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Orchard Park hotel approved despite concerns over parking

A new six-storey hotel is set to be built on the edge of Cambridge despite concerns that it will make “nuisance” parking in the area worse.

The hotel is due to be built on one of the remaining sections of land in the Orchard Park development on the edge of the city.

llustrative image of the proposed new hotel in Orchard Park, Cambridge Picture: CHMRP Architects/TLC Group
llustrative image of the proposed new hotel in Orchard Park, Cambridge Picture: CHMRP Architects/TLC Group

Concerns had been raised that the hotel would not have enough parking for its visitors, which could make existing parking problems in the area worse.

However, councillors said they believed this issue could be managed, including through the authority’s new civil parking enforcement powers.

The plans were put forward by the developer TLC Group, with the hotel proposed to be a mixture of 137 standard hotel rooms and 80 aparthotel rooms for longer staying guests. A restaurant, bar, and cafe are also planned, as well as a gym and swimming pool.

The proposals also include a co-working office area, alongside two conference rooms and individual meeting rooms that will be available to hire - and a basement car park with 178 spaces, 16 of which would be wheelchair accessible.

The development is also proposed to offer 124 visitor cycle parking spaces, as well as 30 secure parking spaces.

Colin Brown, of Carter Jonas, representing the developer said the proposed gym and pool will be open to the public at a South Cambridgeshire District Council planning committee meeting on Wednesday (14 February).

“This is a high quality scheme that has been arrived at following extensive collaboration with your officers. We are confident it will provide an attractive destination and focal point for Orchard Park,” he said.

Ward member Cllr Sunita Hansraj (Lib Dem, Histon and Impington) said Orchard Park already faced problems with pavement parking, which she said was causing a “nuisance”.

She said the proposed parking was not adequate and would result in vehicles overspilling into surrounding streets.

Cllr Dr Richard Williams (Con, Whittlesford) shared his colleague’s concerns, adding that the report presented to the committee only took into account the parking for the hotel and not for people travelling to the gym or swimming pool.

Cllr Williams argued the amount of car parking proposed was therefore even further below the council’s policy standards.

Tam Parry, speaking on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council’s transport assessment team, said the developer had considered the parking demands created by people travelling to use the leisure facilities.

He said most of the hotel parking was expected to be needed overnight, whereas the parking for people using the gym and swimming pool would be needed during the day.

Mr Parry also said some of the developer’s financial contributions could also be used to pay for more double yellow lines in the area.

Cllr Bill Handley (Lib Dem, Over & Willingham) said it was clear to him that “a great deal of time and effort” had been put into the proposals.

He also highlighted that the authority now had civil parking enforcement powers and suggested if there was found to be a parking problem, it could be tackled through a “targeted enforcement approach”.

Committee vice chair, Cllr Peter Fane (Lib Dem, Shelford) added that he believed this would be a “test” for the authority’s civil parking enforcement.

Opposition leader Cllr Heather Williams (Con, The Mordens) said she understood people’s concerns about the parking, and said it was the only issue holding her back from “full heartedly” supporting the plans.

However, she said she was not sure the parking issue would be enough to warrant refusing the application.

When a decision on the proposals was put to a vote, 10 councillors voted to approve the plans and one councillor voted against.

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