Bassingbourn population ‘to increase tenfold’ if new town is built along Oxford-to-Cambridge corridor rail link

PUBLISHED: 08:30 21 December 2017 | UPDATED: 08:34 21 December 2017

A map in the report, illustrating the area for a potential new town at Bassingbourn. Picture: 5th Studio

A map in the report, illustrating the area for a potential new town at Bassingbourn. Picture: 5th Studio

Archant

The population of Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth could see a tenfold increase if the recommendations of a new report are taken up by the Government.

A map in the report, illustrating the area for a potential new town at Bassingbourn. Picture: 5th Studio A map in the report, illustrating the area for a potential new town at Bassingbourn. Picture: 5th Studio

The National Infrastructure Commission, an independent body that advises the Government, has made the suggestion to incorporate a new town north of the village while outlining opportunities for the Oxford-to-Cambridge corridor amid the new East West Rail link.

Planners 5th Studio produced the 144-page report, which describes how a million homes could be built by 2050 along an East West Rail route – passing through our area in between Bassingbourn and Royston.

The findings have come about as in March 2016, the NIC was asked to consider how to maximise the potential of the Cambridge–Milton Keynes–Oxford corridor as a “single, knowledge-intensive cluster that competes on a global stage, protecting the area’s high quality environment, and securing the homes and jobs that the area needs”.

The recommendations would see the village – which the report deems “large enough to be considered a town” – expand to incorporate the 443-hectare new town complete with rail station build on land between Bassingbourn and Wendy, with a population of 31,000.

The report assumes that East West Rail will be routed via the current Bassingbourn Barracks site, despite plans for military service personnel to return there next year.

It states that MOD operations would need to be “incorporated or reprovisioned on another site with less development potential/value – for example Mildenhall in Suffolk – as part of an ongoing process of consolidation of military sites.”

It also cites a big reason for having the new town at Bassingbourn would be its proximity to London commuter links, and to the ‘Cambridge cluster’ of high-tech firms.

The report states: “A new town would undoubtedly act as a commuter settlement for London – as Royston station on the line to Kings Cross is only 10 minutes away – and Cambridge with direct trains to the three main employment areas in the city.”

It would accommodate the growth of medium-sized, expanding and spin-off bioscience firms forming part of the cluster, and isn’t far from GlaxoSmithKline in Stevenage, and would therefore “be in the heart of one of the biggest specialist bioscience labour markets in Europe”.

To read the report in full go to www.nic.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/5thStudio-FinalReport.pdf

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