Cambridge pub urges customers to fight car park plans for Park Street
A pub owner has urged his customers to object to plans for the Park Street car park in Cambridge, which he warns could take as long as four to five years to complete.
In an open letter to his customers, Vincent Castiglione, who runs the Maypole pub with his family, makes it clear that the redeveloped car park plans include a licence for the sale of alcohol, possibly leading to a large bar within a proposed hotel.
The multi-storey car park, which is owned by Cambridge City Council, is set for demolition and could be replaced with an underground car park with a hotel complex above it. Businesses in the area have already raised concerns about the scheme’s potential impact, including the Maypole, which is on Portugal Place, to the rear of the car park.
Mr Castiglione said: “The Maypole will be showing the plans in the function room upstairs for anyone to have a look at any time.
“We have sent leaflets to all the residents and local businesses stating that the scale is bigger and several other things. People need to be aware of this.
“A lot of the residents around the area are up for a shiny new hotel rather than a grotty car park, but the length of time of the disruption could be five years.
“There is a two-year plan to build a car park and another two-year plan to build the hotel on top, and that is without the developers finding any problems. We have no assurances and don’t know where we are and how it will affect our business.
“There will be a lot of opposition.”
He added: “It makes me very worried. We are not getting a lot of sleep at the moment. It is our livelihood. We have a number of staff who rely on their jobs.
“We have bills to pay and we don’t know where we stand. We have been here 37 years, it would take a lot for me to just walk away.
“We’ve come across obstacles in business before and this is definitely the biggest we have come across. It is like David against Goliath.
“We are trying to get public awareness of this and we do need support. Local businesses are also concerned about the long-term closure of the car park because that will affect footfall.
“Hopefully, Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner will get on board and support us.”
The city council, which plans to retain the freehold of the site, says the current car park is more than 60 years old and is not fit for purpose. Its plans would reduce car parking capacity to 225 car parking spaces, and would include cycle parking and facilities for electric car charging.
Repairing and maintaining the current car park is seen as too costly, while the addition of a hotel, which could have up to 229 rooms, on the site would help generate income for the council.
Work on the site, if granted planning permission, could start early next year.