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HCA cash boost to get new village up and running

HCA cash boost to get new village up and running

The project to build a whole new village on the site of a former RAF airfield has been given a major boost by a £45 million loan from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

It will help speed up the progress of developing the Alconbury Weald site near Huntingdon, on which Urban&Civic is to build 4,500 homes.

The construction project will also see 300,000 sq ft of commercial space being created for businesses launched under the auspices of the Greater Cambridge-Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership, plus three primary schools and one secondary school.

The money has come from the government's £3 billion Home Building Fund, which is designed to get new developments started faster.

HCA chief executive Nick Walkley said: "This deal is exactly the sort of thing we are here to do - providing the means to realise the full potential of development sites and provide the impetus to enable a real transformation in local housing markets."

In turn, Urban&Civic chief executive Nigel Hugill remarked: "At Alconbury Weald we have brought forward infrastructure spend as a direct consequence of the HCA’s involvement."

The Alconbury Weald development is one of several former air bases being redeveloped as housing. As well as providing brownfield land in otherwise green countryside where new building would have been controversial, it is creating commuter towns in a region with growing housing needs but also considerable economic potential in areas like high-tech sciences.

Cambridge is one location where this is particularly the case and Urban&Civic is also now working on developing a settlement of 6,500 new homes at Waterbeach Barracks on the northern edge of the city. Mr Hugill has described it as "the best brownfield site in the country" outside London.

The development of housing in Cambridgeshire is to become the responsibility of a new elected mayor, following the announcement this week by communities secretary Sajid Javid that a new deal has been established for the county.

It means the office holder who is elected on May 4th will have a budget of £170 million for housing and extensive planning powers to decide how this is deployed.


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