at the heart of the first phase of Urban&Civic’s162 hectare development which will comprise 2,800 homes and a range of community and sports facilities, health and green space.