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£54m East Barnwell revamp to be determined by councillors





Councillors are set to decide whether a £54million regeneration project in East Barnwell should proceed - but the scheme has prompted a raft of objections.

Cambridge City Council wants to redevelop two sites at the Newmarket Road junction to create a new ‘local centre’ and build 120 flats.

Illustrative image of the proposed East Barnwell redevelopment in Cambridge. Image: Cambridge Investment Partnership
Illustrative image of the proposed East Barnwell redevelopment in Cambridge. Image: Cambridge Investment Partnership

The proposals for the redevelopment have been put forward by the Cambridge Investment Partnership, a development company set up by the council with Hill Investment Partnerships.

The company said there has been “little investment” in community facilities in East Barnwell for many years, and said the latest proposals offered to create a new local centre that is “liveable, accessible and sustainable”.

Under the proposals, the existing buildings on both of the sites would be demolished, including the Abbey Bowls Club, the library and a parade of 1960s shops with flats above them.

In their place, 120 new affordable homes are proposed to be built, alongside a new community centre, library, pre-school, shops and potentially a new cafe.

The new homes would include 43 one-bedroom flats, 61 two-bedroom flats, 12 three-bedroom flats, and four three-bedroom maisonettes.

The council estimated the project will cost more than £54m.

Illustrative image of the proposed East Barnwell redevelopment in Cambridge. Image: Cambridge Investment Partnership
Illustrative image of the proposed East Barnwell redevelopment in Cambridge. Image: Cambridge Investment Partnership

Councillors on a planning committee meeting next Tuesday (June 11) will determine whether the plans should go ahead

The application has been recommended for approval by planning officers, who said in a report to the meeting: “The development would increase the amount of affordable housing in a sustainable location to help meet an identified demand within the local area.

“The site is capable of accommodating the addition of the proposed larger and taller buildings without having a detrimental impact on the character of the surrounding area, or the Cambridge skyline. The scale, height and massing proposed is supported.

“The proposed development would provide a high quality, sustainable development that would not have an significant adverse impact on the residential amenity of the neighbouring occupiers.

“The proposal would provide new high-quality facilities for the local community including a community centre, library, pre-school and commercial units.”

However, 29 objections have been lodged against the plans.

Concerns were raised about the potential “overbearing nature” of some of the new blocks of flat, with one objector arguing it was if the developers wanted to “cram as many houses as possible onto one site”.

Abbey Bowls Club also objected, as its existing base would be demolished.

The club said it will not move until a new location “with agreed modern facilities” is built.

Illustrative image of the proposed East Barnwell redevelopment in Cambridge. Image: Cambridge Investment Partnership
Illustrative image of the proposed East Barnwell redevelopment in Cambridge. Image: Cambridge Investment Partnership

As the Cambridge Independent has reported, a petition was also set up raising concerns about the loss of the existing shops, including the Spar, while the redevelopment construction work takes place.

The petition organisers said they urged the city council to “reconsider its plans in a way that protects existing businesses”.

More than 900 people have signed the petition.

Three comments in support of the redevelopment plans have also been submitted to the city council.

One person wrote to “fully support” the plans to build the new homes, arguing they were “desperately needed” in the city due to “soaring property prices and high rents”.

The supporter added that the new community centre, library, and shops would help “rejuvenate” what is “one of the more deprived” parts of the city.



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