Work to redevelop Park Street car park pushed back a year
The redevelopment of Park Street car park will start a year later than originally planned.
Cambridge City Council and its development partner, Marick Real Estate Ltd, announced yesterday (Tuesday) that work on creating an aparthotel with a smaller car park beneath it is now due to begin in January 2021. The council says it has listened to concerns raised by traders and members of the community.
The change will allow additional time for further technical investigations, surveys and
design work to be undertaken for the complex project, and to improve mitigation plans during the major rebuilding work.
Vanessa Burkitt, managing director of Catherine Jones, the Bridge Street jewellers, told the Cambridge Independent: “It’s only a stay of execution but at least we won’t have to confront the fall-out from Brexit and the closure of the car park all in one go.”
She continued: “There are no mitigation plans for the historic centre of Cambridge and anything that has been mooted has slipped away into oblivion. Can you imagine how many people might park on Castle Hill and walk down the hill to the city?
“There is extremely limited movement from the Grand Arcade to the Bridge Street/St John’s Street area, so sliding down a hill in the winter or clambering back up in the rain is hardly going to be more attractive.
“I hope Cambridge BID, the council and the Federation of Small Businesses will make the most of the next few months to put in a real plan of action for the area together, and that there are some funds behind the plan to demonstrate the stated position of Cllr Lewis Herbert that ‘the Labour council is very supportive of business’ is genuine and not just a phrase.”
Under the change, there will still be a maximum of one Christmas without the car park. It will remain open during this year’s Christmas period and for Christmas 2020.
The proposed redevelopment would see the construction, subject to planning permission being granted, of an aparthotel of more than 200 rooms, above a basement car park with 225 public car parking spaces, including cycle parking, motorcycle parking and facilities for electric vehicle charging.
It was initially hoped that construction work could begin in early 2020.
The council says that the decision to delay the start of construction has been taken following regular meetings of the Park Street Liaison Group, which was established in 2018 to offer a forum for dialogue between the council and developers and the businesses, organisations and residents close to Park Street.
More frequent meetings have been held with immediately adjacent residential and business occupiers, the council says.
Further work on the scheme is continuing, led by the council’s development partnership, the Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP) – which is a partnership between the council and Hill Investment Partnerships – and its selected development partner, Marick Real Estate Ltd.
Cllr Herbert, leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “It is vital that we give the city early notice of the decision to reschedule the start of construction to January 2021, a year later than planned.
“While this has not been an easy decision to make, we know it’s the right call to minimise avoidable disruption to local people and businesses, and get the job right.
“Giving the project’s complexity, the extra year of preparation will allow more time to have everything in place to start construction at the beginning of 2021, and minimise build time and inconvenience to meet our tight deadlines.
“We recognise that there will be unavoidable interim impacts from the redevelopment, but investing in modern car and cycle parking facilities and the new 200-room aparthotel – and extras like extensive electric vehicle charging – will be a real boost to the northern half of our historic city centre.”
Marcus Boret, director of Marick Real Estate, said: “We look forward to working closely with CIP to regenerate this part of Park Street. The revised timescale will mitigate any conflicts in construction logistics with the Cambridge Union building currently under construction.”
A planning application for the redevelopment of Park Street car park was submitted in July.
A decision on the planning application is expected at the council’s planning committee in December.