Key Phase 1 Complete
This is what Key Phase 1 of Alconbury Weald will look like when complete. Alconbury Weald is over 1,425 acres of which Key Phase 1 is 266 acres. With three new entrances, to open up the site and separate traffic for residents, businesses and construction traffic, Key Phase 1 is already well on the way to delivering over 800 new homes, a new primary school, 80,000sqm of employment floorspace, community facilities, play spaces, 69 acres of green spaces and over 16 miles of roads, cycleways and footpaths.
Working with small, medium and national housebuilding customers to accelerate a diverse range of quality homes in a well-managed and co-ordinated way is central to the Master Developer approach and Alconbury is regularly cited as an exemplar of how large scale sites can help meet housing need.
The first housebuilder at Alconbury Weald, Hopkins Homes’ 128 properties at the southern gateway include two-bed coach houses, a range of two and three bed semi-detached, linked and detached houses, alongside three and four-bed townhouses, four-bed linked or detached and five-bed detached houses, with prices starting from £200,000. Renowned for designing and building high-quality community that are sympathetic to traditional features and the character of the region, the bespoke designs at Alconbury Weald have been inspired by architectural features seen nearby villages such as Abbots Ripton.
Morris Homes are building 165 executive and family detached, semidetached and mews style homes, carefully arranged around the distinctive landscaped character areas. Morris Homes has subsequently acquired a parcel of land and is also delivering homes at Urban&Civic’s site at Houlton, Rugby.
Award-winning housebuilder Redrow is building 200 three, four and five-bed homes, including some bespoke designs for Alconbury Weald and 15 homes that are being offered under a Shared Ownership Scheme. Redrow has subsequently acquired a parcel of land and will also be delivering homes at Urban&Civic’s site at Houlton, Rugby soon.
Civic Living brings a new design and style of homes created Urban&Civic, which is being showcased for the first time at Alconbury Weald. The first release of homes includes two and three-bed houses and one and two-bed apartments. Later phases will include single-storey homes and three and four-bed townhouses.
With the first phase of homes nearing completion, Hopkins Homes has acquired a further parcel at Alconbury Weald around the cricket pitch and has submitted a planning application for 189 news homes, 19 of which will be affordable units.
Crest Nicholson, who is also delivering homes at Urban&Civic’s site at Houlton, Rugby has acquired one of the only remaining parcels in Key Phase 1 and is planning to build 192 homes. The range of homes will include one and two bed apartments and four-bed townhouses along the green Boulevard. Townhouses with balconies will surround the cricket pitch, while semi-detached and mews properties will frame the Linear Park.
The last remaining parcel within Key Phase 1 will be marketed in 2019.
Integral to the mixed use community being delivered at Alconbury Weald is the 575 hectare Enterprise Zone. Within this zone, the Outline Consent approves up to 290,000 square metres of B class employment floorspace and up to 7000 square metres of retail uses. With over 90,000 square meters of floors space already delivered in a range of buildings the Alconbury Enterprise Campus has provided an attractive location for businesses to locate and expand. Urban&Civic places considerable emphasis on boosting skills and jobs in the local area and is involved in a range of interventions with stakeholder and local partners.
Opened in Summer 2018, the Incubator 2 has provided “grow-on” space for a number of Incubator tenants and is home to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.
Consented in just 32 days, the Incubator was the first new building on site and an important statement of design and quality. Its flexible office space filled up in 6 weeks of opening, and currently has a waiting list.
Funded by £10.5 million Growth Fund and built on land gifted by Urban&Civic , this Skills Centre lies at the heart of a skills strategy to improve the technical and vocational skills of local people and support the growth of manufacturing, engineering and digital technologies across the wider region. Run in partnership by the local colleges, and with input from local universities, it will offer apprenticeship courses at all levels and short technical and specialist courses co-designed with local businesses.
IKO is a Canadian manufacturer of low carbon construction materials. Their building is the largest single footprint building in the EZ and, once fully built out, will be 450,000 sq ft. The chevrons on the IKO's roof recreate the markings on the approach to the former runway and help celebrate the site's former uses when viewed from above.
John Adams Toys
John Adams Toys is a local toy manufacturer who wanted to bring together their R&D unit with a number of local warehouses and office space, to create a bespoke and fit for purpose Head Office to underpin their exciting growth plans. Urban&Civic project managed the delivery of this building.
