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August 5, 2022

Sustainable neighbourhood scheme gets planning approval in Cambridge, UK

The Devonshire Gardens project will transform a three-acre site into a neighbourhood with modern workspace and 70 build-to-rent homes.

Cambridge City Council has given planning approval for a sustainable neighbourhood scheme in the heart of Cambridge, UK.

The Devonshire Gardens project, designed by Buckley Gray Yeoman, will be delivered by mixed-use developer Socius and Railpen, an investment manager for the £37bn railways pension schemes. 

Expected to transform a three-acre site earlier used as a Travis Perkins depot into a new neighbourhood that will feature 120,000ft² of modern workspace, 70 build-to-rent homes and community amenities comprising a creche, pavilion and flexible studios, all set around a public park.

To be delivered across two buildings, the workspace is designed to address the requirements of corporates and fast-growing businesses, offering a range of flexible floorplates and spaces for collaboration.

The new homes will feature a combination of apartments, with 20% allocated as affordable according to the local policy.

Powered by electricity from clean energy sources with no dependence on fossil fuels, the new homes are designed to meet the city’s net-zero carbon goals.

The buildings will be linked by a public park featuring over 120 trees and several hundreds of new plant species, in addition to a community food garden.

The project will also create walkways and cycle paths, boosting connectivity to Cambridge rail station whilst supporting the aim of Devonshire Gardens to become a majority car-free neighbourhood.

To be delivered in line with the One Planet Living principles, the project is expected to increase biodiversity on the site by over 350%.

Socius managing director Barry Jessup said: “We are excited to have the opportunity to deliver Devonshire Gardens, which sets a new benchmark in sustainable urban living in the heart of Cambridge.

“We have partnered with a long-term investor in Railpen who share our vision for a future-focused neighbourhood that blends modern collaborative workspace, new homes and community amenities, all set within a new park that provides areas for outside work and relaxation, biodiversity and sustainable food gardens.

“The scheme will connect with the wider city centre and will enhance Cambridge as a hub for world-class innovation and talent.”

Railpen senior development manager Richard van Lente said: “At Railpen, we are committed to creating a portfolio of sustainable assets in key locations that positively contribute to the communities they are part of while delivering exceptional long-term returns for our members.

“We are therefore very pleased with the decision by Cambridge City Council. We are particularly keen to see this development come to life, delivering real value for the people of Cambridge and our members.”

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