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Call for more office spaces as Cambridge tops successful city centres list

By Ben Comber

The vacant bingo hall in Hobson Street is being suggested for a conversion to employment space.

Cambridge has the most successful city centre in the UK says a report published by thinktank Centre for Cities.

The report found that successful city centres have more than three times more office space than retail.

It has led to calls for more larger buildings in the city centre, such as the vacant bingo hall on Hobson Street, to be turned into shared work spaces.

Centre for Cities found that Cambridge is the UK city with the least high street retail vacancies, at 8 per cent, tied with Brighton and Exeter.

The report said 61 per cent of commercial space in Cambridge is retail, compared to 38 per cent and 46 per cent for Brighton and Exeter, respectively.

Ian Sandison, CEO of Cambridge BID said: “As the report states, successful or strong cities have a beneficial mix of retail, work and living space all within the city centre.

“I would be keen to work with the local authorities and mayor Palmer’s team to repurpose some of the larger vacant premises into shared work spaces which could attract more entrepreneurs and creative companies into the centre of Cambridge.

“A good example of this would be the old Bingo Hall on Hobson Street.”

Andrew Carter, chief executive of Centre for Cities, said: “We need to reimagine struggling city centres as places where lots of different businesses can locate and create jobs – and where lots of people want to go to for a variety of reasons. This means reducing the reliance on shops, and focusing on creating a more attractive environment for a wider range of firms.”


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