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Historic England objects to retirement flats plan for listed 17th-century Anstey Hall in Trumpington





Historic England has opposed plans to build new blocks of retirement flats in the grounds of Anstey Hall in Trumpington, which the applicant describes as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.

Plans have been submitted to Cambridge City Council by Trumpington Investments Ltd for two three-storey buildings containing 87 two-bedroom retirement flats.

How retirement flats would look at Anstey Hall under plans from Trumpington Investments Ltd. Image: Trumpington Investments Ltd
How retirement flats would look at Anstey Hall under plans from Trumpington Investments Ltd. Image: Trumpington Investments Ltd

But Historic England warned the flats would “encroach” on the open space and would cause a “high level of less than substantial harm” to the17th-century listed building.

Anstey Hall would offer community space for the retirement village on the ground floor under the plans, with staff and short-term guest accommodation on the second floor.

Currently the grade II*-listed building is used as a hotel and wedding venue.

In a planning statement, Trumpington Investments Ltd told the council: “This planning application provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to turn a private space into a high quality architecturally led public space, for generations to enjoy.

“Alongside this a further opportunity to provide much needed retirement accommodation right in the heart of Trumpington, with easy access to services and facilities on foot, plus short travel times into Cambridge.

“Grand properties such as Anstey Hall require significant investment and upkeep. Allowing Anstey Hall to service the new retirement community will ensure it has a secure future in a complimentary residential use.”

In the statement it adds there would be “harms” from the development, but said “listed buildings are not frozen in time”, and said there were “tremendous benefits” from the proposals.

However, Historic England said: “New residential blocks would cause a high level of less than substantial harm to the immediate setting of the grade II*-listed building, as the development would encroach into one of the only surviving elements of the historic grounds which continue to contribute to the significance of the Hall.

“The proximity of the proposed large residential blocks and their contextually inappropriate design would compromise the appreciation of the hall in what survives of its open setting.”

In papers for the planning committee meeting, which meets on Wednesday (September 6), council officers recommend that the application is refused.

The report said: “Whilst the proposal would provide retirement accommodation for an ageing population, the proposed retirement blocks would consume a substantial portion of protected open space which would not be satisfactorily replaced in terms of quantity elsewhere.

How retirement flats would look at Anstey Hall under plans from Trumpington Investments Ltd. Image: Trumpington Investments Ltd
How retirement flats would look at Anstey Hall under plans from Trumpington Investments Ltd. Image: Trumpington Investments Ltd

“Moreover, the open character of this park and garden and setting of this listed building – Anstey Hall – would be eroded and the setting of the city would be adversely impacted.”

Councillors are expected to consider the application at the planning committee meeting and decide whether the development can go ahead.



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