The University’s new development to the north-west of the city has welcomed its first residents this summer.
Eddington is a mixed-use development which has been built on 150 hectares of land lying close to the M11 between Huntingdon and Madingley Roads. Outline planning permission was granted in 2013 and building work on the first phase of the development started later that year.
Early discussions for Eddington started back in the 1980s when the University of Cambridge realised it needed to do more to meet the accommodation needs resulting from a growth in the number of post-doctoral researchers and post-graduate students as well as find space for academic and commercial research. There are currently 4,000 post-docs working for the University and their number is expected to increase over coming years. House price rises and rental increases in Cambridge have resulted in many people being unable to meet the costs of living in the city.
Eddington will have 3,000 homes split half and half between those for sale on the open market and affordable housing available to key workers at the University and Colleges. The key worker properties are available to employees who can’t afford the rents charged on the open market. Applications are made through the University’s Accommodation Service. The first 100 homes are now occupied.
The development has been landscaped with a lake, open spaces and sports fields (football and cricket pitch). A Sainsbury's supermarket opened in September and more, smaller, shops will follow, as well as a hotel. There’s also a primary school on the site which will eventually cater for 630 children. A community centre is expected to be open later this year which will be a performance arts venue for the wider community.
Integral to the vision of the development is its eco-friendly credentials. Buildings have been designed to a high standard of sustainability. They have expansive windows to allow more natural daylight in, double or triple glazing and solar panels on the roof. Eddington also boasts the UK’s largest rainwater harvesting system. Recycled rainwater is cleaned, treated and pumped back into homes for use such as toilet-flushing.
Eddington also has a centralised heating system which comprises an Energy Centre and a District Heating Network. Hot water is delivered from a central shared supply, so that the heat distribution network provides all heating and hot water, dispensing with the need for individual gas boilers in the homes.
Another eye-catching innovation is the novel waste disposal system. There are no wheelie bins at Eddington. When residents want to dispose of waste they simply take it to steel chutes on the pavement. The items fall into a large underground chamber and a sensor notifies the council when it is full and ready for emptying. The chutes have been the subject of articles in the press.
Girton College has taken out the lease on Swirles Court, a purpose-built graduate complex which will accommodate 325 students. Swirles Court is named after Girton alumna, Bertha Swirles (Lady Jeffreys), and sits close to the main cycle route which provides easy access to the city centre and Girton College. Students will be allowed to grow their own vegetables in allotments which will be provided nearby.
Kingsley Gale-Sides is a Research Associate at the Department of Physics and has moved into a ground floor apartment on the site. He says:
“Rental prices in Cambridge meant the key worker scheme was the only way I could afford to live in a high quality apartment, with generous space, but also in a leafy, pleasant location close to everyday amenities. The quality of the build here is high, meaning the homes offer exceptional value for money.”
What's in a name?
The new part of Cambridge was named after Sir Arthur Eddington, an astronomer, mathematician and physicist, who was Director of Cambridge’s Observatory and a Fellow of Trinity College.
Eddington’s observations during a solar eclipse in 1919 confirmed Einstein’s theory of relativity by showing a slight shift in light passing close to the Sun effectively proving it was influenced by the star’s gravitational field. His reputation for being a visionary lives on in the development which now carries his name.
Street names also commemorate notable Cambridge alumni.
Inspired to visit?
We know alumni and friends greatly enjoyed visiting Eddington on guided tours in September as part of the Open Cambridge and Alumni Festival events, so we appreciate you might like to have a look around if you're in the area. Please be sure to check the development's website for news about access and construction work, which is ongoing.