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Plans submitted for new council homes and community centre at The Meadows and Buchan Street

News release from 14/01/2020

CAMBRIDGE Investment Partnership (CIP) – an equal partnership between Cambridge City Council and Hill Investment Partnerships – has submitted plans for redeveloping the council owned Meadows and Buchan Street community centres.

The plans, which have been developed and revised following close consultation with the local community, will see a new, modern and highly sustainable community hub with additional capacity built at The Meadows, to replace both the existing community facility there, and the nearby Buchan Street Neighbourhood Centre.

At The Meadows site, 78 new one- and two-bedroomed apartments will be built for council rent, while at the Buchan Street site a further 28 one- and two-bedroom council rented flats will be built, subject to planning approval. Four of the flats at The Meadows and one at Buchan Street will be for wheelchair users.

The developments will offer high standards of sustainability, with the community centre to be built to BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating – in the top 10% of non-domestic buildings in the UK. The Cambridge Local Plan stipulates a 19% carbon reduction on 2013 Building Regulations whereas the proposed design of the flats will achieve around a 60% reduction, significantly exceeding the local plan requirements.

There will also be electric vehicle charging points, 230 cycle spaces across the two sites, underground recycling bins and green roofs.

The council published a Community Centres Strategy in 2019 and this identified that the Meadows and Buchan Street community centres serve a similar 15 minute walk time catchment area for residents, and that there is a need to retain only one and not two centres in this location.

The Strategy also required that the redevelopment plans ensure that both centres remain open until the new hub at The Meadows is operational. Following public consultation with users and staff of the existing community centres, the design of the new hub provides more meeting and activity spaces, an improved public café and better accessibility.

Taking the views of local people into account at previous consultations in March and October last year, CIP refined its initial proposals for the sites, particularly with regards to the open space at St Alban’s Recreation Ground.

Under the submitted plans 93.6% of the open space will be retained, as opposed to 85% proposed under the first consultation and 92% in the second.

A net total of 109 new trees will be planted, and as well as retaining the zip wire and trim trail, a new MUGA (multi-use games area), an improved free-draining football pitch, new play areas, and a new skate ramp will be provided at the recreation ground, replacing the current provision. With plans for enhanced meadows and woodland areas, the proposals will mean an overall improvement of 65% in biodiversity for the open space.

At Buchan Street plans also include new open space, a public plaza, and retention of a café and shop space.

Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Housing, said: “The proposals submitted to planning for the Meadows and Buchan Street sites will see more much-needed council homes built for people in the north of Cambridge, along with a fantastic new community facility.

“After listening to the community we feel these plans will enhance the open space at St Alban’s Rec, including providing space for sports and play activities, and improved biodiversity.”

Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “The new community hub at The Meadows promises to be a first-class new facility, built to the highest standards of sustainability, that everyone can use with no loss of provision from the merger of the two centres.

“We look forward to working closely with local people and groups already using the two existing community centres to shape activities and services for the new hub.”