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Cambridge Retail Park vision to create destination for shoppers and workers unveiled





The owner of Cambridge Retail Park pledged to transform it into a “vibrant” destination for shoppers and workers as redevelopment plans were unveiled.

Railpen has unveiled its investment vision for the future of Cambridge Retail Park on Newmarket Road, Cambridge Picture: Keith Heppell
Railpen has unveiled its investment vision for the future of Cambridge Retail Park on Newmarket Road, Cambridge Picture: Keith Heppell

Changes to retail patterns and the need to respond to climate change are behind the plans for the Newmarket Road site.

They include the addition of new office space, created by cutting 23 parking spaces, alongside retail units and more cycle parking.

The redevelopment of 230 Newmarket Road will also include a new café pavilion on the corner of the site opposite the Premier Inn and a mixed use office/retail building.

The park is currently home to the likes of Lidl, Sports Direct, Homebase, Sofology, Dunelm and Boots, along with food and drink outlets including Starbucks, Nando’s and Pizza Hut.

Matthew Howard, head of property asset management at Railpen, said: “We will be investing in the park to ensure it grows and develops as a retail destination, where good jobs are created and sustained, and that better complements its neighbourhood.

Artist’s impression of how 230 Newmarket Road on Cambridge Retail Park could look Picture: Railpen
Artist’s impression of how 230 Newmarket Road on Cambridge Retail Park could look Picture: Railpen

“This investment will ensure that it stays vibrant and relevant in the face of global trends in retail and the shift to online shopping. Improvements will respond to climate challenges, making spaces more usable by people, not cars, and enhancing its biodiversity, addressing some of the key critical challenges that Cambridge City Council has identified for the city.”

Railpen purchased the 230,000 sq ft retail park in 2020 for around £100million. The Railways Pension Scheme, which is responsible for the safekeeping and investment of around £30billion, also owns the Beehive Centre. Earlier this year, it announced plans to knock down the centre and turn it into a landscaped science and technology site.

It has said that some of the shops and businesses from the Beehive could be accommodated on the adjoining Cambridge Retail Park.

In September, Railpen purchased the 309,000 sq ft office Botanic Place development, which was owned by Pace Investments, and includes the Flying Pig public house. Railpen is also behind the Devonshire Gardens development in Cambridge.

Mr Howard continued: “Just as importantly, it complements our work to develop The Beehive Centre into a new destination and hub for science, technology and innovation. It underscores our commitment to this part of Cambridge and will help us to fulfil our promise to keep a broad and interesting range of shops to serve the community. Right now we have launched a website where local people can find out about our vision.

“Over the coming months we will be bringing forward more detailed proposals for the future of Cambridge Retail Park and expect to launch a consultation on our first phase of investment in the autumn.”

At least 300 new cycle parking spaces will be created for office workers and retail customers in a dedicated hub under the Cambridge Retail Park plans along with enhanced landscaping and tree planting.

Railpen says it is responding to Newmarket Road’s opportunity area by “delivering an office on the upper floors, with a range of spaces for a variety of tenants creating a range of employment opportunities”.

It says it will commit to a “significant investment” over the next five years to building a “strong and resilient” retail park. The plans for 230 Newmarket Road are expected to be the start of wider plans to redevelop the site.

Peter Beck from Ridgelift, development manager for Railpen, talking to residents at a consultation event on Tuesday Picture: Keith Heppell Picture: Keith Heppell. (60559820)
Peter Beck from Ridgelift, development manager for Railpen, talking to residents at a consultation event on Tuesday Picture: Keith Heppell Picture: Keith Heppell. (60559820)

It adds: “The new vision will enhance the offer and experience for visitors creating more reasons to visit Cambridge Retail Park, including an evolving mix of shops, food and drink, and leisure spaces.

“To achieve this, investment will make the site work more efficiently and the area taken up by car parking will be utilised more intelligently. This will create space for new commercial buildings, green spaces and landscaping.

“Railpen will enhance the character of the site through investment in the architectural quality of new buildings and improvements to existing buildings. In particular, the intent is to bring new life, and more green and usable spaces to Newmarket Road.

“The vision also seeks to create better connections to the neighbouring area with improved gateways to the site, enhanced dedicated pedestrian and cycle routes through it.

“Tackling climate change will be achieved over time by moving the retail park over to green energy, reducing the area of car parking, enhancing cycling routes, introducing climate adaptation measures and building new buildings that are low or net zero carbon.”

The plans for 230 Newmarket Road will be on show tonight (Thursday, November 10) between 2.30pm and 5.30pm at City Church in Cheddars Lane, Cambridge.

For full details and to register, email cambridgeretailpark@fourcommunications.com.



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