Northstowe: Clegg Announces Investment

The Deputy Prime Minister will announce the government will step in to speed up a number of big new developments, including Northstowe in South Cambridgeshire.

The Deputy Prime Minister is making a speech at lunchtime today (Thursday) to announce a number of major housing projects that have 'hit a wall' have been identified.

These projects include the planned new town of Northstowe, on the former Oakington Airfield in South Cambridgeshire.

The plans include around 10,000 new homes and a number of community facilities including a school, shops, open space and employment opportunities.

The proposals indicate Northstowe would be the biggest new town in the country since Milton Keynes was built.

Plans for Northstowe have been on the cards since around 2007, however no construction has yet taken place.

Last month, planning permission for the first phase of Northstowe, which includes around 1,500 homes, was approved by South Cambridgeshire District Council.

The Council also recently approved a list of environmental criteria that all plans for Northstowe must meet, to ensure the development is as eco-friendly and high quality as possible.

The Deputy Prime Minister will announce the government is stepping in to try and speed up the planning and building processes to get a number of big development projects moving quicker.

Other projects which will benefit from government involvement include East Kettering, Cranbrook in Exeter and Fairfield in Milton Keynes.

Extracts from Mr Clegg's speech include: "We looked and we couldn't find any records of a single new development of over 13,500 homes in this country since the 1970s. 

We simply don't have the right incentives and levers to drive sustainable development at scale - that needs to change. 

When the need for houses is so great, it's not enough to have a planning system. 

You have to have a plan and you have to think big. 

So, I can announce that the Coalition has identified major housing projects that have hit a wall - and we are intervening directly to unblock them. 

We are working with a number of large locally-led schemes, ranging from 4000 to 9,500 units in size which, in total will deliver up to 48,600 new homes.

The sites have been held up for various reasons: cash-flow problems following the banking crash; bureaucracy and licensing issues, a lack of upfront investment for infrastructure. 

Some for up to ten years. 

And while all of them have strong local supporters, their communities are, understandably, becoming frustrated by these delays. 

So we will unlock the barriers to investment. 

We will make sure that bureaucracy does not hold back these developments: bringing partners together to get action on the ground. 

And, where investment is required, I can announce new funding. 

We will provide £225m of government money which will also leverage private investment to effectively de-risk these or similar projects and get them moving."

Councillor Ray Manning, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Leader, said: “We have lobbied the Government hard to secure financial support for Northstowe as we have always been clear we want to deliver a high quality new town that we can all look back on with pride. 

The fact is there is a great need for new homes, but equally as important is making sure the right facilities and infrastructure is in place as early as possible so the new town can be a real success. 

The Government has given a very clear message they are fully behind us as South Cambridgeshire is an engine for national growth, and we will now be pressing hard to get the best deal for existing and future residents. 

The A14 and Cambridge Science Park Station are both very important for future phases of Northstowe and we also look forward to working with the Government and other partners on these issues."

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