FRIENDS OF MITCHAM'S CORNER

NEWS

Major extension of office building on Carlyle Road – There is a planning application to significantly expand Carlyle House (next to the DSS building in Carlyle Road), adding a fourth storey and a three-storey extension on top of the rear car park. The new space will be used for managed office facilities.

Details of the application (ref: 20/03843/FUL) can be viewed on the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning website, where you can also make an objection or post a comment (deadline seems to be Monday 9 November). Neighbours are concerned that the proposal constitutes overdevelopment, and that a four-storey office block would not be in keeping with the 2.5-storey houses in Carlyle Road. The adjacent DSS site has been earmarked for future low-rise residential development in the Mitcham's Corner Supplementary Planning Guidance document, and the extended building would not fit in with that.

 

Abolition of City–County committee discussing transport issues – The County Council is proposing to abolish a major forum for public discussion of transport issues, the Cambridge Joint Area Committee (CJAC). This move would in effect turn over control of transport (and matters such as residents' parking schemes) within the City and Cambridgeshire to the Conservative-dominated County Council.

The move is widely seen as an attempt to strengthen the power of the County and weaken the say of City residents in transport matters. Cynically, this is being done at a time when people are concerned about the Covid-19 pandemic. For more information, see the article in the Cambridge News.

The FMC Committee learned about this development with very short notice and submitted a letter of objection last week. Smarter Cambridge Transport has launched a petition to suspend the abolition of the CJAC until the Covid-19 pandemic is over, and more extensive consultation can be carried out. You can sign the petition here (deadline is 18th May).

 

Proposals for the development of the Staples site – On 8th November, the committee met the owners to discuss their application again. A revised proposal was submitted on 11 October, but the case has been stalled because no planning officer was available; they hope it will go to committee relatively soon. We discussed the main aspects which FMC members objected to (see below), and some progress was made: for more details see our notes on the meeting.

During the consultation period, FMC submitted a response aiming to represent the overall views of members. The feedback we received was that the proposed use (retail plus long-term accommodation, including affordable shared-living units) is appropriate for the site, but there were major issues with the scale, design and safety of the development. FMC therefore objected on multiple grounds to the current proposal: see our letter of objection.

 

South elevation – Chesterton Road

The proposal is for three retail units, plus dwelling units. The accommodation will comprise 13 ‘shared living units’ with 4-8 bedrooms and shared common areas such as kitchen and living room. In addition, there will be 6 town house units facing onto Victoria Road. In total there will be 109 bedrooms. All units will be rented accommodation (with long-term tenancies).

This development will be the first example of new-build shared living in Cambridge. The intended market is young people with limited budgets, and the rents will be such that all of the units are essentially ‘affordable housing’.

The height of the proposed development will be a maximum of 3.5 storeys, dropping to 3 storeys at the Lloyds corner of the site. The three retail units will all be on the ground floor, facing onto Chesterton Road and Croftholme Lane. Subject to contract, Nicholas Anthony kitchens, Evans Cycles and Camyoga will continue as tenants. All deliveries and servicing of these units will be from Chesterton Road.

The main entrance for the shared units will be on the corner of Croftholme Lane and Victoria Road; this will be staffed 24x7 by a concierge. There will be two cycle stores and a refuse bin store accessed from Victoria Road, but no on-site car parking.

The 13 shared units will be sited on the first floor. These will all have a second floor, and half will also have third-floor bedrooms (in the roof space). Rooms will be small but comply with national standards

Notes on our initial meeting with the developers are available here.

 

A 'Question Time' style public meeting on the future of Mitcham's Corner and wider transport issues – This meeting, being organised by FMC, will feature a panel of experts which we hope will include Daniel Zeichner MP, Chris Poultney (Transport & Infrastructure Strategy Manager, Cambs County Council), Stephen Kelly (Director of Planning & Economic Development for Greater Cambridge) and Paul van de Bulk (Greater Cambridge Partnership). Arrangements are still being finalised, but the meeting will give you a good opportunity to ask questions and discuss issues. We will email further details soon.

Launch of the newly rebuilt Milton Road Library – The library is holding an open week from Monday to Saturday, 24-29 June, with various activities planned. On Saturday 29th there will be a garden party to celebrate the re-opening. Details will be posted on the website of the Friends of Milton Road Library (www.friendsofmiltonroadlibrary.org.uk).

Presentation to residents' associations on the Local Plan – In May, members of the Committee attended a presentation by the Greater Cambridge Planning Service to the Federation of Cambridge Residents' Associations (FECRA), highlighting the main points in the latest Local Plan. Notes are available here, and the presentation as well as a video recording (including Q&As) can be viewed at http://fecra.org.uk.

