Urban&Civic has updated plans to deliver the second phase of Alconbury Weald including up to 750 homes, a new primary school, around 7 acres (3 hectares) of sports pitches and, up to 2,000 sqm of retail/cafe and community space.
This application will take forward the development of the northern part of Grange Farm, which will eventually see 1,500 new homes and follows on from the green light to create the Southern Gateway that will connect Alconbury Weald directly to the A141.
The plans will also enable early delivery of the northern part of the new 150 acre Country Park. This will focus on enhancing the ancient woodland and Scheduled Ancient Monument of Prestley Wood, significant early tree planting and beginning the transformation of the intensively farmed land to nature-focussed grassland and woodland.
The second phase of Alconbury Weald also includes the enhancement of existing Public Rights of Way, the delivery of the Country Park and extensive new leisure routes for walking, cycling and horse riding between the new homes and connecting back to the first phase of Alconbury Weald.
Plans to take forward the Country Park together with the delivery of up to 1,500 homes on the Grange Farm area were originally submitted by Alconbury Weald master developer Urban&Civic in June 2019. However, progress has been delayed by ongoing studies assessing the potential realignment of the A141 to provide a new northern ring road to Huntingdon. This may see the road diverted through part of Grange Farm, and so the plans have been updated to bring forward the northern half of the development, which can be started while work continues to finalise the plans for the A141, which fall in the southern half of the overall development planned.
Urban&Civic has been working with partners to ensure a joined-up approach to transport planning around the realigned A141, the Cambridge Autonomous Metro (CAM) and the rail station, which will create a significant sustainable transport hub to the eastern side
of the development. Progress on the second phase will continue the momentum for these transport schemes and support the main public transport spine designed to run through the development, connecting homes and businesses with the CAM and local bus services and the rail station as well as the network of cycle connections and walking routes that connect to the wider area and around Alconbury Weald.
Joe Dawson, Senior Development Manager for Urban&Civic, said: “This approach does not change the overall plans but enables us to continue momentum on the development while the details are refined for the realigned A141. Once we know the exact route and the detailed designs, we can see if we need to do any updating design work on the southern half of Grange Farm. Crucially it means we can begin work to connect the development more directly to Huntingdon and start early delivery of the 150 acre (60 hectare) Country Park, which will benefit not just Alconbury Weald residents but the wider area. The past year has clearly shown we all need more accessible green space on our doorsteps!
“The Country Park will not be delivered overnight, but by getting started early we hope it can start to rewild and grow alongside the development. Working with and enhancing the existing Rights of Way, and protecting and bringing back to life the historic features of Prestley Wood and Grange Farm, is a really important part of the vision we all share to create vital green space both for people and nature.”
Prestley Wood used to be home to an ancient manor house, which had an unusual double moated system around it. Now all that survives is the moat. Part of the plans for the Country Park include work to refurbish the earthworks, open them up with interpretation and heritage events and enhance the woodland, which was reduced by agriculture and the expansion of the airfield during and after the War. Further detailed work will continue with Historic England and the Forestry Commission, alongside local communities to progress plans for the Wood’s restoration, so it can become the jewel in the crown of the Country Park.