Eddington is more than a housing development: it is a way of securing the University’s long-term future. Both the University and Colleges need new affordable housing for key workers, and ultimately the North West Cambridge Development will provide 1,500 affordable University-subsidised homes for qualifying staff.
A recent survey of the 69 households who have already moved into Eddington gives us a broad picture of our residents. We will update this information as more people move to Eddington.
- 62% of residents have described themselves as postdocs. A further 31% have described themselves as assistant and academic-related staff and 7% are academic, College or affiliated institution staff.
- Over three quarters of Eddington residents (77%) said accommodation was a consideration when looking at jobs.
- Before moving to Eddington, 69% lived within the Cambridge area, 23% lived elsewhere within the UK and 9% lived abroad
- Prior to living in Eddington the majority of residents (65%) were living in private rental accommodation, while 19% were in a house-share situation.
- When asked why they chose to live in Eddington, 61% of those surveyed said the subsidised rents were a big attraction. A further 18% said the location, 12% said they wanted the University as a landlord and 9% said the quality of the development.
- Most of the residents surveyed said that now they live in Eddington they cycle to work (66%) or walk to work (14%). Just 9% drive to work.
Kingsley moved to Cambridge in February 2017 to start a new role as a Research Associate in Astrophysics at the Department of Physics.
Kingsley said: “Rental prices in Cambridge meant the key worker scheme at Eddington was the only way I could afford to live in a high quality apartment, with generous space, but also in a leafy, pleasant location close to everyday amenities. The quality of the build here is high meaning the homes offer exceptional value for money.”
Commenting on the interior of the flats he said: “The accommodation is great – bright and airy. I am in a ground floor apartment, which has high ceilings and large windows letting in lots of natural daylight.”
Kingsley was also attracted to the sustainable lifestyle at Eddington, “The sustainability aspects are very important to me. The rainwater system is fascinating and I am a big fan of the District Heating Network as a more efficient way of providing heating. Even the bins are an innovative concept and it’s interesting to see them in action.”
Emilia started work as an associate research assistant in bioinformatics at the University’s Department of Medicine in February and immediately applied to live in Cambridge’s newest development: Eddington.
Dr Emilia Swietlik was immediately drawn to Eddington’s community of University staff, saying: “I wanted to live at Eddington because I think it is a great opportunity to be surrounded by likeminded people with similar priorities.”
The 34-year-old is looking forward to more residents moving to Eddington as further homes are completed: “Being in a community of people who work at the University is important to me. It provides opportunities to meet people from all over the University and find out their interests. One of the greatest things about being at Cambridge is being able to meet people from different disciplines and share ideas. Everyone I have met at Eddington is really nice and I have found the growing community super friendly.”
Prior to moving into her own brand new two-bed flat, one of 700 homes available for University staff, Emilia lived in a room in a shared house in Cambourne.
She explained that her new home perfectly suits her lifestyle in Cambridge: “When you’re 34 you need to have your own space and Eddington gave me that opportunity. It’s really well connected too you can easily get to the city centre to meet up with friends.
“It’s really nicely thought through, the fact you have local shops and a school. You can tell that they put a lot of thought and effort into this, I think it’s great."
Vikash Singh, Shalu Grewal & Vihaan Singh
Dr Vikash Singh, a microbiologist postdoc at the University, has recently moved to Eddington with his wife Shalu Grewal and their son Vihaan, who is almost two. He has spoken about how Eddington is growing quickly and with it a real sense of community amongst the residents.
Originally from northern India, the 27-year-old said: “The community here is wonderful; the kids have each other to play with and a nice play area where you know they are safe. It’s also very international which is fantastic. We’ve found other families from a similar cultural background as us who we can talk to and really have something in common.”
Shalu, 26, who is a computer science engineer but is currently staying at home to look after Vihaan, who is nearly two, said: “In our old house we didn’t know our neighbours and there was a real lack of community spirit. It’s much more social here and great for Vihaan as there are plenty of children living close by for him to play with. It’s really lovely.”
The couple moved to Eddington after living in a private rental house in St Ives for a year. Vikash, a pathology microbiologist, said: “We trust the University housing far more than the private rental market. Not only is rent fair and affordable, you also know you’ll get your deposit back correctly and there is a proper organisation to help you with any issues.”
Lisa Salloway was “totally unable” to afford to live in Cambridge after getting a job working as a HR administrator at the University.
