Local community invited to reflect on what lockdown has meant to them on the ‘Tree of Plenty”

On the junction between Kingston, Sturton and Hooper Street, an eye-catching, colourful tree has appeared decorated with garlands, ribbons, beads and wonderful messages.

This Tree of Plenty is the inspiration of our Artist in Residence at Ironworks, Hilary Cox Condron, who was keen to engage with the local community and help them mark their experiences and memories of lockdown.

Hilary explains,

“Art and nature really helped me through the lockdown period and I wanted to create something for the local community that could be used to stimulate peoples imagination and allow them to think about what they want to take away from the lockdown experience.

“I asked residents to make a Garland of Thanks to put on the Tree of Plenty so they could share who or what has been important to them, give thanks and most of all spread of little joy. The reaction to it so far has been really positive and I am so impressed with what has been created.”

Local resident Julie brought along a beautiful stream of ribbons and beads that she made for a project. She is already retired and said lockdown hadn’t made that much difference to her.

Sue bought some rosemary from her garden, a herb of remembrance which has been tied to the bottom of the tree.

Many others have posted about time spent homemaking, mending sheds, making sourdough bread, tending to allotments that have never looked so good and going through old photos and memoirs. Another resident has even seen butterflies in his garden for the first time whilst others spoke about goldfinches, ladybirds and even grass snakes.

Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Housing at Cambridge City Council and CIP board member adds, “The Tree of Plenty is a wonderful addition to the Mill Road area and a lovely way to positively reflect on what has happened this year. As a partnership we have commissioned an extensive programme of public art across our programme of new housing with a number of different artists, including Hilary, who are working with the existing community to create stunning artwork that will eventually be installed across our developments.”

As part of the programme, titled Resonance Cambridge, the artists commissioned will be delivering a range of talks, walks, workshops and much more in collaboration with local residents over the next few years. The activities and stories collected will inform the design and character of the artworks commissioned for the new public spaces being created.

At the former Mill Road depot, we are building 236 new studio, one and two bedroom apartments and two, three and four bedroom houses, 118 of which are council rented homes. Known as Ironworks, the scheme has been designed to reflect the industrial character of the area by combining bold and contemporary design to create a distinctive collection of homes, in keeping with the aesthetics of the area.

For further information about the public art programme ‘Resonance-Cambridge’ and to find out about events taking place in locations across Cambridge please visit www.resonance-cambridge.co.uk

For those interested in sharing their thoughts and stories with Hilary please contact her at hilarycoxcondron@gmail.com. Hilary will be holding an ‘Resonate and Reconnect’ exhibition at The Museum of Cambridge in December.

New council homes at Gunhild Way are handed over

We have recently completed two further brand new council homes at Gunhild Way, in the Queen Edith’s Ward of Cambridge.

The two bedroom council homes are part of the council’s strategy to make better use of under-utilised land in the City and has been built simultaneously with Queens Meadow, Markham Close, Wulfstan Way and Colville Garages. Both homes include gardens and off-street parking.

A number of sustainable features have been incorporated into the design including photovoltaic solar panels, reduced water consumption and carbon emissions.

The Cromwell Road team gives Fields Nursery a helping hand

Our Cromwell Road site team has recently helped The Fields Nursery School in the Abbey Ward of Cambridge by completing some works which would enable them to open safely in September.

The work included covering the sandpit and mud kitchen and providing segregation within the playground to ensure they are Covid secure for when the pupils return.

Green light given for brand new community hub and council homes at The Meadows and Buchan Street

Following extensive consultation with residents, local community groups, staff and other stakeholders, we are delighted to have been granted planning permission at the Meadows and Buchan Street sites for the redevelopment of the council owned Meadows and Buchan Street community centres along with much needed council rented homes.

Planning was granted for The Meadows site at the first meeting of the new Joint Development Control Committee, made up of Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council, as it crosses council boundary areas, whilst Buchan Street was granted planning by Cambridge City Council.

The two existing community facilities will be replaced with a modern, highly sustainable community hub, which will include large, flexible multi-purpose spaces that can be used to provide pre-school, children, family and youth activities, classes such as IT or health and rehabilitation fitness classes.

