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WhatHouse? On Tour: Alconbury Weald, Cambridgeshire

Posted 20 February 2020 by Keith Osborne

We visit Alconbury Weald, a major new development bringing many new homes to a former RAF base near Huntingdon...

The WhatHouse? team has taken time out of the office at the invitation of master developer Urban&Civic to see first-hand the work going on at Alconbury Weald, where thousands of new homes and commercial premises are coming on the outskirts of Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire.

Huntingdon is around 60 miles north of London but only an hour by train from King’s Cross, and the marketing suite is just a 10-minute drive from the station. We’re welcomed by Rebecca Britton, head of communities and partnerships for Urban&Civic, who takes us through the history and some of the numbers of this major development.

The project that will deliver 6,500 new homes over the next 15 years, of which 879 are now being built in Phase 1. The 1,425-acre site was an RAF site which from 1942 was used by the US Air Force which played a major role in hostilities and during the Cold War, until it closed in 1995. There will be two new primary schools (the first, Ermine Street Church Academy, was opened in 2016 and is rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted),one secondary school and three local and district centres across the development, as well as extensive community facilities, a health centre, green open spaces and sports pitches.

Alconbury Weald also has a dedicated enterprise zone with office, manufacturing and light industrial units which will provide many job opportunities. In April 2019, Urban&Civic launched the Alconbury Weald Construction training Hub, which provides local unemployed and ex-military servicemen with training opportunities, helping them find work at partner companies. Since April, the training hub has had more than 200 people through the door.

In addition to brand new roads, a network of pedestrian and cycle routes will be provided, and there’s even an area which has been reserved for a possible new rail station on the East Coast Mainline.

Rebecca tells that the masterplan has been designed so that for as many new residents as possible, something will be “within a minutes’ walk from home”. There has been extensive consultation with people in the surrounding villages, many of whom grew up with the airfield there.

The rain is pouring but we drive around the site to see points of interest. At the centre of the site is the two-mile runway and we also pass the nuclear bunker and the hangars which used to house U2 spy planes and which will later house a heritage centre dedicated to the site’s history. There are numerous listed buildings around the site and others already in use – for example, around one-third of the UK’s firework supplies are stored in protective buildings here.

Alconbury WealdLand has been sold off to a range of housebuilders, with Redrow, Hopkins Homes, Crest Nicholson, and Morris Homes currently selling there, and Urban&Civic has launched its own limited range of homes, Civic Living. Between them, they have around 60-70 different house types, with Civic Living selling many of theirs in a range of brick and weatherboard finishes.

We look around one of the completed homes, the three-storey ‘The Maltings’, which has recently been reserved. It has the clean lines and large windows of the current selection of houses for sale, with the kitchen shows the integrated appliances, contemporary units and worktops of the standard specification.

There are a number of house types neighbouring it, a range of two- and three-bedroom homes. One example is ‘The Broughton’, which is currently for sale from £329,950. It has a triple-aspect living room at the front, a kitchen/dining room at the rear. Upstairs, the master bedroom has an en suite shower room and like double bedroom two, has access to a private balcony. There’s also a single bedroom and family bathroom. This property comes with a car port and private driveway for another car.

So far, there has been interest from a whole spectrum of buyers, including first-timers who can get far more for their money here than in Cambridge (half-an-hour down the nearby A14), local people moving up the property ladder and house-hunters looking to move from London. The open spaces, cycle routes and the school have been strong selling points.

The Civic Living marketing suite is open Thursday to Monday, from 10.00am to 5.00pm, and is contactable on 01480 272422. You can also find out more on civicliving.co.uk. Two- and three-bedroom houses currently start at £269,950. Since our visit, a number of one- and two-bedroom apartments with private balcony or terrace have also been released for sale by Civic Living, from £179,950.

Also currently selling at this development are Redrow, Hopkins Homes, Morris Homes and Crest Nicholson, between them offering a selection of three-, four- and five-bedroom houses in their own designs, as well as one and two-bedroom apartments.

Please tell them you heard about the homes here through Whathouse.com

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