The 44-year-old had no choice but to commute to her job at the University’s Department of Public Health and Primary Care from Letchworth.
But that all changed when Lisa moved into her one-bedroom apartment in Eddington in September 2017.
She said: “I thought the prices in Letchworth were expensive until I started looking in Cambridge. Moving to Eddington is the first time I've actually lived on my own, as I've always lived in shared houses.
“I would never ever be able to afford something like that normally, not on my salary. It was just amazing, it allowed me to be independent and move directly into Cambridge. There was no way I’d be able to do that previously.”
Her apartment is one of 700 that will be available to university key workers in the first phase of the development. After discussing her situation with the University’s Accommodation Service, Lisa was one of the first residents on the waiting list for a home at Eddington.
She said: “I wasn’t sure if someone on my admin job could be eligible. I got allocated an apartment quite quickly.
“Having everything in your home in terms of amenities makes a huge difference. Even if I could afford to get a place I’d then have to buy all of that, which I don’t have to do here.
“The flat is lovely, really nice. One of the things I really like about the apartment is it has so many floor to ceiling windows, which makes it so light. It's very homely and bright. I love the green open spaces; my apartment looks out over the cricket oval and the sunrises over there are amazing. I like the way Eddington is for everyone.”
One of the first parents to arrive at Eddington has spoken of how the emerging community is helping new parents.
Jennifer Copic moved to Eddington in July with husband Davor and their baby son Luka, who is now seven months old.
Jennifer and Davor, originally from the US, both work as research associates at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School and Institute for Manufacturing, respectively.
Jennifer, who helped start a baby and toddler group at the new development, said: “It’s hard to get motivated to get out of the house when you’ve got a baby. It is challenging to have to coordinate all the items to bring with you like a buggy, nappies and toys and then a long commute on multiple buses over to a group somewhere in central or north Cambridge.
“It’s really nice to have a community group right here in Eddington and have this space to meet other parents and allow our children to interact. Some of the parents are also from other countries and in the UK for a limited amount of time, in a transient state like me, and more eager to form a community quickly.”
The Copic family moved to Eddington from a one-bedroom flat at the West Cambridge site. Jennifer said: “We liked our old flat, but it just had no room for us with the baby and none of the amenities that we needed. We had to walk sideways to fit past all the new baby furniture and there was no dishwasher or washing machine, essential items with a young child in the home. It wasn’t really a good place to raise a family.
“The Eddington flats get lovely air flow and wonderful natural light, while other homes in the city centre can feel very closed off. The lovely open-plan living room and kitchen-dining room means we spend most of our time there, it’s really nice.”
As well as her spacious two-bedroom apartment, Jennifer takes full advantage of Eddington’s sustainable travel and waste policies.
“The Universal Bus is brilliant, it goes right by my husband’s work, the nursery that Luka currently goes to and then on to my office. It’s an amazing route and the service has become a lot more reliable in the past couple years.
“We were really sad that our old home didn’t have a compost bin, it means you end up throwing away so much food waste. Now we’re at Eddington we have more recycling and compost than we do regular garbage. It’s really important that we try to take care of the Earth by reducing landfill waste.”
Kristoffer Holmen, 27, has been taking full advantage of the cycle training on offer for Eddington residents.
The University Information Services software developer moved to Eddington in July.
In partnership with Outspoken, Eddington provides a low-cost Cycle Loan Scheme, as well as regular training sessions with instructors.
Kristoffer said: “The Cycle Loan Scheme was mentioned to me on the day I moved to Eddington. There are two factors to why I chose to take part in it. Firstly, people kept recommending getting a bicycle from my very first day in Cambridge. The number of cyclists on the streets suggested they might have been on to something.
“Secondly, as someone who had only cycled a handful of times many years ago, the opportunity to hire the bike for a month and have free lessons from an Outspoken trainer was exactly what I needed to decide if cycling was for me."
He said: “The Outspoken team have been very helpful, and keen to make sure I've been getting on alright. From booking the original hire all the way to actually buying a bike, the process was very smooth. Each time they delivered the bike to Eddington, an Outspoken representative was there to hand it over and answer any questions I had.
“When it came to the training, my instructor was not only extremely informative, but also very patient and kind. I went from a very shaky rider to going through roundabouts in the space of two hours. The scheme is well thought-out, and I found it extremely useful.”