There will also be increased meeting spaces and a new café area, providing opportunities for further income generation for the hub. Extensive consultation with staff and user groups has resulted in enhanced designs to maximise flexibility and future proofing whilst improving accessibility.

The Meadows site will also provide 78 new one and two bedroom apartments for council rent and the Buchan Street site will see 28 one and two bedroom council rented flats built. Four of the flats at The Meadows and one at Buchan Street will be for wheelchair users.

Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Housing for Cambridge City Council and CIP board member comments,

“We are delighted to get the go ahead on these important sites for Cambridge Investment Partnership. Over the past year we have consulted extensively with local residents and stakeholders to ensure that we have taken into account their views and refined our proposals for the sites, particularly with regards to the open space at St Alban’s recreation ground.

“We look forward to delivering a fantastic new facility which can be enjoyed by everyone along with much needed council rented homes in the north of Cambridge to address the housing shortage.”

The new developments will offer high levels of sustainability with the community hub designed to BREEAM Excellent, which is in the top 10% of non-domestic buildings in the UK. The Cambridge Local Plan targets 19% carbon reduction on 2013 Building Regulations and both sites will achieve around 60% in carbon reduction, significantly exceeding local plan requirements.

Tom Hill, Regional Director for Hill said,

“As a partnership we are committed to building with the community in mind and are very pleased that The Meadows and Buchan Street has been granted planning. We will not only create much needed new homes but deliver a first class community hub which will provide the local community with better facilities for years to come.

“Sustainability is also an integral part of our design and we will be providing electric charging points for cars, 230 cycle spaces across the two sites, underground recycling bins and green roofs, with solar photovoltaic panels and air source heat pumps as the main energy sources.”

The council published a Community Centres Strategy in 2019 which identified that a community centre serving both Arbury and Kings Hedges residents is essential and a priority location for delivering outreach services. However, it identified overlaps in the existing provision and an opportunity to provide community based services more efficiently and sustainably in future, in one enhanced new, modern, fit for the future community hub. This also created an opportunity to use any surplus land created to provide additional new council rented homes.

At Buchan Street plans also include new open space, a public plaza, and retention of a café and shop space.

As part of the plans 93.6% of the open space will be retained, as opposed to 85% proposed under the first consultation and 92% in the second.

A net total of 109 new trees will also be planted, and as well as retaining the zip wire and trim trail, a new MUGA (multi-use games area), an improved free-draining football pitch, new play areas, and a new skate ramp will be provided at the recreation ground, replacing the current provision. Within the plans, enhanced meadows and woodland areas will also mean an overall improvement of 65% in biodiversity for the open space.

Delivering more brand new council homes

As part of our strategy to utilise under-used parcels of City Council land, we have completed our Colville Garages site to provide three, brand new two bedroom council rented homes with off-street parking.

Colville Garages is located at the Colville Road garage site in the Cherry Hinton Ward, which sits at the centre of an existing housing development. It was identified for redevelopment as part of the Council’s land audit and has been built simultaneously with our other garages sites to deliver new council homes at Queen’s Meadow, Markham Close, Wulfstan Way and Gunhild Way.

Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Housing for Cambridge City Council and CIP board member comments,

“As a partnership we are committed to building at least 500 brand new council homes by March 2022 from a mixed portfolio of sites including garage and garden infills sites. It is wonderful to see this piece of land being used to provide new council homes for local people.”

The homes at Colville Garages have been designed by Mole Architects and have a number of sustainable features including photovoltaic solar panels, reduced water consumption and a 19% reduction in carbon emission. There is also cycle storage.

Tom Hill, Regional Director for Hill said,

“We are delighted to see residents moving into their new homes at Colville Garages. The completion of this site along with Anstey Way and Queen’s Meadow has meant we have been able to deliver 61 much needed high quality council homes to the City so far this year. With strict guidelines still in place across all our sites, I would like to thank everyone involved in working hard to safely deliver these projects.”

Residents move into Queen’s Meadow

We are delighted to see residents moving into our recently completed Queen’s Meadow development in the Cherry Hinton Ward of Cambridge. The Queen’s Meadow site is the first of five garage sites to be completed by the partnership and provides two council rented houses, both three bedrooms with gardens and off-street parking.

