07 - 12 - 2023

We are pleased to announce the recent submission of the East Barnwell Local Centre. The new development in North Cambridge provides 120 homes alongside a community centre, library, preschool, commercial spaces, with an improved public plaza and a new public green on a 1.5-hectare site. The Cambridge Investment Partnership, a joint venture between Cambridge City Council and Hill Group, commissioned BPTW for the design following several recent successful projects.

BPTW’s masterplan creates a new heart at the centre of the East Barnwell community, reviving and consolidating community functions on two sites. The Vision for East Barnwell and Framework for Change inspired the design, which local Councillors commended for improving the quality of life for local people as a step forward in the much-needed regeneration of East Barnwell.

The sites are currently home to the Abbey Bowls Club and the local centre on Barnwell Road, which comprises shops, apartments, and a public library. The Bowls Club will be relocated to the Abbey Leisure Complex with the creation of a new green and pavilion, along with an expanded multi-use games area.

With local buildings predominantly two to three-storeys tall, BPTW’s design has a stepped massing that transitions from the low-rise residential streets to a new six-storey building facing the plaza. The development is sympathetic to the surrounding houses and includes a variety of building typologies, including deck access and mansion flat block styles, to respond to the varied street scene. While the new elevations are individually distinct, BPTW collaborated with the Cambridge City planning department to specify a cohesive material palette of buff, yellow and light-red bricks to unite the scheme. White brick accents highlight pedestrian areas at ground level to assist wayfinding.

The new scheme surrounds a busy junction, creating a challenging design environment due to noise issues. BPTW engaged with the council’s Environmental Health Officers early to agree on design strategies that best mitigated environmental issues; for example the design incorporates deck-access homes facing the busy road to create a comfortable internal environment alongside good ventilation and daylight. BPTW has benchmarked the new homes against the Passivhaus standard and designed the new community and retail spaces to achieve BREEAM Excellent.

East Barnwell is a prominent scheme in North Cambridge and compliments BPTW’s growing portfolio of projects in the area. To date, BPTW has designed numerous affordable homes for the Cambridge Investment Partnership, including 177 homes at Colville Road and 75 homes at Campkin Road.

BPTW Partner and project lead, Neill Campbell, commented, “Our design for East Barnwell reinvigorates important community facilities with much-needed homes in one central location, helping to create a sustainable, resilient neighbourhood. A careful balancing of factors saw the team address challenging site conditions whilst making the most of the place potential for community benefit. We have been able to maximise much needed affordable residential provision whilst delivering a large majority of dual aspect homes with good views over the public realm. We are pleased to have worked collaboratively with CIP and a great project team to submit the scheme for planning, with strong support from consultees, and we look forward to seeing the project realised.”

Cllr Gerri Bird, Executive Councillor for Housing and Homelessness at Cambridge City Council, and a CIP board member said, “We are delighted to submit these plans, which will bring forward long-awaited new community facilities and modern, sustainable housing for the East Barnwell community as well as opportunities for businesses and employment.”

Tom Hill, Managing Director at The Hill Group, said, “We are delighted to be submitting this planning application which has been formed through extensive engagement with planning officers and consultation with the local community to progress proposals that will create a more liveable, accessible, and sustainable neighbourhood for local people and visitors.”