Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Newnham Croft Primary pupils in Cambridge protest against Queens’ College proposals for Owlstone Croft development





Parents and children at Newnham Croft Primary School took part in an art project to create protest banners raising concerns about a proposed development that borders their site and Paradise Nature Reserve.

They fear that the proposed Owlstone Croft development from Queens’ College, which will create new student accommodation, would mean two years of noise, vibration and dust from building works if it is given the green light.

Newnham Croft Primary School pupils protest on their school playing fields against the proposed development of the adjacent property by Queens’ College. Picture: Keith Heppell
Newnham Croft Primary School pupils protest on their school playing fields against the proposed development of the adjacent property by Queens’ College. Picture: Keith Heppell

Ahead of Cambridge City Council’s committee meeting to discuss the development proposal, the children have been discussing their concerns and learning about the democratic processes through which their councillors represent them.

In an assembly, the children learnt about air pollution and local wildlife and then shared their thoughts and concerns about the proposed development next door to their school using their banners.

Dani Redhead, chair of governors at Newnham Croft Primary School, said: “School governors scrutinised the application from Queens’ College in detail and were unanimous in their objection to the proposed development, which risks impacting on the health and learning of children who have already had a severely disrupted educational experience as a result of Covid, and risks causing longer-term problems to the school in terms of flood risk and safeguarding.”

Queens’ College’s vision for the development at Owlstone Croft
Queens’ College’s vision for the development at Owlstone Croft

Parents and governors at the school have raised concerns about possible exposure to particulate matter arising from the construction works.

Dr Matt Farr, parent at Newnham Croft Primary School, said: “I have serious concerns about the potential effects the proposed building works will have on the health of the children at Newnham Croft Primary School. As a lifelong asthmatic and supporter of Asthma & Lung UK, I’m acutely aware of the increased incidence of lung-related diseases due to long-term exposure to the dust and debris of building works.

“The school is currently surrounded by trees and a nature reserve, giving the children a perfect environment in which to grow, and this development would needlessly expose them to avoidable health risks and disruption to their education.”

Queens’ College’s vision for the development at Owlstone Croft
Queens’ College’s vision for the development at Owlstone Croft

Parent Emma Smith, who has one child at the school pointed out that Reception and Year 1 outdoor learning areas and the children’s favourite play area on the school field are all immediately adjacent to the proposed work site, meaning the youngest children would be within metres of the works.

The rest of the school and its playing field are within 50 metres of the site.

Owlstone Croft plans from Queens' College. Map: Queens' College
Owlstone Croft plans from Queens' College. Map: Queens' College

There have also been objections to the proposals from supporters of Paradise Nature Reserve, which borders the proposed development. More than 2,000 people have signed a petition against the expansion by Queens’ College, citing worries about the effects on wildlife, especially the bats in the reserve.

Newnham Croft community representatives presents the petition at Queens’ Porters’ Lodge. Picture: Keith Heppell
Newnham Croft community representatives presents the petition at Queens’ Porters’ Lodge. Picture: Keith Heppell

A spokesperson for Queens’ College said: “Throughout this planning process, we have reached out to and engaged with various organisations and individuals for feedback on the Owlstone Croft plans. We have researched and addressed these concerns raised by Newnham Croft Primary School via the Greater Cambridge planning service, where our responses are available publicly. We continue to be open to constructive dialogue should the school wish to contact us.”



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More