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Lib Dems implementing Arbury Park lessons to improve future design

January 13, 2009 10:17 AM
Cllr Sian Reid

Cllr Sian Reid

Lessons learnt from mistakes made on the Arbury Park housing estate - now renamed Orchard Park - are already being implemented in future designs for Cambridge.

That's the message which will be given to Cambridge City Councillors when a scrutiny report on the estate by South Cambridgeshire District Council is considered today.

Cambridge City Executive Councillor for Climate Change and Growth Sian Reid will tell members that it's encouraging that recommendations in the report are already being put into practice on the city fringes.

A high-powered Joint Urban Design Team was set up last year between the city council and South Cambridgeshire District Council to bring together top class professional talent to drive forward high quality design.

Cllr Reid said: "We are very grateful to SCDC for compiling a good report and it is encouraging to see that many of the recommendations are already being included in the approach adopted by the city council and South Cambs joint development control.

"The urban design team will work on the city fringes and its effectiveness has already been demonstrated in the southern fringe."

The report, which will be considered by Cambridge City Council's environment scrutiny committee, admits that the project suffered from a lack of community identity.

Isolated streets were accessed across building sites and community facilities were not available soon enough, claims the report.

The lack of an urban designer on the project reduced the design quality and, although a design guide had been drafted with the council, it was not formally adopted and therefore not applied.

The report recommends the need for skilled urban designers working from a design guide, small affordable housing clusters and schools to be placed at the centre of the community.

Cottenham, Histon and Impington County Councillor David Jenkins said: "One of the most valuable lessons learnt is the need to put community facilities and infrastructure in place before building new homes. This was not done at Orchard Park and has led to it struggling to find its own identity."