08 JUNE 2022

Major land transfer secures Cambridge conservation achievements for future generations

Grosvenor Property UK and the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) have agreed terms for an innovative financial endowment to the Wildlife Trust to secure the future of a 148-acre country park and nature reserve at Trumpington Meadows, a 1,200-home neighbourhood in Cambridge. 

It comes as the partners celebrate 10 years since the first residents were welcomed to the development, which is now reaching maturity as a thriving community on the southern fringe of the city. 

The agreement will see ownership of the country park and nature reserve at Trumpington Meadows transferred to the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. It also includes funds to support the successful long-term management of the area which sits in the Cam river corridor.  

A commitment to developing in a way which supports the natural world while also meeting local housing need has been at the heart of the scheme in Cambridge, which is located on a former agricultural testing facility.  The country park was delivered as part of the redevelopment and spans 148 acres of wildflower meadows, riverside habitats and woodland areas. 

The success of conservation efforts has seen species return to the site quicker than expected. Former potato testing fields are now home to a range of flora and fauna, including European otters, Small Blue (the UK’s smallest butterfly) and skylarks, one of the country’s most endangered farmland bird species. 

Impact assessments show that the investment by the landowners has delivered a 46% biodiversity net gain since construction started over 10 years ago – well ahead of new 10% minimum net gain rules that developments will have to meet from 2023. 

The Wildlife Trust has maintained the country park and nature reserve since 2015 but its partnership with Grosvenor and USS goes back to 2008, when the Trust was selected to help shape the green spaces at Trumpington Meadows – from advising on planting strategies and seed mixes, to agreeing the layout of public paths and bridleways.

The endowment will pay for the Trust to undertake the maintenance of the park for an indefinite period. Alongside the financial endowment, Grosvenor and USS have also funded the construction of on-site facilities for the Trust and equipment. Grosvenor and USS will continue to manage the wider development, working in partnership with the Trust to support the ongoing success of the wider scheme.

Andy Sharpe, Director, Strategic Land, Grosvenor, said: “The importance of protecting the natural world has never been clearer. It helps reduce the impact of climate change and is essential for our health and wellbeing too. Trumpington Meadows shows what can be achieved when developers are ambitious with their environmental goals, bringing in expert partners like the Wildlife Trust who have the skills and expertise needed to practically deliver them.  

“The lessons learnt at Trumpington Meadows will help us to continue to build sustainably and achieve our business-wide biodiversity commitments. It isn’t typical for developers to give away a patch of land this size, but in this case it is absolutely the right call. The country park is a valuable community asset and this agreement will safeguard this green space for generations to come.”

Martin Baker, conservation manager at the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, said: “When developers, planners and conservationists work together we can create homes for people and high-quality space for nature – Trumpington Meadows is a great example of this. We took agricultural land with little wildlife present and have transformed it into a reserve where wildflowers, butterflies and birds are thriving. It’s also hugely popular with local people, even more so recently when green spaces close to our homes became vital for all our wellbeing. We hope it inspires other developers to create partnerships early in the planning process with their local Wildlife Trust.”

About Grosvenor

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Grosvenor is an international organisation whose activities span urban property, food and agtech, rural estate management and support for philanthropic initiatives.

We are a values-led business which represents the Grosvenor family and share a common purpose - to deliver lasting commercial, social and environmental benefit - addressing today’s needs while taking responsibility for those of future generations.  

With a track record of over 340 years, we work to improve urban property and places in many of the world’s leading cities, promoting sustainability within the built environment and enhancing the wellbeing of customers and communities. 

Our UK property business supports c1,000 businesses and tens of thousands of residents and workers across London’s West End each day. We also invest in, create and manage sustainable neighbourhoods in Liverpool and across England. As a 1.5oC aligned company, pioneering change and new ways of thinking about property we aim to ensure our places benefit both people and the planet over the long term.

Stephanie Byrne / Matthew Evans
+44 (0) 20 7636 7366

Rachel Garstang

Head of Corporate Communications & Stakeholder Engagement Grosvenor

+44 (0)20 7312 2341 ext.6957

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