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Cambridge city councillors ‘minded to refuse’ easyHotel plan for Newmarket Road


By Alex Spencer


Campaigners opposing plans for a super budget hotel in Cambridge are hoping it could be rejected after councillors indicated they were ’minded’ to oppose the development.

Residents packed a city council planning committee meeting on Monday to hear whether easyHotel would get the go ahead to build on Newmarket Road.

Residents outside possible easyHotel on Newmarket Road. (12513244)
Residents outside possible easyHotel on Newmarket Road. (12513244)

But after concerns were raised about increased traffic to the area, lack of ‘adequate’ pick-up and drop-off arrangements, noise from guests gathering outside the premises and the impact on the quality of life of nearby residents, councillors have asked developers to provide them with more information.

Al Hanaghan, who lives close to the proposed hotel, told the meeting the development would “amplify the domination of our neighbourhood by budget hotels imposing a development that will contribute nothing but problems for our local community and add further traffic, congestion, road safety risk and air pollution.”

The application is for the Newmarket Road site, which has been the showroom for family furniture firm JH Cooper & Son for the past 110 years, to be demolished and replaced by a 90-room easyHotel.

The elevation drawings for Cambridge's proposed easyHotel. (12513254)
The elevation drawings for Cambridge's proposed easyHotel. (12513254)

It would be across the road from the recently built Premier Inn and Travelodge hotels.

Ward Councillor Richard Taylor said at the meeting that the easyHotel did not represent a new category of ‘super budget’ accommodation but instead “the evidence shows that easyHotel falls squarely within the ‘economy’ segment occupied by competitors such as Travelodge.”

Therefore, he explained, there was plenty of that type of hotel room already available in the area.

easyHotel room. (12513279)
easyHotel room. (12513279)

Riverside resident Mike Evans, who has organised local protest against the development, said afterwards: “Unfortunately the county council didn't see it necessary to send anybody here today to answer any questions about the traffic impact. There are on the (council) website something like 55 pages of evidence from the residents about why this a bad thing from a traffic safety point of view.”

easyHotel protest action group outside Cooper furniture site, August 28th 2018. Corner of Godestone Road and Newmarket Road. Al Hanagan, left and Mike Evans, right are the main organisers. (12513247)
easyHotel protest action group outside Cooper furniture site, August 28th 2018. Corner of Godestone Road and Newmarket Road. Al Hanagan, left and Mike Evans, right are the main organisers. (12513247)

Councillors called for the meeting to be adjourned and said they were ‘minded to refuse the application based on three point of evidence. They said the proposed hotel conflicts with the local plan due to the location of the site being partly on a residential road - Godesdone Road - and that ‘insufficient evidence ‘ had been submitted that there was a need for more of this type of hotel room.

There was also ‘insufficient evidence’ that the development would not cause an ‘unacceptable transport impact’, according to the councillors.

The meeting has been adjourned until developers can answer the points raised by the councillors in their points of opposition.


Read more

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