An equal partnership between Cambridge City Council and The Hill Group

Published: 3 August 2023

Work has started on the latest phase of new social rent council homes at The Meadows and the nearby Buchan Street, being delivered by Cambridge Investment Partnership.

Work has started on the latest phase of new social rent council homes at The Meadows and the nearby Buchan Street, being delivered by Cambridge Investment Partnership.

Following the completion of Phase 1 earlier this year, Ward Councillors visited site to officially see the progress being made, where 22 one and two-bedroom apartments were completed, including four for wheelchair users, along with the opening of a new state-of-the-art, highly sustainable BREEAM Excellent Community Centre.

At Buchan Street, CIP is providing a further 28 one and two-bedroom council-rent apartments, while The Meadows will see a total of 78 one and two-bedroom apartments for council rent. One of the apartments at Buchan Street will be designed to accommodate wheelchair users.

Cllr Gerri Bird, Executive Councillor for Housing at Cambridge City Council and Cambridge Investment Partnership board member, said, “Our CIP partnership is enabling us to reinvest in the city to create developments like The Meadows and Buchan Street where we can provide affordable homes, which are vitally needed, along with community and commercial facilities which the wider community can benefit from. It's wonderful to see the progress being made at this development.”

CIP has ensured that sustainability is a key part of the development, making all the homes gas-free ahead of the Government’s targets and helping to reduce the impact of fuel poverty. Increased insulation is also included to help prevent heat loss and all apartments are heated through a communal air source heat pump. Solar photovoltaic panels and biodiverse green roofs are included along with MVHR (mechanical ventilation and heat recovery) systems in all new homes and large areas of the new community hub to help maintain clean airflow. Enhanced U-values have been reached with a 68% reduction in CO2.

Electric vehicle charging points are in place, along with the infrastructure for further charging points. Additionally, ample cycle storage facilities are provided to encourage sustainable travel.

Tom Hill, Managing Director at The Hill Group, comments, “Through our partnership, we are ensuring that the homes we deliver are secure, sustainable, and fit for the future. These homes have been designed to meet the demand for smaller homes in the area and also improve health and wellbeing by providing residents with valuable private amenity space, such as a balcony or terrace, with some enjoying views across the enhanced public open space.”

In addition to the new council homes, emphasis has been placed on improving existing open spaces. A new recreational space in the heart of the Meadows development combines a café terrace with a safeguarded community garden, a contained lawn and play area, table tennis, a MUGA (multi-use games area), and new skate and scooter ramps. Terraced planting, new trees, and ornamental planting create buffers between public and private spaces. The hugely popular football pitches have been retained and re-laid to address existing issues with drainage and an uneven playing area and are now Sports England-approved.

The woodland area has been enhanced with understory planting, bat and bird boxes, and log piles. There is also supplementary tree planting throughout and a wildflower meadow to soften the transition from street to mown amenity grassland.

Generous green corridors with wide footpaths, new trees, and ornamental planting are also being created through the layout of the residential and community hub linking the development with the surrounding area.