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Cambridge pub The Flying Pig is saved from demolition

Cambridge music pub, The Flying Pig, looks set to be saved from the bulldozers after the owners of the site revealed it had revised its plans for the area.

Developers Pace Investments had drawn up a scheme that included moving the Hills Road pub to make way for offices and retail space.

The pub was to be included in the new development - potentially as a below street level music venue and a separate bar - but more than 13,000 people signed a petition to save the Pig.

However, Pace Investments today (Wednesday) revealed it had drawn up new plans for 104-112 Hills Road that include the existing Flying Pig pub at its heart.

Pace Investments development of Betjeman House on Hills Road and associated properties, Matt and Justine Hatfield Landlord of the Flying Pig. Picture: Keith Heppell. (22105694)
Pace Investments development of Betjeman House on Hills Road and associated properties, Matt and Justine Hatfield Landlord of the Flying Pig. Picture: Keith Heppell. (22105694)

Managing director of Pace Investments, Jonathan Vincent, said: “Over the past few months we have been speaking to the local community, our neighbours and stakeholders across the city to better understand what people want to see happen at this important site. Through these multiple conversations, we have been pleased by the level of comment and support for our vision to create an outstanding and sustainable Cambridge landmark.

“As a long-term investor in Cambridge and at this site, I understand the importance of the Flying Pig pub to the community. It has always been my intention to retain the pub use and music event space within any new development, to ensure the business survives and has a long term future.

“What became clear at our public consultation in June is that the fabric of the building and the ambiance of the existing public bar is of equal importance to local people, as the music and real ale it serves. The project team has therefore been working hard over recent months to deliver this outstanding scheme with the Flying Pig Pub remaining at its heart.

“We are delighted to have achieved this.”

The plans for the 2.5-acre site will see the creation of new workplace destination for Cambridge, with cafés, restaurants and other community and amenity spaces.

The site is identified for redevelopment in the Local Plan and has an existing planning consent, which would see the demolition of the existing buildings on the site. However, Pace Investments said as the current consent is now more than 10 years-old it was keen to bring the proposals up to date. The only part of the consented scheme delivered so far is the award-winning Botanic House, home to Mills & Reeve, KPMG and Hoare Lea.

Pace Investments added that the new scheme will look to deliver modern, flexible office space for the city with a real focus on wellbeing.

The Flying Pig pub on Hills Road, Cambridge..Pic - Richard Marsham. (22105575)
The Flying Pig pub on Hills Road, Cambridge..Pic - Richard Marsham. (22105575)

Mr Vincent added: “Cambridge is all about innovation. This development will create a new gateway to the city, designed with the future in mind, producing a workplace that provides everyone with a greener, smarter, healthier lifestyle.”

Pace said The Flying Pig pub will undergo some alterations and refurbishment but stressed the bar and the existing interior will remain. Alterations will include new toilets and kitchens.

A project team will be on hand to talk the people through the new proposals at a December exhibition. There will be opportunities to provide feedback ahead of a final exhibition in early 2020, with planning submission expected later next year.

The proposals will go live at 104-112hillsroad.co.uk on the first day of the exhibition.

Cllr Lewis Herbert, leader of Cambridge City Council, welcomed the decision, adding that the authority was opposed to the proposed demolition of the Pig.

“ It is hugely welcome news that the developers, Pace Investments, are now committed to retaining the Flying Pig pub, reversing the demolition they proposed last summer in their extensive plans to replace Betjeman House and adjacent sites," he said.

"We made it quite clear from the start of the city council’s discussions with Pace and its representatives that we would oppose the pub demolition, and the local community and dozens who love the Flying Pig said exactly the same to Pace. So it’s great to hear that they have listened, and it will be also a great relief to over 13,600 people who signed the online petition to save it.”

Cllr Katie Thornburrow, executive councillor for planning at the city council and a Trumpington ward councillor, added: “The Flying Pig is one of the most distinctive pubs in Cambridge, and a vital venue for live music, not just for Cambridge but for the wider region as well.

"The city council has a very clear policy in our Local Plan to protect pubs across Cambridge, particularly as they contribute so much to the community, and we will continue to oppose future proposals to close Cambridge pubs because they are both essential and thriving.

"As there is still detail to be addressed on the future design of the rear of the pub in revised plans, we urge people to go along to the next series of Pace exhibitions in early December and continue to make the community’s views quite clear on the new detail, including in further written responses before any formal planning application is submitted.”

The Flying Pig pub: campaigners urge locals to make their views known at consultation

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