Plans approved for £155m Devonshire Gardens BTR

Cambridge City Council approves Socius and Railpen's plans for Devonshire Gardens, a sustainable Build to Rent scheme in the city centre.

Devonshire Gardens, a sustainable Build to Rent scheme in Cambridge city centre, to be delivered by Socius and Railpen | BTR News
Devonshire Gardens, a sustainable Build to Rent scheme in Cambridge city centre, to be delivered by Socius and Railpen.

Socius and its partner Railpen achieve planning permission from Cambridge City Council for Devonshire Gardens – a £155m sustainable neighbourhood that will deliver new Build to Rent homes and wellbeing-focused workspace, set in a new public park. Bidwells advised Socius and Railpen on planning.

Designed by Buckley Gray Yeoman, Devonshire Gardens will transform the three-acre site in Cambridge city centre, which was formerly home to the Travis Perkins depot. The scheme will deliver 70 new Build to Rent homes – a mix of apartments with 20% affordable in line with local policy. Homes have been designed to meet the city’s net-zero carbon ambitions and will be powered by electricity from renewable sources – with no reliance on fossil fuels. 

“At Railpen, we are committed to creating a portfolio of sustainable assets in key locations that positively contribute to the communities they are part of while delivering exceptional long-term returns for our members.

“We are therefore very pleased with the decision by Cambridge City Council. We are particularly keen to see this development come to life, delivering real value for the people of Cambridge and our members.”

Richard van Lente, Senior Development Manager at Railpen

Devonshire Gardens will deliver community facilities including a creche, pavilion and flexible studios, and 120,000 sq ft of wellbeing-focused workspace set around a landscaped public park. Delivered across two new buildings, the workspace provides a range of flexible floorplates and adaptable spaces for collaboration – meeting the needs of corporates and fast-growing businesses.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to deliver Devonshire Gardens, which sets a new benchmark for delivering highly sustainable places with workspace, new homes and community amenities. 

“We have partnered with a long-term investor in Railpen who share our vision for a future-focused neighbourhood that will contribute to enhancing Cambridge’s status as a hub for world-class innovation and talent.”

Barry Jessup, Managing Director, Socius

Buildings at the scheme will be connected by a landscaped public park featuring over 120 trees, hundreds of new plant species and a community food garden. Devonshire Gardens will also create new walkways and cycle paths, which will improve connectivity to Cambridge rail station. It also support the scheme’s vision of being a majority car-free neighbourhood. 

The Build to Rent development – which will be delivered in accordance with the One Planet Living principles – increases biodiversity on the site by over 350%. It is also designed to support Cambridge City Council’s Climate Change Strategy – utilising the Natural Cambridgeshire toolkit.

“We are very pleased the scheme proposed by Socius and Railpen will be brought forward. Devonshire Gardens will transform an underutilised site in the centre of Cambridge, delivering much-needed modern workspace for corporates and growing businesses, as well as affordable homes that will help attract and retain talent in the city.” 

Vic Annells, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce