New village seeks the perfect social mix

10th March 2000 at 00:00
LYNNE ANDERSON is not just a headteacher. She's a new head in a new school in a brand new village.

Last September Monkfield primary school, in the new community of Cambourne, opened its doors to its first five pupils. Now it has 22 children on roll, but within five years will have 400-plus.

Cambourne, built on a greenfield site a few miles west of Cambridge, is the latest in town planning. At the moment just 130 homes are occupied, but it will eventually have a population of 10,000. There are plans for a centre with shops, a business park, a village green, country park and other amenities.

With 3,000 homes in the pipeline it's a house-builders' dream. The half-dozen major developers under contract will eventually construct a suburban village with a mixture of rented homes, and houses ranging in price from pound;50,000 to pound;250,000.

Up to a third of the homes will be "social housing" - either rented or available through low-cost purchase schemes - invlving three housing associations. In contrast to the vast public housing estates of previous utopian schemes, these homes will be grouped in clusters averaging two acres.

As part of the agreement, the builders are building two new primary schools, which will each eventually take more than 400 children. Monkfield, the first to open, will move from temporary buildings to new premises after Easter.

For Ms Anderson, the new job is a unique opportunity: "It's very exciting and very different. We are creating our own ethos and can do that because children are coming in gradually. The challenge will be to maintain that when we have 400 children!"

With just two teachers, and a third due to start in September it might seem an undemanding job. But in Cambourne she is a key professional. She attends a monthly meeting of service providers (which links with a new community forum) and has even been involved in informal interviews for the village's GP.


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