Councillor says this corner of Cambridge would be a 'monstrosity' if student flats get built
A Romsey building which is described as having 'emotional interest' is, for a second time, planned to be turned into student flats.
The Romsey Labour Club, a 1928 Victorian-style red brick building on Mill Road, would be turned into a new nursery and 37 self-contained student rooms. The existing front of the building would be retained and an additional floor would be built above it. Behind the building would be a four-storey block of flats.
Labour councillor for Romsey ward, Cllr Dave Baigent, said: “The design is the worst thing for us. Student flats we’re against because we have got enough in Romsey already. We’re trying to keep a balance so people don’t resent the fact that students are here.
“If you come down at the moment you can see the sky. You won’t be able to see the sky if the plans go ahead. It will make the whole area gloomy and that will be detrimental to Romsey, which is now being called a cool place to visit. It’s not very cool to have a beautiful Victorian corner ripped apart by a modern monstrosity.”
He said that in an ideal scenario, the Romsey area would greatly benefit from the building if the council was able to buy it and use it as a base for a variety of community services.
“The developer says in its application that it’s sympathetic – it isn’t sympathetic. It will be a modern development in a Victorian corner. It’s one of those things that you can’t step back from.”
Mill Road History Society has objected to the plans, saying the development as a whole has a “disconnected relationship to the frontage” and is “unsympathetic” to the Mill Road Conservation Area and the building, which is of “local and emotional interest”.
Initial proposals from Duxford Development Ltd were for shop units on the ground floor, but this was changed to a proposal for a nursery.
Each of the proposed student rooms would have space for a bed, kitchen and bathroom, and would be, on average, about 21.6 sq m in size.
In the design statement for site, submitted to Cambridge City Council, PiP Architecture states: “The room arrangements have been driven by the preference to provide space for cooking, living, eating, sleeping, washing, studying and relaxing all within a self-contained module. It was key that all aspects of the design areas were of a standard that will enhance the character of the conservation area and city of Cambridge.
“A modern/contemporary style above the existing BLI is set back to be subservient while providing a positive contribution to the character of the wider area.”