The site was made available through the Council’s land audit with underused land on Coldham’s Lane identified for development for new housing, along with sites at Gunhild Way, Markham Close, Wulfstan Way and Colville Garages.

A number of sustainable features have been incorporated into the design including photovoltaic solar panels, reduced water consumption and carbon emissions.

Eye-catching public art unveiled at our Anstey Way development

Our first public art has been unveiled at Anstey Way, Trumpington as part of the ‘Resonance-Cambridge’ project, an extensive programme of commissioning across our developments.

Colchester based artist, Sarah Sabin, applied to be one of the artists to deliver public art at CIP’s developments in the city. Renowned for creating art ‘which digs about under the surface of places,’ Sarah was really interested in the local history of the Trumpington area and worked closely with local community groups to influence the design and character of the artwork.

Sarah explains,

“I was keen to delve into the history of the area, in particular the history of farming and the Plant Breeding Institute so was delighted to be able to work closely with Trumpington Local History Group to learn more. Trumpington conveys a sense that it’s a nurturing place to live with existing residents welcoming newcomers into the community and I was keen to convey the idea of how a community grows and what underpins the communities that continue to flourish.”

Working with two classes from Fawcett Primary School and various groups including the Trumpington Local History Group and Residents Association, Sarah hosted a series of workshops using different mediums, including the creation of cyanotypes (or sun prints) of local plant life which would form the base of the artwork design. The children investigated the themes of growing and community through talking, exploring and making in various ways and created handmade paper from shredding recycling paper on which they wrote words about their village.

Sarah continues,

“Using digitally manipulated imagery and layered cyanotypes I wanted each entrance at Anstey Way to have an individual identity which related to different aspects of Trumpington and could be overlaid onto the base design and transferred onto the tiles around the entrance. I am thrilled with what has been produced and it’s wonderful to see it finally in situ.”

  • Entrance A is the Plant Breeding Institute. The work of the nearby (now closed) plant breeding institute, to develop crops such as the Maris piper potato, and explore disease resistance is featured on this entrance.
  • Entrance B focus is Allotments and uses tools, eggs, plant pots, bees and other objects amongst the vegetation printed onto the tiles.
  • Entrance C is the Community Orchard and within the design, Sarah has used various fruits and blossoms from the community orchard fruit trees along with images of swifts.
  • Entrance D is River & Nature. The local nature reserve and river are featured through the fish, plant, bird and insect life that can be found.
  • Entrance E is Archaeology. Some local archaeological discoveries, such as the cross, ceramic vessels and parts of a bed, have been scattered through the design.
  • Entrance F is School. The pupils from Fawcett Primary School created plaster tablets using toys and various objects to depict the growing nature of their village, which were scanned and included in the design.
  • Entrance K is the Wilson Brothers’ and commemorates three local brothers who were killed in the First World War.
  • Entrance L is Historical Features and features deconstructed aspects of the village sign and milestones.

Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Housing for Cambridge City Council and CIP board member comments,

“Cambridge is rich in public art and we are committed to continued support for arts and culture, which boosts the local economy by creating jobs, attracting visitors, revitalising places, creating community cohesion and has a positive impact on health and wellbeing.

“It is wonderful to see the fantastic public art installed in our first development at Anstey Way and see all the ideas incorporated from local community groups and school children incorporated in it.”

As part of the public art project, sculptors Rodney Harris and Valda Jackson also created artwork within a section of the bricks. Through inspiration from the connection of Maris Piper potatoes that was developed at the former Plant Breeding Institute in Trumpington, Cambridge, a sack of potatoes has been carved into the brickwork to commemorate  what is possibly one of the most widely known variety of potato.

Anstey Way is our first completed development and has replaced 26 aging council homes that were previously on the site with 56 one, two and three bedroom council rented apartments for local residents.

Marking the completion of our first development of brand new council homes

We are thrilled to have marked the completion of our first development of brand new council homes with a ribbon cutting ceremony by Cllr Richard Johnson.

Anstey Way is our first completed development for the partnership which was established three years ago in a bid to tackle the housing shortage across Cambridge. The development has replaced 26 aging council homes that were previously on the site with 56 one, two and three bedroom council rented apartments for local residents.

Anstey Way also sees the delivery of the first Housing First properties in Cambridge, comprising of a one bedroom flat and a ground floor wheelchair accessible flat.