Progress with renovation of the Tivoli. It appears that the planning application to restore the Tivoli has not yet been approved; we are trying to find out what the new timetable is. For a summary of the proposals, see below.

Planning application for renovation of The Tivoli – CityPub wishes to restore the building to being a pub offering dining, drinking and social activities. The ground floor will be the main pub area, including three street-food franchises. The basement will provide a games room with three shuffleboard tables, while the first floor will have two nine-hole crazy golf courses. The second floor will incorporate a flexible events space which will be hireable for private events, yoga classes, aerobics, cinema viewings, community group meetings, etc. This room will open onto a roof terrace with tables, offering views over the river and Jesus Green. Finally, on top of the 2nd floor events space will be an upper roof terrace, to be used for yoga or private events. This will have glass balustrading, set back from the sides of the building.

The external structure is sound and will not be changed greatly. There is no major increase to the scale and massing of the building (though the roof housing for the lift will increase the total height slightly). The Art Deco facade will be restored. The main new elements are new staircases, new fire escape doors, and a lift serving all levels. The rear of the building will have ceiling-to-floor windows, and the side walls of the roof terrace will be built up somewhat to prevent overlooking of nearby properties.

No car parking will be provided. There will be a limited number of customer cycle racks just outside the gates to the yard on Chesterton Road.

None of the windows will open, to minimise any noise impact, and all outdoor areas and terraces will be closed at 10pm.

CityPub has provided a plan to minimise disturbance from noise, traffic and dust during construction. Traffic along Chesterton Road will need to be stopped while lorries back in (off-peak hours only).

You can view the application in full on the Council's Planning Portal (search for 19/0046/FUL); the key document is the Design & Access Statement, which can also be downloaded here.

Our impression of the plans is positive, as CityPub is offering what FMC members have said they want: restoration of the building, a use that contributes to the local community, and a business that offers something new at Mitcham's Corner.

Use of Student Castle as apart-hotel – Student Castle has lost its appeal against the Council's decision to not allow this change of use for some of its rooms. The independent Inspector ruled that Student Castle cannot be used as an apart-hotel. Hopefully this sends a clear message to any future developers who might wish to cynically request change of use for student accommodation in the same way.

Last say on Milton Road scheme – The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) has released revised plans for Milton Road, and launched a (final?) consultation which runs until 29 October. The proposals still say nothing significant about how the upgraded road and cycleways will mesh with Mitcham's Corner. You can see a summary in the Consultation Brochure, and more information is available on the consultcambs.uk website. Please provide your views on key features of the scheme via the questionnaire. You will be able to see the plans and talk to consultants about the scheme at three events:

  • Arbury Road Baptist Church, 20 Arbury Road: Wednesday 26 September, 16:00-19:00
  • All Saints Church, Church Lane, Milton: Tuesday 9 October, 16:00-19:00
  • St George’s Church, Chesterfield Road, Chesterton: Tuesday 23 October, 17:00-20:00

GCP will look at Mitcham's Corner – The Executive Board of the Greater Cambridge Partnership has stated that "the GCP would look again at Mitcham’s Corner as part of the next phase of GCP projects, which would link to planning policy work being undertaken by the City Council."

Local Plan approved – The Inspectors reviewing the Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire Local Plans have finally approved them, subject to a number of amendments to details. The Cambridge Local Plan is very likely to be adopted at a Council meeting on 18 October. Policy 21 on Mitcham's Corner, and the more detailed guidelines in the Supplementary Planning Document, will then come into force. This will strengthen the efforts of FMC and others to ensure appropriate redevelopment of Mitcham's Corner, with removal of the gyratory road system.

‘Making Space for People’ strategy. The City and County Councils are working on a new strategy called ‘Making Space for People’ that will set out how public spaces and transport routes (pedestrian, cycle, bus) can be improved. The area of interest is the city centre and a handful of 'Opportunity Areas', which include the Mitcham's Corner area. For more information, see the consultcambs.uk website. You can see people's comments on the interactive map.

Sale of the Tivoli. The Tivoli has been sold to the City Pub Group for a price of around £1.5 million. We do not know the plans of the new owners (who already own The Waterman), but no doubt further proposals for its redevelopment will emerge.

Milton Road Local Liaison Forum. A public meeting was held in June to discuss the "preferred option design" for Milton Road. This did not present any new details on how the scheme will connect with Mitcham's Corner. See the Greater Cambridge Partnership website.

