News release from 07/06/2022
Council invests in Northstowe to provide community facilities
Two homes and a sales office at Northstowe are being purchased by South Cambridgeshire District Council – which plans to modify them for use by community groups.
The Council has reached an agreement with housebuilder Taylor Wimpey for the purchase of its two show homes and Sales Information Centre on Pathfinder Way in phase one of the new town. Taylor Wimpey will continue to welcome people to their Centre until their move to new premises within their Varsity Grange development at Northstowe which they expect to be during October this year (2022).
A planning application for a temporary change of use of the buildings being purchased will be submitted to the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service by the Council in the next fortnight. This will be being reviewed and once published residents will be able to put forward their views on the temporary plans for the buildings. It is envisaged that the planning application to amend the use of the buildings will be discussed at a future meeting of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Planning Committee.
It is anticipated that the purchase will complete in October this year (2022). The legal agreement to facilitate the purchase is now being finalised.
The buildings will be a medium-term replacement for the temporary community facilities which are currently in place at the Northstowe Community Wing at the town’s Pathfinder Primary School. These facilities will close on 17 June as the growing school requires the space.
Subject to change of use being approved, the Council will begin works to adapt the homes for community use as soon as possible after they are handed over. This would mean they become ready in early 2023.
The District Council has been working with Northstowe’s community groups that currently hold events and classes in the Wing to put plans in place which will see them temporarily operate from other rooms and spaces at the Pathfinder Primary School and Northstowe Secondary College until the interim accommodation becomes available. The groups will be making their users aware of the new arrangements.
The permanent, long-term community buildings in the early phases of the town – sports pavilion, community centre and Civic Hub – will still come forward and will be unaffected by these proposals. Once appropriate permanent community space is available the Council will return the interim community space to housing and develop the adjacent piece of land that has planning permission for flats.
Information about the community space available to book once the Wing closes in June can be found by:
Pathfinder Primary School – email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
Northstowe Secondary College – view spaces and book. The college offers a 15% discount on booking their facilities if community groups making the booking are located in Northstowe or Longstanton. Any queries can be sent to email@example.com
South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Bill Handley, said: “We are grateful to Northstowe’s many excellent community groups for bearing with us as we have worked on these arrangements. We have kept groups informed along the way, and we are confident that their needs can be met and that they can continue to operate with minimal disruption. As you’d expect, we will continue to support the community groups through this transition. I am grateful to Taylor Wimpey for working with us to make this arrangement possible; it gives Northstowe residents reassurance that there will be dedicated spaces in a central location from which local groups can operate whilst plans for the permanent community building continue to progress. Our planning application outlines exactly how we plan to change the use of these buildings from a Sales Information Centre to community facilities. I’d urge residents to have their say on our proposals when they are published on the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning website.”
The District Councillors for Northstowe are Cllr Sarah Cheung Johnson and Cllr Alex Malyon. Cllr Cheung Johnson added: “We are so pleased to have secured this interim facility space for Northstowe and the wider community and know many have been worried about what would happen after the Wing goes back to the school. Alex and I have pushed for a facility that would not only accommodate existing groups but allow others to begin using this space and are grateful we now have this. We want to thank residents and community groups for their patience as this process has taken longer than we all wanted but hope we can all look forward to being able to use this space.”
Caroline Carter, Sales and Marketing Director for Taylor Wimpey East Anglia, said: “Supporting the communities in which we build is a key priority for us, so we are pleased to be able to offer our show homes and sales office at the Varsity Grange development to South Cambridgeshire District Council for this fantastic community use.
“It’s important to get the feedback of local residents on this proposed change of use, and we are already in talks with our customers at the development. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for these spaces.”