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Drop in and hear plans for East Barnwell regeneration





Residents in Abbey ward can find out more about the plans to regenerate East Barnwell at an indoor drop-in event at Christ the Redeemer church on Newmarket Road on Monday (January 16) from 3-7pm.

Dr Hannah Charlotte Copley, left, and Naomi Bennett are two of Abbey ward’s Green Party councillors
Dr Hannah Charlotte Copley, left, and Naomi Bennett are two of Abbey ward’s Green Party councillors

Cambridge City Council aims “to transform the East Barnwell central area to create a new vibrant heart to the community with improved facilities and services and high-quality public open spaces and housing”. The proposals will result in a new library, community centre, nursery and bowls club, plus 160 new homes – of which officials have said 40 per cent will be ‘affordable’.

The drop-in at Christ the Redeemer church will allow members of the public to meet representatives from the council and ask any questions they may have about the project.

Cllr Naomi Bennett (Abbey, Green) said: “We still don’t know if GCP are coming but city officers have had lots of talks with them and will be able to update us. They have made some changes to the plan as a result of the consultation and will publish an updated timeline.

“They will also be reporting on plans to refresh play spaces and sports facilities, particularly near Abbey Pools, but Peverel Estate and Ditton Fields will get some TLC too. There are still a lot of alternative locations for some of the sports facilities and we really need resident feedback on those.

“One particular issue is whether the bowls club goes to Abbey Pools overflow car park – convenient for people carrying heavy bowls – or goes on the Common where the clubhouse can double up as a cafe that all visitors to the common can enjoy.”

Redevelopment plans for East Barnwell will be discussed at a drop-in for residents on Newmarket Road
Redevelopment plans for East Barnwell will be discussed at a drop-in for residents on Newmarket Road

She added of the Monday drop-in: “We expect to be welcoming a broad range of officers, residents and local stakeholders.”

The proposals will involve building a new community centre and library first on the south west corner of Newmarket Road and Barnwell Road.

Cllr Bennett said: “They are still trying to decide whether the community cafe goes on that plot or the pre-school nursery. But there will also be some new one- and two-bedroom flats on that plot. Some of these will be council housing and some will be sold at market value.

The second plot to be built will be Barnwell Parade, Cllr Bennett said.

“The shops will be replaced and there will be either a nursery or a cafe as well as more one- and two-bedroom flats.

“Then the last plot is where the old community centre is now. This will be a small number of three- or four-bedroom houses which will be sold at market value. This raises the money to pay for the new community centre and nursery because the money the county council set aside for this doesn’t cover the costs – which is one of the many reasons why it’s taken so long.They are still trying to decide whether the community cafe goes on that plot or the pre-school nursery.”

Last year’s drop-in at Christ The Redeemer Church was very productive. Picture: Keith Heppell
Last year’s drop-in at Christ The Redeemer Church was very productive. Picture: Keith Heppell

Among the key themes will be what happens to the current residents above Barnwell Shops, and how many homes will actually be made available under affordable housing protocols.

“We have a lot of people on the housing waiting list locally who really want to stay in Abbey,” said Cllr Bennett. “There will be 142 new one- and two-bedroom flats on the site of which over 50 will be social housing. If you look on this site and select View Homes I expect that you will find that there are fewer one- and two-bedroom properties available for people on the waiting list than there will be on the Barnwell site.”

Cllr Hannah Copley (Abbey, Green) added: “One really exciting development which is being discussed in detail this time round is the different options for where to put new sports and recreation facilities – including a tennis court, table-tennis tables, a multi-use games area and the bowls pitch, with a pavilion.

“There are lots of potential locations for these – ideas include table-tennis tables on the green spaces on Peverel Road, a tennis court on the Ditton Fields Play Area, the bowls pitch on the Abbey Pool overflow car park or on the edge of Coldham’s Common – as well as many other potential arrangements – please go along or have a look at the website to share where you think would be the best places for each one.”

Cambridge City Council will also be holding a webinar on January 23 from 6-7pm. If you are unable to attend the in-person event, sign up here.

An online survey where you can provide your feedback will be made available online on Friday (January 13). Paper versions will be provided at Monday’s in-person event.



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