The Government has pledged financial support to help get the new town of Northstowe off the ground following lobbying from myself and Ray Manning.
Today there has been an announcement that £225 million of funding for four large scale housing schemes in England – including Northstowe, will be available.
The latest commitment to help make sure Northstowe is a high quality town demonstrating exemplar standards follows hot on the heels of Council Leaders welcoming Communities and Local Government boss Eric Pickles for a tour and fact finding mission at Cambridgeshire’s growth sites earlier this month.
I was able to escort Eric to our enterprise at Alconbury and show him the proposed site for Northstowe. I also was able to have a private conversation with Eric, in his car, where I was able to explain to him the difficulties of funding the level of growth required in Cambridgeshire.
Outline planning permission for Gallagher’s first phase of the new town, which would include 1,500 homes, a primary school, sports hub, areas of open space, a local centre, shops, employment opportunities and a site for a household recycling centre, was approved by councillors at the end of October to address shortages of homes in the area.
South Cambridgeshire and Cambridgeshire County Councils are now working with developers to make sure construction of the town would put “quality first” and the news of financial support has been welcomed by councillors as it could help meet aspirations town which will eventually have 10,000 homes.
Housing Minister, Mark Prisk, recognised the significant local funding that has already taken place to date from all partners – including a potential major capital investment of £25 million that has been agreed by Cambridgeshire County Council.
Mr Prisk also reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to improving the A14 and delivery of the Cambridge Science Park Station and said, “I can also confirm that the Government fully recognises the important role that both the proposed A14 upgrade and the creation of a new Cambridge Science Park Station will play in the development of Northstowe. We remain committed to the timely delivery of these schemes.”
Almost £8 million of Government funding has already been secured to widen the A14 between Girton and Histon in 2014 as a short term measure to alleviate congestion and improve safety, in advance of the major upgrade to the road – which Government Ministers announced proposals for earlier this year.
The share of upfront investment provided for Northstowe is not yet known, but council leaders have said they will strive for the best deal for Cambridgeshire.
“Only a few weeks ago Ray Manning and I were welcoming Eric Pickles to the area and telling him how vital financial support is to building a community at Northstowe.
Cambridgeshire is of vital importance nationally and I am delighted the Government is listening to us and backing growth here. The Guided Busway is already in place for the first residents who move into Northstowe, the upgrade of the A14 is firmly on the agenda, and this further funding will make sure the town can get off to the start it deserves.
We will continue our work with partners and the Government to ensure that the plans deliver a place where people will want to live, work, visit, and where business can prosper.”