This week EG's East of England Focus lifts the lid on the £1bn North West Cambridge development, writes Mark Simmons.
While some local agents are already aware that the proposed 400,000 sq ft of commercial space will not be available for commercial users, as occupation will be limited to university partners only, they are hoping that there will be opportunities for third parties to manage the planned key worker (1,500 homes) and student (2,000 units) accommodation. Sorry folks - landowner Cambridge university is keeping a firm grip on its properties and expects to manage them itself.
However, there is one thing that the 800-year old institution is letting go of - the 4% of the site that is earmarked for revenue-generating private housing. Even here though, the university isn't handing over more than it has to. Only house plots and primary road links will be released, with the university retaining ultimate ownership of other roads, open spaces and communal areas.
This is sensible as it allows the university to maintain the environment to its desired standard. But it also means residents will face an additional service charge to cover the costs. In the current housing-starved Cambridge area that's unlikely to be an issue. More of a concern though, say local commercial agents, is the additional traffic that the North West development will generate. City councilors raised the issue when the outline planning application was discussed and ultimately approved last summer, and were reassured by planners that increased traffic volumes could be managed. We'll find out whether they were right soon enough: residents should move in from autumn 2015.
Read about plans for North West Cambridge in this Saturday's magazine, on the enhanced iPad edition or tomorrow in our digital edition.