Redevelopment, Transport & Environment

The Initiative, then the St Neots Town Centre Initiative founded in 1998, started with working on promoting the Town Centre.  By 2001 we became aware of a large housing development, which was to become Loves Farm and which we judged would impact the Town Centre in terms of extra demand/footfall, adding to the already existing traffic congestion.


In 2001 we formed the Redevelopment Group to work with the Local Planners and the Developer, J J Gallagher. The team realised as they worked on the plans, that the environmental impact also needed to be reviewed. Over time, the Group added representatives from various other interested bodies plus specialists, such as always having an architect on the team. Under the law, then and now, any significant development has to allow and fund an archaeological investigation so we also worked with the archaeologists and eventually formed a link with the St Neots History Society. In 2003, the Group moved to its long-term base at Wyboston Lakes where we have met ever since. We greatly appreciate their wonderful support, especially when we have had our special big meetings with speakers.

When the Redevelopment Group was formed the other identified development issue was Transport, so a separate Transport Group was created which had its own active program and projects. The Redevelopment Group, later the Redevelopment and Environment Group worked increasingly closely with the Transport Group as the issues crossed each other’s lines. The end result was the 2015 amalgamation of the two groups to cover the three interlinked topics.

On Development, the Group worked with J J Gallagher as Loves Farm Phase 1 was eventually completed (1200 Houses). We are now working on the recent start-up of Loves Farm Phase 2 though the developer has changed their name to L & Q Estates. About a decade ago we started working with another big developer in Wintringham (2800 houses); first of all, Bidwells, who was then replaced by Urban and Civic.  All the developers have worked with our Group, doing presentations, attending meetings, or sending regular reports. All the archaeology teams have also worked closely with us, particularly Oxford Archaeology East which was involved with the Initiative on three Town Heritage projects.

On the Environment, we work on development issues but have also carried out separate projects in this area, e.g. The Green Corridor Survey – working with the Wildlife Trust, a long-term partner. Another partner is the Friends of Paxton Pits where we funded an Otter Holt Project. We were also involved in a project in the Town Centre’s Osier Wood and continue to work with long-term partners, the Environment Agency.

On Transport issues we work with Highways England and the Railway Franchisee (for many years, though the current situation is rather uncertain). The Transport brief is now determined by the new A14 (almost completed ), the new A428 Expressway (still in final consultation) and then probably the new A1.

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