MMUK is part of the global group which works with growers across 20 countries worldwide to provide year round integrated tree to table products for fruit, juice and ice creams. Their building at Alconbury, with a footprint of 220,000 sq. ft, is one of the largest fresh produce facilities in the UK.
Green Infrastructure and Community
For the Master Developer, a key placemaking differential is the quality and functionality of the green spaces and community buildings provided. Within the first phase of Alconbury Weald, Urban&Civic will create over 60 acres of green space and has already planted over 3,000 trees including relocating mature specimens from around the site. With the first of four schools to be delivered already open, a community shop, extensive play areas, allotments and a multi-purpose hub building providing flexible space and a gym, the first phase of Alconbury Weald has set a clear standard for what is to come.
Ermine Street church Academy
The first primary school at Alconbury Weald was designed by Sterling Prize winning architects AHMM and was opened in September 2016. The school is jointly Anglican and Methodist, and benefits from the support of both Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust, and Methodist Academies and Schools Trust.
The Club is at the heart of the new residential and business community at Alconbury Weald. This timber frame building, designed by AHMM, is home to The Gym and The Cafe and also has meeting and event space available for hire. The Club is also the headquarters of Urban&Civic's on site and Cambridgeshire wide teams.
The community shop is located by the Community Park and is a handy place to pick up everyday essentials. It is run by Adrian and Sam Wardman, who also run the Community stores at neighbouring Abbots Ripton.
Pond entrance feature
This popular feature is key part of providing an immediate village feel. With its dipping platforms and wildflower planting, the ponds also provide ecology and nature reserves on the doorstep for residents and the school.
Part of the historic airfield, the bund was enhanced by early groundworks, and was the location for our first community event, with tree planting with the local community and scouts from the American base next door to soften the landscape and start to create the important green space of Alconbury Weald.
Playable from 2019, and designed with extensive water storage chambers underneath to maintain its surface quality, the pitch is so well regarded locally it is currently being considered to become the County Ground for Huntingdonshire Cricket.
Providing play areas and cycle ways, alongside the areas of woodland glade with seats and picnic areas, these corridors provide safe ways of engaging people with the nature around them and for people and nature to safely walk and cycle to reach strategic green space and key facilities.
Incorporating a series of play areas, a skate park, wild play and a huge slide, the Park also has a popular multi-use games area, and provides seating and picnic space, alongside Swynford Stores, to make it a real hive of early activity.
Opening in Spring 2019, the community is setting up an allotment association ready to take forward local growing, and working with Big Barn and the shop as part of making locally grown food accessible to all.
Accelerating the delivery of roads, footpaths and cycleways across the site is an essential part of effective placemaking and helping stitch a community together and create sustainable patterns from the outset. Within Phase 1 alone there will be 4 miles of roads and 12.4 miles of footpaths and cycleways. Our Green Travel Plan further promotes the use of public transport and sustainable forms of travel, and we have a dedicated travel website.
Residential Entrance, Swynford Road
Creating a series of functional entrances was key to opening up the site. This residential focused entrance is designed to be of a scale that will ensure potential buyers and future home-owners feel they are arriving at a new community. The Master Developer approach is to pay special attention to the landscaping and sense of arrival so that early occupiers do not feel like pioneers.
The Commercial Entrance is larger in scale and designed to reflect a business focused area of the site. The Boulevard makes a landscape and design statement with its installation of non-drip Lime trees, all about 20 metres high, providing instant impact.
Construction and HCV Entrance
This entrance was delivered first in order to separate all construction and HCV traffic away from the residential and commercial entrances. This traffic is then routed around the back of the site, away from where people live and get to work.
The causeway is a key part of the sense of arrival. The bridge is made from stones that were extracted from the same quarry as the stones used to build the nearby Stukeley Parish Church. The 4 miles of roads within Key Phase 1 are single carriageway and scaled to accommodate the varying flows of traffic during the day, and ensure safe and walkable neighbourhoods.
Footpaths and Cycle Way
A key part of the site wide transport strategy is to create clearly defined and landscaped footpaths and cycleways around and across Alconbury Weald. There are 12.4miles of footpaths and cycleways in Key Phase 1.
