Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Appeal upheld over plans to transform Romsey Labour Club into short stay visitor flats





A developer has won an appeal to turn the historic Romsey Labour Club in Cambridge into 43 visitor flats.

Cambridge City Council had refused the plans with one councillor branding them a “betrayal of what the club was built for”.

This decision has now been overturned by a planning inspector.

Romsey Labour Club, Mill Road, Cambridge Picture: Google
Romsey Labour Club, Mill Road, Cambridge Picture: Google

The application proposed to demolish part of the Romsey Labour Club in Mill Road in order to build 43 short-stay flats. A cafe, gym, and community space were also proposed alongside the serviced apartments.

Under the plans, the historic frontage of the building would be kept and incorporated into the new building.

Previous plans to convert the building into 36 serviced apartments, alongside a cafe, gym and community space were approved back in 2019.

Planning officers had recommended the latest application for approval, but it was unanimously rejected by councillors last year.

A representative of the developer Duxford Developments Ltd told councillors the new proposals made a “better use of the site” and would “regenerate this eyesore”.

However, councillors raised concerns that the short-stay flats and communal areas proposed would “fail to provide a suitable amount of communal space” needed for a “high-quality scheme”.

Cllr Katie Porrer (Lib Dem, Market) said the plans offered “lots of extra rooms”, but did not offer extra benefits for the community.

Cllr Martin Smart (Lab, King’s Hedges) said he thought the development was “ugly” and said the plans were a “betrayal of what this club was first built for”.

The developer appealed to the planning inspectorate, which has now overturned the council’s decision.

In the inspector’s report, they said they believed there would be enough communal space for people staying in the flats in the new development.

Illustrative image of what the redeveloped Romsey Labour Club, Mill Road, Cambridge could look like. Image taken from planning documents submitted to Cambridge City Council. Picture: Duxford Developments Ltd. Permission for use for all partners
Illustrative image of what the redeveloped Romsey Labour Club, Mill Road, Cambridge could look like. Image taken from planning documents submitted to Cambridge City Council. Picture: Duxford Developments Ltd. Permission for use for all partners

They said: “The courtyard as proposed is a regular shape continuing a mix of hard and soft landscaped areas, the precise details which could be secured by condition.

“In my view, it would be adequate in terms of size and shape providing a pleasant external space both visually and functionally meeting the needs of visitors.

“Whilst serviced apartment visitors tend to stay for extended periods of time compared to those staying in a hotel it is unlikely that the quantum of external space is a determinative factor when deciding upon accommodation.

“Future occupiers would have access to the cafe and gymnasium on site and for additional recreational needs they would have the option of visiting parks and green spaces including the Coleridge Recreation Ground located within short walking distance from the site.”

The planning inspector said they were also satisfied that concerns over how the proposed disabled parking bay on Coleridge Road would meet Building Regulations policies could be dealt with through a planning condition.

They also said wheelchair users would be able to access the development through three ground floor entrances, and said they would be able to access all of the ground floor as it was proposed to be step-free.

The inspector said: “Whilst wheelchair users and disabled persons may not be able to access all of the development, I find that reasonable and practical access into and through the building would be provided including the cafe, community space, gymnasium and just over half of the serviced apartments.

“Furthermore, there is nothing to suggest that the on-site management team would not be able to assist those who may have more acute needs to move through the building.

“Such matters could be secured through the imposition of a suitable worded condition. I also note the council’s access officer raised no objection to the scheme.

“Accordingly, the proposed development would be accessible and inclusive for wheelchair users and disabled persons and who would not be placed at a substantial disadvantage.”



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