Update 18th April 2023

Dear All,

Update 17th April 2023 

 I hope that you have all had a happy Easter.

Development plans for central Cambridge conservation areas

 Pembroke College plans for Panton Street gardens and trees 



 North Newtown residents have launched a petition objecting to plans by Pembroke College to build student accommodation across five neighbouring back gardens. This will see three new homes built around houses at 32 to 40 Panton Street. The college initially submitted the proposals in 2006-07, but the plan was rejected, with an appeal dismissed shortly after. They are now trying again, with another application.

North Newtown residents say please share their petition with your friends and networks and via social media – Facebook, twitter, Nexdoor. The RA is on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NorthNewtownRA/ and on twitter @NorthNewtownRA

It seems that Pembroke’s application will go to the Planning Committee on 26th April. It is likely that Pembroke College have paid for pre-application meetings and advice from the planners, as Queens’ College have done. Officers recommended approval of Queens’ application.

Newtown residents have highlighted the contrast between the environmental concerns in the blogs of senior Pembroke academics including the Master, the former Senior Tutor and the Director of the Cambridge Centre for Carbon Credits who founded the Centre with lead members from the Cambridge Conservation Initiative and Centre for Landscape Regeneration, and Pembroke’s development plans for Panton Street’s gardens and trees.




Senior Pembroke academics organised a chalk stream conference as part of the Cambridge Festival. This included a discussion on nature rights chaired by Dame Fiona Reynolds. Dame Fiona is Cambridge University outside expert on land strategy along with Alex Plant of Anglian Water and Stephen Kelly, Gter Cambs Shared Planning Service Director of Economic Growth and Planning. Link here:  Cambridge Zero Policy Forum PDF


Update on Queens College plans for Owlstone Croft and Cam corridor Nature Reserve – Paradise

Queens College have purchased Lady Margaret House on Grange Road from the Beaufort Institute.  Residents are wondering if the college plan to go ahead with an appeal. Queens had said they needed to develop Owslstone Croft for postgraduate accommodation because there was no other alternative . Residents have reported to FeCRA that the College is also buying up family homes in Newnham.



The lost world of a Cambridgeshire sparrow colony

The Times reported ‘house sparrows hit by startling 57% decline since 1979’. Residents are saying no wonder when so many trees and hedges are being cut down and gardens lost in city areas with very little green space.



Sawston residents have reported to FeCRA that a long hedge in Sawston has been razed almost to its stumps just as the nesting season gets under way. They have asked us to share the videos below as they say answers are needed from the developer and the Councils as to how this happened. Click on the links in the tweets.


The video of the lost world of the Sawston sparrow colony shared by Jo Sinclair is heartbreaking.


Many of you are asking why are so many Cambridge residents having to raise funds to pay ecologists and environmental experts and organise petitions to save local nature when Cambridge University hosts the Attenborough conservation centre. The CEO of the Wildlife Trusts and Tony Juniper Chair of Natural England both live in Cambridge.The RSPB and WWF UK, (who co-produced David Attenborough’s Wild Isles) are partners of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative and Landscape Regeneration Centre. The RSPB are also a board member of Water Resources East (WRE), set up by Anglian Water. WWF UK are funding WRE’s plans for Natural Capital with Coca Cola and working closely with WRE. Link below.



Plans to demolish Hobson St Art Deco Cinema for offices and a fifth floor in the central Cambridge conservation area 

16-17 Sidney Street, 18-19 Sidney Street, and 21 Hobson Street

 Public exhibition, 2pm to 7pm, Wed 19th April, the Guildhall, Cambridge (on the St Edward’s Church side of the Guildhall, not the Petty Cury side).

The details are at https://www.camcitycentreopportunity.com/events

Recent Guardian article on Britain’s addiction to demolition https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/feb/10/britain-

Community historian Antony Carpen says ‘remind the developers that one of one of their own options was to restore the façade and have a large community space’.


The developer’s engagement event was facilitated by the economic growth and engagement consultancy Community Regen.


Attendees were told that the developers who are ‘two family businesses’ own ‘three adjacent Cambridge city centre sites (16-17 Sidney Street18-19 Sidney Street, and 21 Hobson Street’ are GDS Estates – Griffin Davies Saffron. GDS planning adviser is Popham Planning (Carter Jonas).  A spokesperson for GDS, Peter Richer attended the Community Regen event.



Community Regen also work for Brookgate’s CB1 Management Company, a partner of Cambridge Bid and Cambridge City Council. David Stoughton, the Chair of Cambridge Living Streets, is CB1 Engagement Officer.

You can email your views to consult@popham.co and copy councillors and your MP. You can ask questions of the candidates where you live – just type in your postcode to https://whocanivotefor.co.uk/

Alternatively, you can do the same with your existing councillors and MPs at https://www.writetothem.com/


City Centre Vision – who decides – Offices, science labs, tourism?

Market Ward Councillors Prof Nick Gay (Lab) and Tim Bick (Lib Dem) attended the engagement event for the Art Deco Cinema, as did Councillor Alex Collis (Lab) Deputy Leader of the City Council and Executive Councillor for Open Spaces, Food Justice and Community Development, Cllr Collis is also on Cambridge City Council Planning committee below. https://democracy.cambridge.gov.uk/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=181

Cllrs Alice Gilderdale Executive Councillor for Recovery, Employment and Gerri Bird (Lab) are members of the Cambridge Bid Board.


Cambridge Bid, the City Council, Cambridge University (Cambridge University Enterprises) and King’s College are members of the destination management organisation, Visit Cambridge


Cambridge Bid Board and Minutes


Best wishes,


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