Call to arms for buyers in Huntingdon
Homes go on sale in Britain’s largest residential scheme, writes
The first homes have gone on sale today in the largest residential development under construction in Britain. With a perimeter of 18km, Alconbury Weald, built around the site of an old, cold-war RAF base, will deliver nearly 7,000 homes when it is finally completed.
Larger than a garden village but smaller than a new town, the £1.5bn scheme, on the outskirts of Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, has been hailed as an urban extension. It will include a Government-backed enterprise zone, two primary schools, a secondary school, a health centre, 700 acres of green space and a cricket pitch.
The land owner and developer, Urban & Civic, who bought the brownfield site from the Ministry of the Defence and started building on it in 2015, also plans to add a railway station on the abandoned line that runs across the 1,425 acre site, to shuttle commuters into Huntingdon, Cambridge and on to London.
The128 homes in phase one will be available to buy today and the first primary school will open in September.
Urban & Civic, which specialises in regional regeneration, has teamed up with local housebuilder, Hopkins Homes to build the properties which will range in size from two-bedroom coach houses up to large, fivebedroom, detached, family homes.
Such schemes go someway to addressing the housing supply crisis in areas such as Cambridgeshire. Homeowners in the city – famed for its burgoening science and biotech industries – have seen a 44.7 per cent rise in values since the 2007, taking the average price to £388,400 according to Hometrack. Prices on the Alconbury scheme will range from £200,000 to £350,000.
The site itself should generate job oppportunities. The enterprise park and campus for start-up businesses has 3.1m sq ft of commercial space available to rent to companies who will be exempt from business rates.
Robin Butler, the chief executive of Urban & Civic, who runs the company with his long standing business partner, Nigel Hugill, says: “We find ourselves at the epi centre of the Government and economic agenda on this project, and in order to meet housing needs in Britain we need to spread the load and build in logical places.” The company is also planning a settlement in Rugby.
Map: the aerial plan, left, and artist impression, above