Town vs. Gown in Cambridge

Posted by Kristina Murkett in

Another town versus gown debate has flared up in Cambridge, as residents fight against plans for another major student accommodation development.

Plans are currently underway for a site of 321 flats to be built on Newmarket Road and Cheddars Lane, opposite Cambridge retail park. The proposals state the buildings would be four storeys at their highest point, but residents claim this will tower above the other two-storey residential properties nearby.

They have also expressed concerns about the impact on parking; the missed opportunity to provide the city with much-needed affordable housing; and the sheer size and scale of the proposals. Resident Jim Hair said that "we are not against redevelopment of this site, nor students", and that they would "welcome designs that properly take into account the local area both in relation to the built form and the transport impact."

Nonetheless, developers Wrenbridge say the scheme has been significantly scaled down after advice from the city council, and state that the urban design and conservation team now fully support their plans. They also say that the development will provide 48% open space; each student will get a free 'megarider' bus ticket; while a new bus shelter and cycleway improvements will also be funded by developers.

Furthermore, Cambridge has a notorious shortfall of student accommodation, with recent estimates suggesting a shortfall of 8000 beds for the city's full-time students.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons.