First Base and RPMI Railpen submit plans for £155 million Devonshire Gardens in Cambridge City centre

New sustainable neighbourhood will deliver 120,000 sq ft of well-being-focused workspace and 100 Build-to-Rent homes set in a new public park

18 August 2021

New sustainable neighbourhood will deliver 120,000 sq ft of well-being-focused workspace and 100 Build-to-Rent homes set in a new public park

Developer First Base and RPMI Railpen (“Railpen”), the investment manager for the £35 billion railways pension scheme, have submitted plans for Devonshire Gardens, a new sustainable neighbourhood in the heart of Cambridge.

The mixed-use scheme, which Buckley Gray Yeoman has designed, will transform a three-acre site currently utilised as a Travis Perkins depot into a new neighbourhood set around a new public park, comprising 120,000 sq ft of modern, wellbeing-focused workspace, 100 Build-to-Rent homes and various community facilities, including a creche, pavilion and artists’ studios.

The workspace will be delivered across two new buildings designed to meet the needs of corporates and fast-growing businesses, providing a range of flexible floorplates and adaptable spaces for collaboration. The buildings are designed to exceed the highest possible environmental standards with roof-top solar panels, rainwater harvesting, greywater recycling and the optimisation of natural light.

The new homes will comprise a mix of apartments, all available to rent at market or discounted rates. The homes are 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.

The buildings will be connected by a landscaped public park featuring over 120 trees, hundreds of new plant species and a community food garden. The scheme will also create new walkways and cycle paths, improving connectivity to Cambridge rail station and supporting the ambition for Devonshire Gardens to be an ultra-sustainable car-free neighbourhood.

Devonshire Gardens will be delivered in accordance with the One Planet Living principles and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The development will increase biodiversity on the site by almost 400% and has been designed to support Cambridge City Council’s Climate Change Strategy.

Barry Jessup, Chief Executive, First Base said: “Devonshire Gardens has been designed to become an exemplar long-term mixed-use development which combines highly sustainable workspace with much-need high quality homes, all based around a major new green park in central Cambridge. We have been working hard with Railpen to create a best-in-class long-term investment that will have very strong environmental credentials, provide excellent health and wellbeing facilities to both our residential and commercial tenants, and create real value for the existing local community.”

Richard van Lente, Senior Development Manager at Railpen said: “We are delighted to partner with First Base to create a development which enhances the Cambridge community, supports our sustainability, environmental and wellbeing targets, while at the same time also offering the potential for significant returns through capital growth or income.

“Railpen already holds significant investments in Cambridge and will continue to look for further opportunities to invest in economically, socially and physically relevant opportunities in places where people want to live, work and play.

“We consistently seek to enhance our assets through hands-on, expert management and targeted value-add initiatives. Our approach delivers attractive risk-adjusted returns for our members that will help secure their futures and strong economic and social improvements for the communities in which we invest.”

To find out more about Devonshire Gardens visit: