FRIENDS OF MITCHAM'S CORNER

NEWS

Student Castle application for use as apart hotel. The City Council's Planning Committee has met to consider the application by Student Castle for change of use of part of the site from student accommodation to apart hotel. Paddy Mannion from FMC spoke against the application, and there was intense discussion in the meeting. Most Councillors present were against, but the planning officers were adamant that there are not sufficient reasons to reject it, arguing that there must be a clear legal case, or there is considerable risk of the Council losing at appeal, resulting in six-figure costs.

The Committee finally agreed that they need more time to arrive at a decision based on strong grounds. We do not know when this final planning meeting will take place, but FMC is working with our Councillors and MP to develop as convincing a case as possible, and to publicise the situation. In particular, Student Castle have failed to prove that parking is freely available in the Mitcham’s Corner area, as they claim: most of the streets they mention have residents-only parking, and others are under severe parking pressure. There is also a point of principle: if this application is passed so soon after Student Castle was permitted as a student-only hostel, then any application for student accommodation throughout the city is meaningless, as this precedent shows that developers can easily transform their site into apart hotel accommodation.

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.