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Residents alarmed at plan for land by Fenner’s ground

Residents whose homes back onto Fenner’s cricket ground in Cambridge are alarmed after learning part of the land could be built on to provide student accommodation.

Hughes Hall, the University of Cambridge college, intends to buy land along the edge of Fenner’s to build “much-needed student accommodation, teaching and communal spaces”, but it has given assurances that the cricket pitch will be unaffected.

Residents received a letter from the college in November giving advance notice
Residents received a letter from the college in November giving advance notice

However, residents of Glisson Road, who overlook the ground, warn that the university cricket ground has Protected Open Space status and that any building on the land could set a precedent that would allow development on other green spaces in Cambridge.

Residents received a letter from the college in November giving advance notice. A public meeting followed in which they were told there could be accommodation built for up to 100 students. In another letter last month, the college stated that it had no firm plans to share yet but would be back in touch with residents after the summer.

Resident Lucy Walker, who is part of the Protect Fenner’s campaign, said: “It is absolute madness. Fenner’s should be untouchable.

“It’s a wonderful sports ground that has become such a precious green lung in a dense urban area. I think it’s wrong that Hughes Hall, or anyone else can buy the cricket ground up piecemeal in order to build on it.

“If this succeeds it would mean that our planning system is up for grabs, and that we can’t trust what we’ve worked so hard to put in place to protect essential open spaces for the local community and Cambridge.”

A spokesperson for Hughes Hall said: “The college intends to acquire part of the land along the edge of Fenner’s that will enable us to improve our facilities including much needed student accommodation, teaching and communal spaces.

“This land is not part of the cricket field itself and there will be no impact on the playing of sport at Fenner’s, which will remain the home of university cricket and tennis. The proceeds of the land sale will help guarantee that sport is played at Fenner’s for many years to come.

“The college is considering a wide range of options for meeting our needs before deciding how to proceed. Any proposal will need to be compliant with local and national planning policy and no formal planning application has yet been submitted. Before it is, a full consultation process will be carried out which will inform the proposed scheme.”

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