Sectors - Community

Homes England Back Cambs Scheme

Homes England has agreed a £61 million loan with developer Urban&Civic in order to create a new 6,500-home community at a former World War Two RAF site at Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire.

Urban&Civic has secured planning permission for the scheme in partnership with the Ministry of Defence (MOD), who are the landowners. The former RAF Bomber Command airfield is six miles north of Cambridge.

Along with building almost seven thousand new homes, the project has also proposed five schools along with commercial, leisure, retail, and community spaces. The infrastructure loan from Homes England was provided by their Home Building Fund.

The Fund will support key work at the site, which includes roundabout improvements to create a main access route from the A10, road, drainage and utility works to open up the first phase of development, and community facilities.

The first phase of 1,600 homes at Waterbeach is currently progressing through planning, with early landscaping, archaeology and remediation work underway.

Head of Infrastructure Finance at Homes England Neil Milligan said: “Our investment in large-scale, long-term projects like Waterbeach demonstrates how our funding can help to accelerate the ambition of master developers like Urban&Civic in developing great places to live and work.

“COVID-19 has presented the industry with many challenges, and it’s great that despite these setbacks we can continue to secure agreements with our partners that build on our pipeline of investing in quality homes and communities and support the wider industry in its recovery.”

Nigel Hugill, Chief Executive of Urban&Civic, added: “Waterbeach Barracks provides the most stunning lakeside location and is much the largest development in the country to be started since the onset of COVID-19.

“The project will have all the characteristics typically associated with Urban&Civic: great schools; generous, fabulous and accessible green spaces; imaginative play areas; and next generation broadband, with an enduring emphasis on local and community. Cycle and bus connections are built in from the outset.

“Funds generated from initial rentals and house sales will be reinvested to further accelerate delivery with the continuing involvement of local contractors and the housebuilder supply chain.

“Partnership funding from Homes England is fundamental to that investment model. We would not attempt the same pace and ambition without their long-term loan support.”

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