Annual General Meeting. Our AGM was held on 9th May, and the presentations given are available on our Meetings page.

Minecraft Design Workshop. In March, an interesting workshop was run by Architecture post-graduate James Delaney, exploring the use of the online game Minecraft to visualise ideas for the redevelopment of Mitcham’s Corner. You can explore the 3D model developed by participants, which is available on sketchfab.com. This includes some innovative (though not always practical) ideas.

Application to redevelop the Tivoli site rejected. The application by Wetherspoons to demolish the Tivoli and replace it with a six-storey building has been rejected decisively by Council planning officers. The Decision Notice (available here) cites 13 reasons for refusing permission – an unusually high number, reflecting the massively unsuitable nature of the plans. Many thanks to FMC members who sent us their comments, and helped to resist this overblown proposal.

View from front (Chesterton Road)

Front view of proposed Tivoli redevelopment

Parking on pavement near Co-Op. Parked cars have been regularly obstructing the pavement and cycle lane near the Co-Op in Milton Road, and FMC members feel strongly that this is dangerous and unacceptable. Cllr Mike Sargeant is organising double yellow lines from Student Castle to past the Co-Op, and requesting that bollards be placed near the pedestrian crossing to prevent parking on the pavement.

Milton Road Scheme. In November, Committee members attended a Project Group Meeting considering how the Milton Road Scheme will interact with Mitchams Corner. The Scheme now proposes a single bus lane on the east side of Milton Road and a single, two-way cycle route on the west, but currently does not include the section of road between the Gilbert Road junction and Mitcham’s Corner.

However, cyclists would be discouraged from using the route if nothing is done to make it easier and safer to negotiate Mitcham’s Corner. The meeting therefore proposed that the two-way cycle route (along with the other road improvements) should continue up to the gyratory, where a special crossing would be built. Consultation on this proposal is expected soon, and the finalised Scheme will come to Committee in March 2018, when it is expected to get the go-ahead. It will be important for us to provide input, as the Scheme could have a major impact on Mitcham's Corner. We will let you know when the consultation meeting is announced.

Mitcham's Models shown at the Sainsbury Gallery. Some of the Mitcham's Models that were displayed around Mitcham's Corner last year have been exhibited at the Sainsbury Gallery as part of the "Arts at Stowe" event, and attracted considerable interest. The five legs were designed by well-known artist David Mach, and will be auctioned in aid of the children's mental health charity Blue Smile. See the Mitcham's Models Facebook page.

Student Castle's application for use as apart hotel. The City Council's Planning Committee has rejected the application by Student Castle to change part of the site from student accommodation to apart hotel. Student Castle will appeal against the decision.

Redevelopment of former HSBC bank on Chesterton Road. The owners of the site – a local animal charity – wish to redevelop it as retail units plus flats, and their plans are in the pre-application stage. The Committee met with the owners' representative and architects to discuss the initial plans, which are for two shops plus small flats for 8 people. The proposed design, while rather unimaginative, respects the height and character of the neighbouring buildings. The developers will be meeting the City planners shortly, and we will post up more details when they are available.

FMC's Annual General Meeeting was held on 17th May, and if you were unable to attend, a video of the meeting is available at https://vimeo.com/217912683. The agenda can be viewed on our Meetings page.

Revised proposal for redevelopment of 
    18 Chesterton RoadRevised proposal for redevelopment of 18 Chesterton Road. After receiving the initial, disappointing plans for this site (see below), the FMC committee met with the architects to discuss improvements. We have now seen their revised plans, which we believe are more acceptable though further improvements could be made. Please email us with any comments.

Open meeting on 15th March – The public meeting on "The regeneration of Mitcham’s Corner" was well attended, and included presentations on the Mitcham’s Corner Development Framework, schemes elsewhere, and the views of disability groups, cycling groups, and individuals who have a personal experience of Mitcham’s Corner. We also discussed the low-speed "shared space" approach, which is one of the options being considered. Notes on the meeting are available, and you can get more details on our Meetings page.

More changes at Mitcham's Corner – The pace of change at Mitcham's Corner continues to be high. Following on the arrival of newcomers such as Camyoga and Nicolas Anthony, and the relocation of Radmore's Farm Shop, a number of familiar businesses and landmarks may be disappearing from the Corner or changing ownership.

    Initial proposal for redevelopment of 
        18 Chesterton Road
  • 18 Chesterton Road (next to the Tivoli) – the owners of the site are developing a proposal to demolish the existing building and replace it with a 'mixed use' development. Their initial ideas are for a building with two retail units at street level and 12 flats in the two storeys above. There would be no on-site parking. Note that this is NOT yet a planning application, and these plans have not been discussed with the Planning Department – the architects are simply asking for comments from FMC and its members. You can download the plans and 3D impressions from the links on the right: please let us know your views, as this is an opportunity to influence the future of this important site at an early stage.
     
