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Sold! Move house and gain a community, space and the great outdoors

It used to be bedrooms and kitchen size that clinched a house deal. Now we’re more interested in community, facilities and green space.

CALA Homes and pond

Isn’t it strange how cultural changes happen almost by stealth? I’ve been caught out by quite a few in the last year or so. Like: Thinking of the UK over Europe as my preferred holiday destination. The mainstreaming of pronoun sign offs at the end of business emails. Leisurewear as an acceptable outfit choice to meet mates. And, in the wake of Covid, the return of community as central to our lives. 

From supporting local businesses to searching for deeper connections with our neighbours, we’ve fallen back in love with local, a trend that’s reflected in a modern wave of housing developments like Wintringham, a new building project on the outskirts of picturesque Cambridgeshire market town St Neots from Urban & Civic, who’ve made it their mission to create a ready-made community buzz a stone’s throw from your front lawn.

Work, rest, play

Bank Holiday bar and food Stalls

Whenever I’ve bought a house in the past one of the main things I’ve looked for is the nearest decent pub (hey, don’t judge!). Modern developments blow my meagre ‘nice to have’ list out of the water. In the pipeline at Wintringham’s are shops, restaurants, a library, office space and a community centre with a jobs and skills service, gym and space for local clubs to meet, while foodie pop-ups have already taken place in The Plaza (an open space at the heart of the development). The sociability should only get better – currently around 80 homes in the first stage of development are occupied but a total of 2,800 by a selection of home builders are planned, so the community spirit can only expand.

Smart schools

The development already has Wintringham Primary Academy open, and plans for a second Primary school

With the great exodus from London to England’s prettiest towns and villages, the pressure on school places is becoming profound – it’s quite common to hear of those living within a mile of a school whose children are ‘out of catchment’. Wintringham has got around this problem neatly by building the stunning, timber-built, architect-designed Wintringham Primary Academy. Up and running since 2020, it offers high tech facilities and calming natural surroundings, including a woodland grove visible from the classrooms. There’s also a second primary school due to open in the second phase of development. 

Playground fun year-round

Holidays will never be boring here, with two large sustainably-built play parks so far on site – a great place to meet friends and test out the rope bridges, slides and wooden forts. And nearby St Neots also provides plenty to keep kids (and big kids) amused, including community activities like Riverside Park Treasure Trails, plus a museum, shops and cinema. 

Nearby St Neots

St Neots

St Neots is such a pretty, vibrant town (check out the museums, shops and cinema) and its charms haven’t escaped Urban & Civic who support their on-site cycle and walking routes with incentives for residents to bike and stroll or get the bus into town. It’s a 10-minute walk from the train station for commuters (40 mins into London Liverpool Street) and it’s easy to catch a direct bus to Cambridge and Milton Keynes. Working from home? You’re in luck – extensive fibre networks are laid down for speedy connections. 

The green scene

Wild flowers at Wintringham

House buyers are increasingly interested in sustainability, the environment and nature, so the 2400 trees planted so far at Wintringham, along with carefully constructed “ Bee roads” of wildflower planting, will be a big tick. They’re also putting in allotment spaces and landscaping improvements, such as green corridors including natural hedgerows, grassland and woodland. Housing developments as a breath of fresh air? Nope, I didn’t see that one coming either. 

If you want to get involved and move to this thriving community, check out @wearewintringham on Facebook and Instagram or wintringham.org.

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