£3m boost for Cambridge Park Street economy ‘will come too late for firms’
The owner of the Maypole pub in Cambridge believes a forecasted £3million a year boost to the city centre from the Park Street car park redevelopment may arrive too late to save some businesses from closing.
A report by Cambridge City Council claims that plans for a new apart-hotel and underground car park will bring the centre a £3m economic upsurge. However, the work to demolish the current car park and replace it with the new development will take five years to complete, putting nearby businesses under pressure to survive. The report by Savills shows Cambridge would benefit from an estimated £2.5m annual expenditure by the apart-hotel guests, while creating 40 full-time jobs.
But the owner of the Maypole, Vincent Castiglione, who recently urged customers to object to the development plans, says he believes the report, while fine in the long run, ignores the businesses which will be left facing closure while the work takes place.
He told the Cambridge Independent: “While it is being built, it is going to damage the economy. They are are just focusing on the most positive outcome. Real life is not like that. A lot of businesses won’t survive.
“You can try to create as much positive PR as you want. If I was doing a development like that, I would focus on the positive points but the council has to give a balanced view.”
Mr Castiglione sent a letter to the pub’s customers and nearby residents and businesses making them aware of the short timeframe to place an objection to the plans.
He added: “We’ve had a meeting with the council and the developers and I have raised a lot of awareness – I think they were shocked by how much really. They know now the whole thing is out in the public eye, which is probably why they’ve bought out this positive spin. But people who don’t know the full facts will just look at the economy boost headline and think that it is all good, but they don’t know what it takes to get to that point.”
Another report, by the developers Marick Real Estate, claims the apart-hotel will spend £500,000 a year on goods and services.
A council spokesperson said: “Some businesses in the area immediately surrounding the Park Street site may experience some displacement. However,
this will be offset by the ultimate economic benefits of the redevelopment, and by the potential daily spending in the area of around 100 construction workers.”