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Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 106 - Viability testing alongside masterplanning

106 - Eastern Gateway Soham Masterplan

The masterplan is for about 500 homes on land east of Soham Town centre know as the Eastern Gateway. The consultant team, led by LDA Design, had regular meetings with the client group paid close attention to the rural context and agricultural landscape. They produced a ‘landscape led’ masterplan that works with key views/sightlines in a flat landscape. Development proposal were based on low rise development principles with densities ranging from 25-30 dph. Existing allotments and commons were carefully integrated in the proposed development to create a more rural character.

A ‘market appraisal’ mapped potential occupiers early on to plan accordingly. It became evident that there was a strong network of local businesses, tied closely to the surrounding landscape and with wider regional and national links, for example, in food growing and logistics. This provided the potential for a more home grown employment offer.

The steering group meetings with the 3 landowners were efficient in shortcutting key issues and problems that would be likely to arise further along in the process. Undertaking a parallel viability exercise, even though it was only in outline, helped shape the key decisions (including phasing) and provided a useful check on the deliverability of the plan. Development phasing was critical to maximise development receipts early on to deliver the infrastructure needed for later phases.

Other Information

  • Location: Soham, Cambridgeshire
  • Project Team: East Cambridgeshire District Council, the HCA, land owners; Cambridgeshire County Council, Soham Town Council, Bishop Laney Charity, LDA Design (masterplanning) and GVA Grimley (property)
  • Info:


UDC2 Section - Delivering Quality and Adding Valueg the Seed  

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