Plans for a permanent community center for Northstow are provided by South Cambridgeshire County Council

Plans for a new permanent community center in Northstow have been submitted by South Cambridgeshire County Council.

The authority is seeking permission to build the new facility, which will include a group of rooms, a main hall with a capacity of 250 seats, and a food bank.

Illustrative image of the proposed Northstow permanent community centre. Photo: South Cambridgeshire County Council.

The order outlines plans for a two-story, L-shaped building on land north of Pathfinder Road, designed with people of “all ages and mobility levels in mind”.

Cllr Bill Handley, Principal Communities Cabinet Member of the Council, said: “We are very excited about our plans for a permanent community center in Northstowe. The local people had a lot of input and really helped us shape the design. We aim to build a warm and welcoming building that serves the community, its activities and groups For decades to come, nature and the environment will be at the center of plans.

“Now we really need the community to tell us what they think to make sure the building will provide what they need. I would encourage people who live in and around Northstow to have their say by commenting on the planning application.

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Northstowe currently has a temporary community facility which opened in July after previous council plans had failed.

The council had planned to purchase two homes and a sales office in the town for use as a community facility, but legal issues prevented the purchase from moving forward.

The new center is proposed to include a main multi-purpose hall, coffee shop, kitchen area and food bank, with confidential access arrangements planned.

Illustrative image of the proposed Northstow permanent community centre. Photo: South Cambridgeshire County Council.

The center can also include a community and co-working area, described as a “free space for community book sharing/swap shop” with a co-working space and computer area. It also proposes consultation and meeting rooms.

A ‘disruptive activity’ room is planned, as well as outdoor areas with seating and safe spaces for children to play.

The application suggests that the center be built using Passivhaus principles, which means it has very high standards of insulation and air tightness, which reduces energy demand. Solar panels and ground-based heat pumps are also included to provide on-site renewable energy generation.

The council expects most residents to walk or cycle to the centre, so 70 bike parking spaces are included, as well as equipment for four electric car charging spaces and parking spaces.

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Building plans also feature green roofs, flowers, plants, hedges, solar panels, integrated bird/bat boxes, deadwood features and a bee house. Combined, this has helped achieve a net biodiversity gain of 19 percent in the planning application, as part of the Council’s commitment to promoting nature and net zero.

“I am delighted to see plans for a permanent community center in Northstowe take a step forward and encourage residents to take a look and have a say,” said Cllr Tom Bygott, who represents Northstowe.

Illustrative image of the proposed Northstow permanent community centre. Photo: South Cambridgeshire County Council.

Northstow Council Fellow Cllr Natalie Warren-Green added: “I am delighted to see progress on the permanent community centre. I have visited many facilities like this one in the South Cambs area that bring people together and build a vibrant community spirit. I am delighted that Northstow is close to having a centre. Permanent for residents to use for a wide range of activities, a café, and as a base for community team and health workers too.

A major joint planning service in Cambridge has launched a three-week public consultation as part of the planning process before an application is determined.

For comment, visit bit.ly/44EUoiY and search using planning reference 23/03248/REM – by September 22nd.

Additional reporting by Hannah Brown, Domestic Democracy correspondent.

(tags for translation) South Cambridgeshire

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