Flying Pig pub in Cambridge still at risk under new plans, warn campaigners
Historic Cambridge pub The Flying Pig will live on after a change of plans by developers - but regulars are warning a “substantial demolition” is still in the pipeline.
The much-loved music venue stands on land owned by Pace Developments, which wants to build offices and retail space on the Hills Road site.
The developer has bowed to public opinion after thousands of people signed a petition to save the pub and many attended a public consultation about its future.
Last week, Pace confirmed it could retain the front bar of the pub and its facade within the new development.
But campaigners warn business at The Flying Pig could be “crippled” if the new plans go ahead - which include demolishing the back bar of the pub and removing the living accommodation and beer garden.
The Save the Flying Pig website said: “While there is some positive movement, all is not as it seems and it is important that supporters of the campaign to save the pub stay alert and examine the details of the plans at the next consultation.
“Full demolition of the pub seems to be off the table now, but substantial demolition is still in the plans which, as well as potentially crippling the business by reducing the size of the inside and outside space, will include a full loss of living accommodation. It may still look OK from the front but be impossible to run.”
They are now urging anyone who loves the boozer to go to a consultation meeting next week (on December 5 and 7) to have their say about the future of the pub.
The Flying Pig pub on Hills Road dates back to the 1840s and is a popular live music venue that has welcomed many local musicians through the doors including Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett.
Musician Nick Barraclough plays there regularly and is the author of a history of the pub called 'A Disorderly House'.
He says: “The fact the front bar is going to stay is a start but it will just be reduced to a room and it’s sure to affect the viability of the pub as a going concern because their business will be restricted considerably by the demolition of the rear part of the building.
“At the moment they clear away four or five tables to accommodate the bands who ply. They won’t be able to afford to do that. They are going to be scraping a living because they will lose so much capacity and for musicians who love to play there it looks bleak. I play there two or three times a month. It is my best gig and I would miss it terribly.”
The pub was to be included in the new development - potentially as a below street level music venue and a separate bar - but more than 13,000 people signed a petition to save the Pig.
However, Pace Investments last revealed it had drawn up new plans for 104-112 Hills Road that include saving part of the pub.
According to the developers, plans for the 2.5-acre site will see the creation of a new workplace destination for Cambridge, with cafés, restaurants and other community and amenity spaces.
Managing director of Pace Investments, Jonathan Vincent, said: “Over the past few months we have been speaking to the local community, our neighbours and stakeholders across the city to better understand what people want to see happen at this important site. Through these multiple conversations, we have been pleased by the level of comment and support for our vision to create an outstanding and sustainable Cambridge landmark.
“As a long-term investor in Cambridge and at this site, I understand the importance of the Flying Pig pub to the community. It has always been my intention to retain the pub use and music event space within any new development, to ensure the business survives and has a long term future.
“What became clear at our public consultation in June is that the fabric of the building and the ambiance of the existing public bar is of equal importance to local people, as the music and real ale it serves. The project team has therefore been working hard over recent months to deliver this outstanding scheme with the Flying Pig Pub remaining at its heart.
“We are delighted to have achieved this.”
The consultations will be held at the lobby of Betjeman House, 104 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB21LQ on:
Thursday, December 5 (16:00 – 19:00)
Saturday, December 7 (10:00 – 14:00)
The proposals will go live at 104-112hillsroad.co.uk on the first day of the exhibition.
More by this authorAlex Spencer