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The Lion Yard shopping centre in Cambridge could be getting a new lease of life

Lion Yard - Impressions by Aberdeen Standard Investments
Lion Yard - Impressions by Aberdeen Standard Investments

There are major new plans for an overhaul of one of Cambridge's biggest shopping centres, with restaurants, a new city centre hotel, and a new location for a favourite city nightclub.

Lion Yard - Impressions by Aberdeen Standard Investments
Lion Yard - Impressions by Aberdeen Standard Investments

Plans for the redevelopment of the Lion Yard shopping centre in Saint Tibb’s Row, Cambridge, show sweeping changes, including the relocation of the Ballare nightclub, a new restaurant quarter and expanded city square, and a new hotel for people coming to Cambridge on city breaks.

Lion Yard is one of the biggest shopping centres in Cambridge, and is hope to a range of popular shops, cafes, and a library.

Henry Webber, associate asset manager at Aberdeen Standard investments, which is proposing the changes, said: “What we are proposing falls into three broad projects.

“The first of which is the piece round St Andrew’s Church. At the moment, there are rather small retail units that have been consistently challenging. They are a bit dated, and there are some structural issues.

“We are looking at taking these down and, in their place, we will be putting in more units which will sit with the architecture of the church. There will be the same stonework and themes. It will give the church more breathing space. We want it to be a space where people can meet and linger.”

Mr Webber said they were hoping to get a larger space with restaurants and cafes, with something on offer at all time of the day.

He said there would be cafes and coffee shops offering breakfast and drinks, as well as places for lunch and more bars and restaurants to provide food and drink in the evenings. He said they were hoping to attract “smaller, independent artisan brands” rather than large chains to the area.

As well as the plans for the extended dining sector, Mr Webber said there were plans to relocate favourite Cambridge nightspot Ballare, a club which is currently located upstairs in old office space in the shopping centre.

Under the new proposals, the club will be relocated to the basement of the shopping centre.

“The basement is a concrete bunker,” said Mr Webber. “It is essentially a sound-proof box. The ceiling is much much higher. It is a much bigger open space.”

In the space vacated by the nightclub, Mr Webber said there were plans to put in a “mid-range hotel” over two floors on the street fronting onto Petty Cury aimed at people visiting Cambridge for a city break.

The hotel would not have a car park, and Mr Webber said cycle options were being looked at to encourage more people to use bikes to get around the city centre.

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