Government housing agency Homes England has agreed the £61m loan to developer Urban&Civic for the construction of a 6,500-home community on Ministry of Defence (MoD) land at Waterbeach, six miles from Cambridge city centre.
The loan will pay for enabling infrastructure to be constructed, including roundabout improvements to create a main access route from the A10, to draw in the speculative house-builders.
Housing minister Christopher Pincher said: “This £61m investment from Homes England, the government’s housing accelerator, will deliver the building blocks of a community that people will be proud to call home, including a new primary school, health centre and community centre.”
Urban&Civic, in partnership with the MOD, has secured outline planning permission to build 6,500 homes and five schools as well as commercial, retail, leisure and community facilities at the site, a former RAF Bomber Command airfield. The first phase of 1600 homes is currently progressing through planning, and early landscaping, archaeology and remediation work is under way.
Urban&Civic will act as master developer for the MoD for the 716-acre site. The first £15m worth of contracts are expected to be awareded in the next six months.
Urban&Civic chief executive Nigel Hugill said: “Waterbeach Barracks provides the most stunning lake side 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.”