when do you plan to submit a planning application for your proposals?

A planning application was submitted to Cambridge City Council in 2021 and refused at Planning Committee on the basis of the heights of some of the buildings.

Revisions have since been made to the proposals to address the reasons for refusal and reduce the heights of the buildings. A revised planning application will be submitted in April 2022.

what are the main changes you have made following consultation?

The principles of this development have been welcomed throughout this consultation process and, as such, we have built on the feedback that we have received from the local community to date. This includes a focus on the design of the public space to make it inclusive for all, and the provision of community space and amenities, such as a crèche.

The designs you see here today were the designs submitted to Cambridge City Council. We continue to welcome community feedback via info@devonshiregardenscambridge.com.

The local authority will additionally carry out its own statutory consultation on the proposals.

Are the proposed residential units intended for local people or will they be aimed at those who live outside cambridge?

We are building homes that are available for everyone to live in, but we very much hope that the Devonshire Gardens development will attract people already living in Cambridge and the surrounding area. All these homes will remain under the long-term ownership of Railpen as a professional landlord. There will be comprehensive maintenance, security and upkeep of the buildings.

Access to green space continues to be very popular. Can you share any further detail?

Feedback across all engagement has highlighted the desire from the local community to see large, open green spaces where people can meet and community events can be held. This has been a focus of our design, responding to the community need and opening up the site for all to enjoy.

We will deliver generous and welcoming new public green spaces with an open park at the heart of the scheme. The space will be flexible, able to host community events and activities.  We want to give back public, open space to the community and this central green park will be accessible from a number of entrances, improving pedestrian routes in line with local feedback.

Landscaping for this space will include an extensive tree canopy, interconnected paths throughout the site, a varied planting design and edible landscapes, responding to requests for more trees, and open, grassy areas. Flora and fauna will flourish, as this brownfield site is extensively greened with a new public park, additional plants and trees, bird boxes, bug hotels and other ecological improvements.

The removal of the fence around the existing site – particularly along Devonshire Road – will open up the street, and the setback nature of the residential component facing the Victorian terraced houses will allow the existing width of the pavement to be increased, creating more space for pedestrians and cyclists.

Will there be affordable housing throughout the site?

In line with national guidance, at least 20% of the homes will be affordable and rent levels will be at least 20% below local market rents. This is also consistent with guidance contained within the Council’s emerging build-to-rent policy.

What is ‘build-to-rent’?

Build-to-rent is a relatively new concept in the UK and particularly to Cambridge. Homes delivered using this approach are built to be rented rather than sold. They are managed by a single professional landlord, offering a high level of standards and security of tenure, including quality living spaces for families or individual occupiers, with access to internal and external shared communal facilities.

They are homes to be lived in, rather than properties to purchase as investments, supporting our commitment to creating a community and complementing the existing character of the local area.

When do you envisage these proposals will be built?

Should we secure consent this year, we should be in a position to start on site in the middle of 2023, which will see it completed in mid-2025.

What are the next steps for your proposals?

We are focused on securing planning consent with a revised application, which will be submitted in April.

How sustainable will your proposals be?

We will be replacing a private builder’s yard with new homes, offices, a crèche and publicly accessible green open space, delivering significant environmental improvements to Devonshire Road. There will be reduced noise and improved air quality as a result.

Due to the sustainable, central location of the site and its proximity to Mill Road, Cambridge city centre and the railway station, our proposals aim to be largely car-free. We will also be supporting the Chisholm Trail, a new walking and cycling route which will connect Cambridge’s two rail stations and the north and south sections of the Busway cycleway.

In addition, there will be generous provision for cyclists, with parking, both outside for the visiting public and secure facilities within the buildings for tenants, guests and residents. This includes increased cycle storage provision with flexibility to store cargo bikes and e-bikes, as well as charging facilities.

The development will have no fossil fuels on site with an all-electric approach, powered by a combination of extensive, roof-level solar panels and an increasingly decarbonised grid. We are also adopting a fabric-first approach ensuring that the homes and offices are very well insulated in order to reduce energy demand in winter and mitigate the risk of overheating in summer. 

We are members of the UK Green Building Council and Cambridge Clean Tech and we will be engaging with local groups including Cambridge Carbon Footprint and Cambridge Climate Emergency to share ideas, encourage dialogue and promote best practice to businesses, organisations and the local community.

Will there be space for pedestrians and cyclists within your development?

Absolutely. We will be seeking to support and integrate the Chisolm Trail into our site, as well as including new walking and cycling routes for this part of Cambridge. There will be generous provision for cyclists, with parking, both outside for the visiting public and secure facilities within the buildings for tenants, guests and residents. This includes increased cycle storage provision with flexibility to store cargo bikes and e-bikes as well as charging facilities.

Space for pedestrians, not only within the site but also along Devonshire Road, will be increased with the set back buildings along Devonshire Road, allowing the introduction of a second, wider pavement, in line with feedback.

How tall will your proposals be?

The height of buildings across the site will range from 2 – 5 storeys, although the tallest elements will be significantly set back from the road. 

How will the site be kept safe?

Homes across the site will remain under the long-term ownership of Railpen as a professional landlord, with comprehensive maintenance, security and upkeep of all buildings.

The Applicant will be engaging with the council, police and other local stakeholders on community safety issues to ensure appropriate design prevention strategies are in place.

Can I still comment on proposals?

Of course. Whilst the Give My View platform is no longer live, we welcome all feedback emailed to info@devonshiregardenscambridge.com.

The local authority will additionally carry out their own consultation on the proposals.