Green light for Northstowe temporary community centre plans
South Cambridgeshire District Council’s plans for a temporary community centre at Northstowe have been approved by its Planning Committee.
The District Council submitted a planning application for the centre in mid-January. Following a consultation run by the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service, the Council’s Planning Committee met on Wednesday (8 March) to consider the proposals.
Committee members voted to support the plans for the new building, which will be placed on land owned by the Council next to The Green, on Pathfinder Way. The centre will be alongside the area earmarked for Northstowe’s permanent community centre.
The Council plans to get local residents involved in the creation of artwork which will be displayed on parts of building. There will also be a landscaping scheme agreed, to help enhance biodiversity in the area.
The Council will now work with the contractors supplying the building to confirm the timeline for getting it delivered and equipped – and will let Northstowe residents know an opening date as soon as possible.
The single-storey modular building will include a generous lobby with kitchenette and toilets, storage, and contain 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 and pantry
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
South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Bill Handley, said: “I’m really pleased that we have been able to take this important step towards dedicated community facilities in Northstowe. This new building will provide a space for community groups and residents of all ages to meet, socialise and connect with friends and family. We’ll now be working with the contractors to get the building installed and available for use as quickly as possible – hopefully by the early summer - and we will keep Northstowe residents informed about progress and when it’ll be ready. I can’t wait to see it being used in the near future and I’m particularly looking forward to seeing some community-inspired and exciting artwork designs which will adorn the front of it.”
District Councillor for Northstowe, Cllr Tom Bygott, commented:
“This is another positive step for Northstowe and an exciting addition to our new town. The temporary community centre will provide a central point for local groups to meet and for a range of different activities to take place. I'm really looking forward to seeing the new building in place, and full of enjoyable community groups and events.”
District Councillor for Northstowe, Cllr Natalie Warren-Green added:
“I am in full support of the development of this temporary community building in Northstowe. It is excellent to see that that the vast majority of public comments received about the plans were supportive too. The new centre will help ensure that a wide variety of community groups will have their own space, in a convenient location, providing them what they need to run organised sessions. Along with County Cllr Firouz Thompson and resident Carla Bros, I am a regular volunteer at the Northstowe Market, and we are looking forward to making use of an area near the new centre too. The community groups operating from the Warm Hub, and the food bank, will also now have a more central home in Northstowe. There are so many exciting plans for the new centre; it has space for multifunctional activities including yoga, the Sustainable Northstowe Food Pantry activity, the Youth Hive, and much more. Located next to where the permanent facilities will be built, this milestone offers a sense of visible progress for Northstowe.”
The Council will have permission for the temporary community centre to be in-place for three years. Plans include disabled car parking and cycle racks, whilst additional parking will also be available at the terminus of Pathfinder Way and Park and Ride car park; both are a short walk from the venue.
The Council is responsible for building the permanent community centre, which is expected to open in 2025, as well as the sports pavilion, within the first phase of Northstowe.
Image credit: South Cambridgeshire District Council