The Boulevard is the intersection between residential and commercial areas and forms part of the main link road which runs through the site to the edge of Huntingdon town centre.
Earth Works and Utilities
Before you can start laying out the roads, footpaths, cycleways, planting trees, landscaping, constructing community buildings and thereby creating fully serviced parcels for housebuilders and businesses you have to clear the site of buildings, deal with any contamination, connect the site and put in all the pipes and wires. Operating at scale is part of the Master Developer’s DNA and Urban&Civic are highly experienced at negotiating and procuring the delivery and capacity of the utility and drainage connections required in a sustainable manner.
Multi utilities connection point
Utility hub connections into the development parcels for gas, electricity, water, fibre, foul and surface water services allows housebuilders and businesses to connect to the site wide networks and therefore the local area grids provided by the Master Developer, thus materially de risking their delivery process.
Surface water attenuation features
52,400 cu.m of attenuation Ponds have been created and 870 cu.m of modular drainage crates have been laid forming storage capacity for flood and drainage events as part of the 12,517m network of surface water drainage.
Sub surface drainage mat
A specialist positive drainage system to alleviate surface water retention has been laid under the cricket pitch area alongside modular drainage crates serving the wider surface water network.
Primary distribution network of gas, electricity, water, fibre, foul and surface water services between the external points of connection and housing/business parcels. The cumulative onsite network to date extends to over 56 km of cables and pipes.
Offsite utility connection
Points of connection between the adopted off site gas, electricity, water, fibre, foul and surface water networks and the utility corridors on site from which over 5km of foul, 4km of portable water and 6km of electrical off site connections have been made to primary distributors in Huntingdon.
Demolition and Earth Works
To clear an area of 1,070,000 square metres in the first phase of development has involved demolishing 114 above ground structures including hardened aircraft hangers, 22 below ground basements and fuel storage bunkers and taking up 146,000 m3 of concrete hardstanding, all of which was processed and re-used on site. In addition, over 450,000 cu.m of material was moved to re-profile the site including 579 archaeological trenches being mapped, 6,000m of fuel lines decommissioned and 11,500m of redundant utilities and services removed, all undertaken to provide a clear site in preparation for development.
Key Phase 1 Approval
The key phase approval forms the second tier of the planning structure and focused on a defined part of the site. Approval is achieved via discharging a number of conditions within the Outline Consent. The key documents at this stage are the Regulatory Plan and the accompanying Design Code. These documents create a detailed framework for reserved matters applications to be brought forward by the Master Developer and its housebuilder and commercial customers.
Defined Employment blocks
Defined Residential blocks
Multi use green corridors
Defined Primary School location
Outline Planning Consent
Following extensive consultation and the designation of part of the site as an Enterprise Zone in 2011, Outline Planning Consent was granted for the whole site in 2014. The key plan for this first tier of consent was the Parameter Plan which established high level spatial designations over land use, key routes, the location of schools and commercial uses as well as key green spaces. This plan and the controls established by conditions and obligations avoid being overly prescriptive at this early stage recognising that flexibility is better than prophecy.
Commercial development area
Residential development area
Primary route including busway
The Hub (mixed use including retail and community facilities)
The majority of Alconbury Weald will be developed on the brownfield former airfield of RAF Alconbury. The airfield was occupied from 1938 to 1995, and came under the control of both the British and American Air Forces. Once decommissioned in 1995, the site was acquired by Prologis in conjunction with BAA Lyton and promoted for rail freight logistics. A planning permission for 7 million square feet of B8 use was granted in 2003 by the Secretary of State following an appeal. Temporary employment uses on the site commenced during this period. Urban&Civic acquired the site in 2009 and neighbouring farmland in 2010.
Following the decommissioning of the airfield, the site had one main entrance and exit which concentrated the traffic flows of all uses on the site.
When the airfield was decommissioned, consent was granted for a number of temporary uses including storage and light industrial activities. Former military buildings have also been used as inexpensive development space for young businesses. These uses collectively employ over 600 people and are continuing but will phase out or move into modern buildings as the site is developed.
The airfield had a range of military buildings including hangers, bunkers and office buildings. A number of these buildings (four) are listed and will be retained however most will be demolished. The demolition of reinforced bunkers has required specialist contractors. We seek to recycle and reuse 98% of all hard standing on the site – a target we are currently exceeding.