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Consultation over East Road and Norfolk Street plans in Cambridge as cafe owner voices alarm over demolition





The owner of a cafe which has been in business for 13 years has spoken of his shock after discovering Cambridge City Council plans to demolish the building.

The city council announced this week that it hopes to knock down the existing building at 47-51 Norfolk Street - home to the Box Cafe and other businesses - and create about four new commercial units, including a cafe and improved local centre, and about seven new homes.

Ozy Ozcam runs the Box Cafe which, under the proposal, would be knocked down to make way for the development.

CIP will hold a consultation event on the East Road and Norfolk Street proposals
CIP will hold a consultation event on the East Road and Norfolk Street proposals

Ozy rents the unit and was aware the lease was up for renewal in August next year, but was stunned when neighbours showed him a leaflet about the council’s development proposal.

He said: “We’ve been through all the emotions about this. We are sad and worried. We've been here a long time and ours is a type of business that's difficult to just carry to another place. It's not like an office. We couldn’t manage from home for a few weeks or anything like that. Our customers are local and we have become part of our local community.

“We'll go to the consultation meeting on Tuesday and try to understand more about what’s going to happen.

“We knew the lease was coming to an end but in previous years it has simply been renewed. I don’t know what we are going to do - we don’t have any plans in place. I’m not sure whether my wife and I could open up somewhere else or if we would have to have a complete change of career. We have children at school in Cambridge so we have to stay in this area.

“The leaflet says there will be a cafe in the new development. Maybe that could be us but it depends how long the building work would take and if it would be viable for us to stay. We just don’t know anything. People locally have been really nice to us about it and we are all shocked. I think as we have been here a long time it would have been nice if someone had spoken to us so we didn’t have to find out from our neighbours.”

A consultation event on the plans for Norfolk Street will be held on Tuesday (November 8), hosted by Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP).

Residents dropping in will also be able to see proposals for a separate site at East Road where there are proposals to build 40 homes at a site in Cambridge where high winds caused structural damage to a block of garages.

The drop-in event will be held from 3-7pm at St Matthew’s Church in St Matthew’s Street, where the project team will be on hand.

A survey for residents to provide feedback will go live after the event on a dedicated website at https://eastroadandnorfolkstreet.co.uk.

Staffordshire Street in Cambridge, where the wall collapsed in Storm Eunice. Picture: Keith Heppell
Staffordshire Street in Cambridge, where the wall collapsed in Storm Eunice. Picture: Keith Heppell

Storm Eunice caused a wall to collapse at the block of garages in Staffordshire Street, adjacent to East Road, on February 18, leaving it structurally unsound.

CIP, a partnership between the develop Hill and Cambridge City Council, proposes up to 40 homes there with “high sustainability standards”, alongside new public realm, commercial units, new routes to improve connectivity and wider estate improvements.

Cllr Gerri Bird, executive councillor for housing at Cambridge City Council and CIP board member, said: “We hope to see as many residents as possible at our in-person event to give them the opportunity to meet our project team and discuss the proposals as well as have any questions answered.

Staffordshire Street in Cambridge, where the wall collapsed in Storm Eunice. Picture: Keith Heppell
Staffordshire Street in Cambridge, where the wall collapsed in Storm Eunice. Picture: Keith Heppell

“We know that any proposed redevelopment in an area can be disruptive, but our teams are committed to working together with the local community to support and minimise this as much as possible.”

Tom Hill, regional director of Hill, said: “As part of our ongoing programme as a partnership we are committed to delivering high quality sustainable affordable and private sale homes as well as improving public realm and creating new commercial and community facilities. We look forward to hearing the views from the local community on these proposals and will work together to build on the success of our previous projects across the city.”



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