  • Staples – The new owners of the Staples organisation, Hilco Capital, is renaming the 100+ stores "Office Outlet" and they will continue trading as retailers of office equipment and stationery.
     
  • The Waterman – Following the expiry of the lease on the site, we understand that the building will be refurbished and continue to operate as a pub and restaurant as part of a large Cambridge chain.
     
  • The Tivoli has been sold and the Council has given the developers "pre-application advice" regarding the site. Officers have confirmed to FMC that they have NOT given any kind of agreement that the existing facade can be demolished. In fact, the recently endorsed Development Framework for Mitcham's Corner states that "Where redevelopment occurs, the opportunity to enhance the built form of the high street should be taken through the retention of the historic street frontage and/or the retention of its character." (p.47) FMC will continue to defend this position strongly.
     
  • HSBC and Barclays banks – The Chesterton Road branch of HSBC bank has now closed, and it is uncertain what the future of the site will be. Further, we understand that the owners of the site of Barclays are informally discussing options for the site with the Council.
     

Aerial view of Mitcham's Corner The final version of the Development Framework for Mitcham's Corner was agreed at a Council meeting on 25 January. It has now been adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document that will come into force at the same time as the new Local Plan. It is expected that most of the money for the upgrades to Mitcham's Corner will come from the second tranche of City Deal funding, and work is therefore unlikely to begin any earlier than 2020. The Development Framework contains a number of additions and amendments put forward by FMC and represents a huge step forward in our campaign to get rid of the gyratory and improve the Mitcham’s Corner area. We are reviewing the details and will discuss the implications at the open meeting in March. The finalised document can be viewed here [12MB]. Please let us know your views.


Composite map of Mitcham's Corner area A Development Framework for Mitcham’s Corner The Council's public consultation on a proposed Development Framework for Mitcham’s Corner has now closed. The proposals are an important step towards the regeneration of the area, based on removing the gyratory road system. FMC has submitted a response which was favourable and made several suggestions based on your comments: you can view our document here.

The main features of the proposals are:

  • Replacement of the gyratory with a two-way road system and a staggered T-junction ("dog-leg") between Milton Road and Victoria Avenue.
  • No traffic lights on the junctions, nor any segregation of buses, cars and cycles: an innovative "shared space" approach that has been implemented successfully elsewhere.
  • New urban space, street and public realm improvements, and downgrading of parts of the gyratory to local streets only.
  • Specific guidance for the eventual development of Henry Giles House and the Staples site, and more general guidelines for other developments in the area (e.g. the Tivoli site).
  • Costs could range between £2 million and £4 million, funded from future tranches from City Deal, the Local Centres Improvement Programme and planning obligations funding ("Section 106" contributions). Work can be done in phases e.g. road system first, public realm enhancements second.
  • “Any future developer will have to agree the details of planning obligations [in line with the Master Plan] at planning application stages”.

Rebooting the City Deal Smarter Cambridge Transport recently held a public event discussing alternatives to the large engineering solutions being proposed by the City Deal. Speakers presented ideas on on light rail, better bus journeys and the potential of cycling, while MPs Heidi Allen and Daniel Zeichner both called on the City Deal to ask the government for a pause to rethink the approach and get it right. Videos of the presentations and panel discussion, plus various documents, are available on the site of Smarter Cambridge Transport.

  • Findings from the City Deal consultation on Milton Road were published on 24th May. A summary can be seen on the City Deal website. More details are provided on our Milton Road Scheme page, but in summary the reports recommend a modified form of the 'Do Something' option:
    – three-lane carriageway with single bus lane, and cycleways on both sides
    – both inbound and outbound bus lanes (staggered) at all major junctions
    – junction changes at Elizabeth Way and Union Lane, but no banning of turns
    – major changes to Mitcham's Corner are likely to be included in the second tranche of City Deal projects (after 2020) after more detailed planning.
     
  • Recommendations for Histon Road are also available on the City Deal website. In this case the "Do Maximum" option is recommended, including the controversial closing off of Victoria Road from the Histon Road junction.
     
  • Results of the Cambridge Access Study have been published and are available on the City Deal website. This is a very important study looking at traffic, parking and congestion issues across Cambridge, and makes recommendations to deal with these issues. A summary of the report, prepared for the City Deal meetings listed above, is available here.