easyCycles could be introduced alongside budget easyHotel in Cambridge
Councillor suggests Newmarket Road hotel would lead to increase in drug crime and prostitution
A fleet of orange and white ‘easyCycles’ would be rolled out in Cambridge if controversial plans for a super budget easyHotel are approved.
The group behind budget airline easyJet aims to introduce the branded bicycles for guests at its proposed Newmarket Road hotel, where rooms would cost from £19.99 a night.
The plans for the hotel were called before Cambridge City Council’s development control forum on September 7 following a petition from residents concerned about the impact of the plans.
Cllr Katie Thornburrow said there needed to be good infrastructure for cyclists.
She pointed out that cyclists had been killed while riding along other parts of Newmarket Road in the past, and said it was likely large groups would be visiting the hotel, possibly while using rental bikes.
Gareth Hanlon, from Savills property agents, said: “easyHotel is proposing to bring in a fleet of branded easyCycles to support the people staying in the hotel. They will have the option of using the cycles to get around town.
“Use of the cycles will have very strict rules around it.”
More than 150 objections have been received opposing the hotel, which would join a road already home to a Travelodge and Premier Inn.
It would sit on the corner of corner of Newmarket Road and Godesdone Road, replacing the Cooper store, which the owners say is not able to survive in the current retail climate.
Cllr Nicky Massey, who represents the Abbey ward on Cambridge City Council, said she was worried about the impact of the hotel on people living in nearby streets - and even suggested it could lead to more prostitution and drug crime.
“There is a growing link between anti-social behaviour in Newmarket Road around budget hotels, with drug dealing, muggings, and prostitution-based activities,” she said.
“It will not help in the fight against county lines drug dealing.”
A resident of one of the nearby streets said budget hotels often operated on a “lean staffing model”, which could lead to problems if large groups like stag or hen dos arrived in the city, and the staff were unable to respond to anti-social noise while dealing with guests.
The petition handed to the council calling for them to reject the application read: “Approval of this application would add to anti-social behaviour issues including drug dealing associated with budget hotels.
“To address public safety there is a need for design changes to the entrance as well as additional street lighting to avoid street disturbance and noise.”
The agent said easyHotel would adopt a “zero tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour”.
He said the site had been assessed by officers and that it had been deemed an appropriate place to put a new budget hotel.
Chairwoman Eileen Patterson said: “It is clear there are still issues to be resolved with this application.
“It is still under consideration, and there is no date for a decision yet.”
More by this authorJosh Thomas, Local Democracy Reporter