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Abbeygate House in Cambridge - home to BHF shop - to be demolished and replaced with six-storey building



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A new building of up to six storeys will replace the three-storey block in Cambridge that houses the British Heart Foundation shop on its ground floor and offices above.

City councillors unanimously agreed to the plans for Abbeygate House, in East Road, which will maintain retail space on the ground floor, with office space on upper floors.

The plans for Abbeygate House in East Road, Cambridge. Picture: Pavilion Property Trustees (52902791)
The plans for Abbeygate House in East Road, Cambridge. Picture: Pavilion Property Trustees (52902791)

The new building will be stepped, making it part three-storey, part four-storey and part six storeys in height.

Two garden terraces are planned on the roofs of the lower sections for office workers.

There will be no car parking, other than disabled parking spaces, with 194 cycle parking spaces planned for office workers and shop staff.

Concerns had been raised by people living opposite the site about the impact the redevelopment will have on noise and traffic, as well as overshadowing their homes.

One objection submitted to the city council said: “The road is already constantly in use, morning, noon and all night. These works will cause chaos and increase the traffic, fumes and noise we already have each day.

“The building will restrict the light that comes into the houses and decrease the quality of living, even more so for those of us who work from home.

“Blocking out the natural light is unacceptable, it will overshadow the communal gardens too, more than the buildings already do.”

In a report to the planning committee last Wednesday (November 3), officers recognised the size of the building would result in “some enclosure and increase in the level of overbearingness” on some homes opposite.

But due to the positioning of the residential buildings and the distance from the new building, this was not considered “significant enough to be considered harmful”.

The plans for Abbeygate House in East Road, Cambridge. Picture: Pavilion Property Trustees (52902793)
The plans for Abbeygate House in East Road, Cambridge. Picture: Pavilion Property Trustees (52902793)

The agent for the applicant Pavilion Property Trustees told the meeting: “The existing building makes no positive contribution to the local environment, and has no architectural merit.

“The replacement building is a modern, high quality, and sustainable design.

“The proposals make a positive contribution to the build environment of the city, and it will create new job opportunities and be part of improvements to East Road.”

Cllr Martin Smart said he initially did not like the design but was “warming” to it and accepted it would be a “big improvement” on the existing building, which he described as being “pretty rubbish”.

Cllr Katie Thornburrow, who is an architect, said she wanted to “really encourage” planning officers to “expect the very best materials” when the developer puts those forward.

Councillors asked for the developer to be advised on ensuring cycle storage was accessible for different types of bikes on using gas assisted cycle racks, to make them easier to use.


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