Update 16th March 2020

Dear All,

Update 16th March, 2020

Coronavirus support initiatives

These are such scary times. Residents Associations with known points of contact: chairs, reps etc were set up for mutual support and to provide a conduit for information and are very well placed to organise local initiatives. Some Residents Associations have already set up coronavirus support initiatives. We know of initiatives from Birdwood Road, Madingley Road, North Newnham, Newnham, the Hills Road Area  and from the Queen Edith’s Forum. Let us know about others. See text for a simple leaflet below. Please forward to anyone who wants to set up a coronavirus support group in their street/road or neighbourhood. We have asked the City Council to keep us updated about Council plans, and the City Council has asked us to tell them about initiatives by our members.


Coronavirus mutual support

Do you or your neighbour need help with shopping, urgent supplies, posting mail, walking the dog, or a friendly telephone call?

Or can you help others (provided you are low risk)?

To ask for help or to volunteer please contact ………. Rep/Chair ……….

preferably by email ………. or text ………., but otherwise by phone to ………. .

As you know, Coronavirus is contagious. Please take every precaution to ensure you are spreading only kindness.

Avoid physical contact (2m distance). Wash your hands regularly. Items should be left on the doorstep.


Observations on Pace Investments draft proposals for re-developing 104-112 Hills Road – Peter Studdert

You may be interested in these observations from a former Director of Cambridge City Council Planning and his view that the draft proposals adversely impact the listed University Botanical Gardens. Attendees were told that Pace Investments are working on the proposals with the University Estates Dept and the Director of the Botanical Gardens.

See link.


Information shared by other attendees:

Attendee 1

They are proposing a total of 320,000 square feet of office space.

Given that CB1 was originally planned at 500,000 square feet, but is now I suspect more, then it is about 50% again around the Station.

Bidwells claim:-

1 There is a severe shortage of office space in Cambridge that they can prove and document. That all the remaining office space in CB1 is pre let already to Apple (both under construction and with permission,which is two remaining blocks)

2 That the local plan allocation for the site housing element is out of date as the 2018 local plan was so delayed that the evidence base was faulty. They can demonstrate that the housing numbers in the current local plan are being met by other sites and that therefore this allocation is not needed to meet the target. They state that the City Council has already conceded this point in other planning appeals but when pressed declined to say where.

Has this argument already been accepted by the planning officers in pre-application discussions? It would seem so said Attendee 1, or they would not have progressed the plan this far.

The site is larger than the original planning permission as they are taking in the office block Francis House on the other side of The Flying Pig.

According to Businessweekly Francis House 30,000 sq feet is also owned by Pace and let to Siemens


Attendee 2  ‘We heard the same story, We were told of strong demand for good quality offices in Cambridge, and that providing it will lead to users moving out of low quality buildings, with accompanying environmental benefits.

In spite of the pretty pictures exhibited, there is no doubt that the proposed building is enormous and will be quite out of proportion with its surroundings, particularly the Botanic Garden. Botanic House (also a Vincent product) is already bad enough, and this is (much) more of the same.

We urged the developer to take the opportunity to be a good neighbour, if planning approval is secured. This could include eg

  • Ensuring that developer contributions are used for local benefit eg  to improve walking/cycling provision rather than being lost in a County Council fund;
  • Engaging from the start with a neighbours’ contact group to minimise the impact of the development, including during the build phase
  • Providing social/recreational facilities for locals – eg play equipment in the open spaces below the blocks
  • Taking a very restrictive approach to car use – particularly by extreme limits on parking.

Best wishes,



Wendy Blythe

Chair, FeCRA




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