FRIENDS OF MITCHAM'S CORNER
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 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.
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.
The main features of the proposals are:
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.