Residents’ anger over plans to demolish Lockton House in Cambridge
Residents objecting to plans to demolish Lockton House in Cambridge say it would harm the character and appearance of the Brooklands Avenue conservation area.
Developers argue there is a need for high-quality office space which cannot be achieved by redeveloping the current building.
Planning permission is being sought from Cambridge City Council to demolish Lockton House in Clarendon Road along with 1 and 2 Brooklands Avenue and replace them with two new office buildings, a café and underground parking.
More than 60 residents and businesses have objected to the proposals from Prudential UK and Wrenbridge.
Speaking on behalf of the objectors, Francesca Leadlay, said: “This is obviously over-development. Cambridge needs more housing rather than more offices. The height, scale and massing of these two huge office blocks would harm the character and appearance of the conservation area.
“There is no justifiable reason for demolishing two Victorian houses, which would ruin the rest of the terrace and it would be more sustainable to refurbish Lockton House than demolish it.”
This would mean felling 42 tall leylandii trees with tree preservation orders on the southern boundary.
The campaigners add that block A on the site of 1&2 Brooklands Avenue would have large windows opposite the grade II-listed Royal Albert Homes and an entrance for 500 office workers that is wider than the bay window of 3 Brooklands Avenue next to it.
The gross external area of blocks A and B combined would be 105,325 sq ft compared to the existing gross external area of Lockton House alone at 34,000 sq ft.
Block B would be five storeys tall, which objectors say will overshadow and overlook neighbouring houses.
Cambridge Past Present and Future has also registered its objection to the proposals, saying the justification for demolishing the ‘well-used’ buildings is flawed.
Ben Coles, CEO of Wrenbridge, said: “There is commercial demand for office space. The scheme has been designed during the global pandemic so directly responds to the shift in demand by occupiers for Grade A design but also wellbeing and sustainability and a social square for outside interaction.
“The property industry is seeing a surge in demand for flexible, modern office space, adaptable to the changing habits in people’s working lives. We will build a scheme that secures tenants and creates jobs for many years to come.”
The developers say ahead of the submission they engaged with residents, specifically those on Clarendon Road.