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News release from: 13/01/2023

District Council submits plans for temporary community centre for Northstowe

A planning application to provide a temporary community centre in Northstowe has been submitted by South Cambridgeshire District Council.

The Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service has now launched a three-week consultation as part of the planning process before the application is determined.

A decision on the application is expected in March at the earliest. If given the go ahead, the building would be placed on land owned by the Council next to The Green, on Pathfinder Way. The centre would be alongside the area earmarked for Northstowe’s permanent community centre.

Three graphics showing the exterior of the proposed Northstowe temporary community centre. It is a modular building, with a flat roof.

If permission is secured, the Council will provide Northstowe residents with information about when contractors will be able to deliver the building and confirm a subsequent opening date.

The large single-storey modular building includes plans for a generous lobby with kitchenette and toilets, storage, and would have space for three offices, an NHS room, and two large community rooms which can be used for a wide range of activities for all ages including:

  • Community cafes
  • Baby and toddler groups
  • Private hire for events such as birthday parties
  • Children and youth activities
  • Art workshops and events
  • Meeting spaces for sport and activity groups

Cllr Bill Handley, Lead Cabinet Member for Communities at South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Having a community space as a focal point for the town is vital and the temporary community building will provide an area where people of all ages can meet, socialise and connect with others.

“Having consulted with partners the view was taken that a temporary community centre in this location was the right option and we have worked quickly to submit the planning application. We would like to thank all the groups who have helped us to include the right facilities and to ensure the space is fit for purpose. Friends of the Wing and the emergent Northstowe Hub CIO; Northstowe Arts; Sustainable Northstowe; Foodbank; Scouts; NHS Primary Care; Child and Family Centre Services, Cambridgeshire County Council; and representatives of the Town Council have all contributed.

“We are now keen to hear the views of the people of Northstowe as the planning application is considered by the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service.”

The planning application is seeking permission for the temporary community centre for three years whilst permanent facilities are progressed. Plans include disabled car parking and cycle racks. Additional parking would also be available at the terminus of Pathfinder Way and Park and Ride car park; both are a short walk from the venue.

District Councillor for Northstowe, Cllr Tom Bygott, commented: “I am really pleased to see the Council has submitted this application. It’s a big step forward as we work to bring forward new community space as soon as possible. I urge local residents to comment on the application to tell us what they think.”

District Councillor for Northstowe, Cllr Natalie Warren-Green added: “Residents have told me that they are desperate to have community facilities and amenities, and this is a key step towards that. Building on the success of such things as the Northstowe Foodies initiative launched in 2020 by County Councillor Firouz Thompson and resident Mollie Clarke, to bring food vans to the community, as well as on the work of initiatives like the Youth Hive, Northstowe Kickstart and the Northstowe Warm Hub, this space will cater for groups and activities for all ages of the community.

“It is also a welcome development for the food bank offering residents support during the cost of living crisis in an accessible location. The temporary community centre will be a useful space to assess requirements for the permanent facilities too, offering a feedback loop to ensure the permanent building caters for the needs of the various groups that will be using the community centre. It can also be used as a place to try new things for the community, including social events.”

People can comment on the planning application before Friday 3 February; search for the planning reference 23/00113/FUL. Once the public consultation has ended, the application will be determined by the District Council’s Planning Committee. 

In the first phase of Northstowe, the Council is responsible for building the permanent sports pavilion and community centre.