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What We Do

Environmental Planning

Cambourne New Settlement


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Cambourne is a 405 ha new settlement west of Cambridge, providing housing and services to meet the needs of a 21st century community within the setting of a traditional South Cambridgeshire village.

Randall Thorp have been responsible for coordinating the development of the Masterplan and undertaking the detailed design of all green infrastruture on site since 1998.

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The Public Inquiry and Site Selection
Following the publication of the County Structure Plan and its recommendation for a new Settlement west of Cambridge, Randall Thorp was invited to establish appropriate site boundaries and develop a preliminary masterplan for a new settlement on land at Great Common Farm, and were retained by Stanhope to assist Arup in developing a detailed masterplan. This along with five other ‘new settlement’ applications were called in for a Public Inquiry in March 1988.

The inquiry lasted over six months with Randall Thorp presenting landscape evidence for the ‘Great Common Farm’ site. In March 1991 the Inspector recommended the Great Common Farm site, having rejected many of the others on landscape and ecological grounds. The Secretary of State then refused all applications. A new site (later to be Cambourne) was submitted that included half the Great Common Farm site. In 1993 South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) approved the Cambourne site.

Development of the Masterplan
Folllowing the grant of Outline Planning Permission in April 1994, Randall Thorp were invited to join a design team to develop Terry Farrell & Co.'s initial Masterplan concepts. The idea was to create a settlement based on three separate villages with a common settlement centre.

Six months of intensive design work followed to ensure the scheme would sit comfortably within the existing countryside and retain and make best use of the few landscape features on the site.

Developing Landscape Objectives and Themes
The key concept behind the Farrell’s Masterplan was to create a settlement that respected the character of traditional South Cambridgeshire villages. Randall Thorp produced detailed character studies of the local countryside and village landscapes. This shaped the Masterplan and Structural Landscape Plan, and provided the basis for the landscape elements of ‘The Cambourne Design Guide’

The Landscape Structure Plan
Submitted by Randall Thorp and approved in 1997, this plan creates a network of landscape types and open spaces. These not only enable the settlement to fit into the surrounding countryside and preserve the few good landscape features on the site, they provide multifunctional green infrastructure, shelter, screening, areas for recreation, areas for wildlife and a sustainable drainage system.