3,000 new homes
Enough to attract the world’s brightest minds

North West Cambridge development

When modern international research organisations, with their attractive facilities and lifestyle options, started to lure away the brightest and best minds from the UK, the University of Cambridge was determined to fight back.

One of England’s oldest universities asked us to provide professional and agency services to help deliver an urban extension on the edge of Cambridge for thousands of new homes and research units. It wanted to showcase its standing as a world-leader in research to entice the top minds from across the globe.

The North West Cambridge Development provides the University with a unique opportunity to develop an exemplary extension to Cambridge to meet its future needs. The vision is for a development which is seamlessly woven into the City, incorporating the highest design and environmental standards that will provide living, learning and research accommodation to enable the University and Cambridge to grow.

The University secured Outline Planning Permission in February 2013 for an urban extension totalling 150 hectares, on the north western fringe of the city of Cambridge.

Approximately 90 hectares will be developed delivering a total of 3,000 new homes, 2,000 student bed spaces, 100,000sqm of employment space; a mixed use centre and a primary school.  Approximately 60 hectares will remain as open space.


What we did?

  • Worked closely with the university to obtain a commercial planning permission
  • Shaped the branding strategy for North West Cambridge Development to ensure it reflected the ambitions of the university
  • Worked with the university to set the disposal strategy for the market land, which included:
    - Advising on the phasing of development to capture the market and the best developer partners
    - Setting the design briefs
    - Determining the size and phasing of the land parcels for sale
    - Working with the university’s consultant team to collate a full technical information pack to enable parties to tender with confidence
  • Implemented the disposal strategy through a two stage selection process, which involved the university at all stages.
  • Negotiated and concluded the legal contracts with the successful developer partners
  • Advised on Phase 2 to set the design briefs, tender process and disposal strategy for the market lots


  • Successful selection of Development Partners for the market residential parcels in Phase 1 and exchanged legal contracts
  • Achieved exceptional land values for Cambridge for the market residential parcels
  • Land receipts contributed towards the university developing 1,500 key worker and student units, research facilities and the local centre
  • Provided a new urban quarter to Cambridge, showcasing exemplar design quality, green credentials and community engagement on a national and international basis



The biggest real estate development in the history of the University of Cambridge.


The length of Bidwells’ relationship with the University of Cambridge.

150 hectare

Urban extension delivering 3,000 dwellings,











140124 NWC VW03b cropped with Sainsburys

140126 NWC MRK TWNSQ VW03 Local Centre

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