The formal adoption of the name took place at a Cabinet meeting at South Cambridgeshire District Council today (Friday 30 July 2021) after councillors considered a report by the two developers of the new town – Urban&Civic and RLW – who ran the consultation process.
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 public consultation included delivering consultation booklets to more than 3,000 homes in Waterbeach and the surrounding villages, online consultation portal, 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.
Street name options enriched by feedback
The consultation on the name of the town was made up of two phases, both lasting six weeks, to consider ideas and test them through workshops. Urban&Civic also consulted at the same time on a naming strategy for the streets, green spaces and key locations within the 6,500 home scheme approved for the Barracks and Airfield part of the overall development.
Both the overall name and the street naming consultations were informed by the many years of engagement with the local community and ongoing research on the heritage and ecology of the area, which the consultation responses and suggestions have further enriched.
Caroline Foster, Senior Development Manager for Urban&Civic, who are taking the development forward on behalf of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, said: “This has been a hugely important process to work through. The name of a place is such a huge part of its culture and identity and we believe this approach captures the sense of connection and difference expressed through the discussion, but most of all celebrates a continuity of those historic farming and military connections through the centuries: embodied by the reconnecting of the Causeway links through the site. We are enormously grateful for the time, expertise and reflections people have shared during this long consultation, which has also provided a great resource for future approaches for street and park names. We look forward to continued work with the parish council and local communities as the development moves forward”
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.”