The new town known through the planning process as Waterbeach New Town has been formally named Waterbeach – the name of the neighbouring village – after the majority of people opted for it following a 12 week public consultation.
The formal adaption of the name took place at a Cabinet meeting at South Cambridgeshire District Council today (Friday 30 July) after councillors considered a report by the two developers of the new town – Urban&Civic and RLW.
The first phase of the consultation found that just over half (53%) of people who responded to the consultation preferred the name to cover both the new town and existing village. Of those people who preferred one name for both town and village, 76% opted for Waterbeach. The view was further explored and endorsed by workshops with the parish council and local elected county and district councillors, a workshop with the Waterbeach heritage group and local interested parties, and one with younger people: representing the past, present and future of the communities.
The developers’ public consultation included delivering consultation booklets to more than 3,000 homes in Waterbeach and the surrounding villages, online webinars to discuss key issues, and the workshops.
The consultation also showed that 87% of people felt the name of the original village of Waterbeach should be updated to Waterbeach Village, to mark the historic area of the village, and ensure it retained the village identity and culture. Councillors noted this outcome and said they would work with the local parish council if updating the name was something people locally wanted to pursue.
Both the overall name and the street naming consultations were both informed by the developers’ existing engagement with the local community and ongoing research on the heritage of the area, which the developers say the consultation responses and suggestions have further enriched.
Chris Goldsmith, Director of RLW, said: “It has been fantastic to hear residents’ thoughts on the name of the new town. The conclusion that the new settlement should share the name of Waterbeach with the existing village reflects the history of the area and a desire to form a cohesive community between new and existing residents. We look forward to delivering new homes and facilities that both existing and future Waterbeach residents can feel proud of.”
South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Community Resilience, Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Bill Handley, said: “It is really good to see the developers using workshops to try and get good feedback and engagement from existing and future residents and it was particularly pleasing to see younger people getting involved in the process. Naming a new town or village will always attract divergent views but the workshops have been very effective at testing the outcomes of the wider public consultation; as always, the views of local people are of paramount importance.”
Cllr Barbara Bull, Chair of Waterbeach Parish Council, said: “We are pleased to see the special identity of Waterbeach village has been recognised in the discussions on the name of the town and the relationship it has with the village. The workshops we were involved in helped us look at the issue in more detail and it has been good to see that local heritage groups and younger people have also had their voices heard in deciding on a whole place approach of Waterbeach for the village and town.”