Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

84 new homes to replace 30 in Fanshawe Road in Cambridge, despite neighbours’ protests

Approval has been granted for 30 homes to be demolished in Fanshawe Road in Cambridge and 84 new homes to be built in their place.

Cambridge city councillors agreed to the redevelopment plans, involving the demolition of three blocks of flats and the construction of six new housing blocks, despite concerns from a neighbours group, who accused the council of “gentrification”.

A CGI of how the Fanshawe Road redevelopment in Cambridge will look. Picture: CIP
A CGI of how the Fanshawe Road redevelopment in Cambridge will look. Picture: CIP

But councillors heard the existing homes “fall below current nationally described space standards, have very low thermal efficiency” and “are in poor condition, with structural issues”. The homes comprise 20 council flats an 10 leasehold flats, built in the 1950s.

Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP), a joint venture between the city council and developer Hill, is behind the project, and a representative told a planning committee on Wednesday last week (March 27) that it would deliver “much-needed new homes”, more than half of which would be available at below the market rent.

Of the 84 new homes, 45 will be deemed affordable housing while 39 will be sold as private homes.

Three quarters of the affordable homes will have their rent capped at 60 per cent of the market rent and the rest will have theirs capped at 80 per cent.

But a representative of the Fanshawe Road and Davy Road neighbours group criticised the lack of social rented properties planned.

Claiming the project was an example of “immoral gentrification”, the representative said the group also opposed the loss of the existing open area outside the flat blocks, which they said had been recognised by the city council as protected open space.

Members of the neighbours group
Members of the neighbours group

“84 extra homes is too many for this area if it means building on the aforementioned green space,” said the resident.

“Building five-storey buildings is out of keeping with our neighbourhood of terraced and semi-detached houses and will totally transform the views and right to light of the households currently living at number 10 and number eight.

“We object to the approach of ‘cram them in, stack them high and price them high’.”

A CIP representative said the protected area of open space would be replaced with a new larger area that would “form the heart” of the redevelopment, which would be open and accessible to all.

The new homes will be “highly efficient and sustainable” and the project would have “extensive and far reaching” benefits, the developer’s representative said, adding: “In terms of the height and scale of the buildings, while taller than the buildings which immediately surround the site, the proposed apartment blocks sit comfortably within their landscape setting and respect the amenities of neighbours.

“A series of view points were assessed to consider the wider townscape impacts, based on the extensive work undertaken. We agree with the committee report that what is proposed meets the Local Plan requirements and will deliver a high quality and respectful development.

“This development delivers 84 much-needed new homes, 54 per cent of which are affordable homes, significantly exceeding the policy requirement of 40 per cent.

The Fanshawe Road estate
The Fanshawe Road estate

“The new homes will be highly efficient, comfortable, resilient to climate change and accessible to all, including those in wheelchairs.

“The significant uplift in the quantity and quality of housing being provided is a significant benefit of the development.”

Cycling charity Camcycle said the development should be a “car-free scheme” but if car parking had to be provided it should be below ground.

Others who objected suggested there was not enough car parking, while further representations suggested the development was too dense, too tall, would overshadow the recreation ground and allotments and would impact habitat for bats and swifts.

Funding of £27.9million for the scheme was approved by councillors in June 2022.

Cllr Martin Smart (Lab, King’s Hedges) thought the plans were “impressive” and noted the energy efficiency measures would save residents money on their bills.

Cllr Dave Baigent (Lab, Romsey) did not like the accusation of “gentrification”.

He said: “We are building homes for people in this city - people who cannot afford their own houses. I think gentrification slur is badly used and regrettable.”

Some councillors had mixed views.

Fanshawe Road. Picture: Google
Fanshawe Road. Picture: Google

Cllr Robert Dryden (Lab, Cherry Hinton) welcomed the new homes to help meet the demands of the city council’s housing waiting list but felt it was a “shame” not all of the new housing would be council homes.

Cllr Katie Porrer (Lib Dem, Market) said: “There are some really positive things about this site. I do understand what people are saying about the biodiversity, but the category A trees are being preserved and we are seeing replacement planting. Personally, I like the idea of opening up that area.”

However, Cllr Porrer raised concerns that some of the affordable homes would be single aspect, meaning they would only have one wall with windows exposed to the outside.

She found the design of the buildings to be “quite blocky” and felt the view of the proposed buildings was “challenging”.

Cllr David Levien (Lib Dem, Trumpington) felt there was “a lot to commend” about the new development, but was “disappointed” that the affordable housing was concentrated in two buildings rather than distributed across the site.

Council officers said the developer was proposing mitigation measures to prevent overheating in the single aspect flats.

Fanshawe Road. Picture: Google
Fanshawe Road. Picture: Google

They recognised there was some clustering of the affordable housing, but said the ‘over policy provision’ of affordable housing at the development meant it was considered on balance to be acceptable.

A £359,000 contribution to the Chisholm Trail cycling route will be made by the developers.

Cllr Porrer asked whether a decision could be deferred to ask the developer to address some of the concerns raised but the proposal did not receive enough support from the committee and, in a vote, a majority of councillors voted in favour of approving the plans.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More