The Cambridge Housing First programme is a pioneering new deal between Cambridge City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council to provide homes for rough sleepers in the city and create a quicker and more effective route out of homelessness.

Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Housing for Cambridge City Council and CIP board member said:

“It is an honour to mark the completion of the first CIP development in Cambridge. This partnership with Hill has enabled the Council to accelerate its plans to build badly-needed council housing in the City and these 56 new homes are just the start of our programme to deliver 500 new council homes by March 2022, with 480 council rented homes already granted planning.”

Tom Hill, Director of Hill comments,

“We are delighted to have our first occupations at Anstey Way, a site which was previously occupied by poor quality council bungalows and flats which no longer met the standards expected, transformed into much needed, high quality council rented homes.

“This milestone means a huge amount to us as a business working in partnership with Cambridge City Council to tackle the housing need in the City and these new homes will enhance the quality of living and lifestyle for existing and future residents for years to come.”

Sustainability is also key at Anstey Way and include energy saving features such increased insulation to reduce heat loss and energy bills, solar photovoltaic panels and battery storage to generate electricity to light the communal areas. £125,000 has also been allotted to local play areas, parks and sports centre and CIP has allocated £35,000 towards two public art commissions.

Creative children design their dream sustainable homes

Congratulations to Umberto, Belle and Elsie who won our Design Your Dream Sustainable Home competition we held at the start of lockdown.

The fantastic entries showed a great deal of thought and creativity and a stacks of imagination. The children were asked to consider:

  • Including the typical rooms you normally find in a home such as kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedrooms
  • Think about the environmental features such as green roofs, solar panels, insulation
  • Include some recycling features
  • And add a bit of imagination and fun

Umberto, aged 8 took the time and effort to design a 3D City of the Future using just paper, pens and tape. He created a variety of sustainable buildings, green areas, a farm, park with everything powered using solar energy and energy from the ground.

Elsie, aged 6 created a fantastic blue house using a mix of bricks and candy floss with a grass roof for sustainability.

Belle, aged 9 painted her sustainable home and created a series of floor plans as well as an explanation of how the house is sustainable. She said,

“My house is sustainable because it has solar panels on its roof and the antenna connection to Sputnik, the first ever satellite to go into space. I decided on these features because it had to be green and solar panels are green, and I like history, so because Sputnik was made in the cold war I wanted to include it in some way. I hope you like my entry!”

We were so impressed with the entries that the winners each received a voucher to spend on their favourite things.

Major milestone as our first residents move into their brand new council homes

With construction sites being given the green light to reopen following lockdown restrictions, we are delighted to be welcoming our new residents to their brand new council rented homes at Anstey Way in Trumpington, Cambridgeshire.

We have been able to partially re-open our sites under strict Government guidelines which has allowed a limited number of staff to return to work to complete nearly finished units in order to get them handed over to those already allocated the new council homes.

Tom Hill, Director of Hill said,

“As a partnership we are committed to delivering much needed new council homes in Cambridge and following a review of our procedures we have been able to operate on site, under social distancing rules, in order to complete a number of new homes for local residents. We are delighted that we have been able to do this and see the completion of these much needed, high quality council rented homes.

“We also welcome the opportunity for local Cambridge subcontractors, who are often self-employed, to be able to return to work on the CIP sites. Our thoughts continue to be with those who are suffering from Covid-19 and their families.”

Anstey Way is our first completed development which has replaced 26 aging council homes that were previously on the site with 56 one, two and three bedroom council rented apartments for local residents. So far 37 new homes have been handed over with a further 19 in the coming weeks.

Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Housing for Cambridge City Council and CIP board member adds:

“In these uncertain times, it is wonderful to see residents moving into their brand new council homes at Anstey Way and the positive impact these properties are having on the families and the local community.

“Providing new council homes remains a top priority for the council as we work to address the housing affordability crisis in the city. I would like to thank the team who have worked tirelessly over many weeks to put in place programmes to allow this vital work to be completed. This development also marks a significant point in our partnership with Hill to deliver 500 brand new council homes across the city by March 2022.”

We are also working hard to complete three brand new council homes at Colville Garages, two at Queens Meadow and two at Gunhild Way.