The brownfield site, virtually surrounded by a conservation area, previously accommodated single storey government offices - now transferred to a new multi-storey building onsite. Countryside Properties purchased the part designated for housing in 2003 after commissioning a masterplan from Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects (FCBa).
Restrictive covenants and planning restraints limited housing numbers, defined distances from neighbouring roads and protected mature trees, the setting of a neighbouring Grade II listed building and the landscape corridor of Hobson's Brook and footpath to the west. To achieve variety within the scheme FCBa appointed two other practices - Maccreanor Lavington and Alison Brooks.
The masterplan's quality and sensitivity allayed public concerns and gained the support of the local architectural centre, Shape Cambridge. After extensive public consultation, final consent was given in May 2003 and construction started on site in September 2003.
Kajima Construction, which was building the new DEFRA offices on-site, was appointed via a design and build contract to build the first phase, but another contractor will complete the scheme, due to finish in 2010. Visitor parking and public spaces will, unusually, be adopted by the Highway Authority.