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Decision over redevelopment of The Emperor pub in Cambridge deferred

A decision over a redevelopment of The Emperor pub in Cambridge’s Hills Road has been delayed after councillors asked for more information about fire safety.

MPM Properties proposes to keep the front of the building, but to demolish and rebuild the rest to create new office space, alongside the pub.

In planning documents, it said: “Within the new development, a larger and more usable pub space will be provided over two floors (basement and ground floor) with the new business use provided to the rear and on the upper floors.

“Discussions have taken place with the existing pub tenant regarding the new pub space to be provided at the site and they have influenced the design and layout of the space and it meets with their requirements.”

The application had been recommended for approval by city council planning officers, who wrote in a report: “In principle, the introduction of office use to the rear of the site and on the upper floors of the building is acceptable.

“The proposed redevelopment of the public house would not adversely impact the future viability of The Emperor.

“The proposal’s design, layout and scale is compatible with its surroundings and although minor harm is identified to the conservation area through loss of rear parts of the existing building, any harm is outweighed by the public benefits of the scheme.”

But the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) objected, raising concerns over the amount of space proposed for the pub.

Camra said the basement and dining area would be smaller, and highlighted that there would be no pub garden.

The fact that the plans did not offer licensee accommodation was also raised by the group, as it would make the pub a “less attractive” business option.

At a planning committed last Wednesday (August 3), Cllr Dave Baigent (Lab, Romsey) asked for it to be deferred.

He said: “There is no fire officer’s report for us to consider. There is an underground basement which has got a restaurant and kitchen and a spare room in.

“There is only a single exit from that ground floor up a staircase and I think we need to have a fire service opinion on this before we consider it.”

A majority of the committee councillors voted in agreement to defer the discussion to a future meeting.

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