Brookgate are preparing to submit a new planning application in early 2018 for an ‘Aparthotel’ above a multi-storey car park plus a hostel-style hotel plus offices for accommodation for rail staff.
Block B2: multi-storey car park (210 spaces over three split-level floors) plus four floors of apartment hotel suites, alongside the Ibis hotel and cycle park (B1).
Block F2: budget hotel/hostel rooms with 400 beds, plus railway staff offices and accommodation, between 4½ and 5½ six storeys high, backing onto Ravensworth Gardens.
We are deeply concerned that Brookgate has already pushed the envelope on what they have built to date, adding floors and mass to create what most people are describing as ugly, characterless blocks.
We will need to call a Development Control Forum to gain an opportunity to present our case to the planning committee before they decide on the application, which is likely to be submitted in early January 2018. Please get in touch if you can help organise this (collecting a petition and making a presentation).
If you have questions about the plans, please contact Laura Fisher at Bidwells (01223 559546). If you have any questions about the comments on the plans please contact Sarah Dyer (01223 457153), the lead planning officer for this development. There is a website with contact details for all the buildings on the CB1 site: CB1 Community.
Our feedback to Brookgate
References in brackets are to paragraphs of the officer’s report on the original outline planning application.
Please use the comment box at the bottom of the page to submit additional concerns.
Height and mass of buildings
B2 and F2 are too tall and massive, far beyond what was proposed at outline planning.
The original multi-storey car park building (B1) was meant to have a maximum height of 18m (8.277), but what is proposed is significantly higher (notice of exact heights still awaited).
The outline planning consent refers to F2 being up to three storeys high, 15m at the southern end and 9m adjacent to Ravensworth Gardens (8.271 & 8.277). The officer was hesitant to support an application for a building even as tall as three storeys (8.466), yet what is proposed is effectively 4½ to 5½ storeys (notice of exact heights still awaited).
B2 extends far closer to Carter Bridge and Devonshire Mews than was agreed in the outline consent for block B1.
F2 will overshadow Ravensworth Gardens to an unacceptable extent.
The west-facing windows will overlook at least one of the gardens and rear rooms of the facing terrace on Ravensworth Gardens.
F2 and B2 will loom large over the modestly-sized houses on the corner of Devonshire Road.
The buildings’ design lacks the character and craft appropriate to this gateway to the station from a Conservation Area.
The junction on the car park road at the Devonshire Rd cycle/footway and car park entrance is highly conflicted. Priority is implied for motor vehicles accessing the multi-storey and surface car parks. That means cyclists approaching from Devonshire Rd must wait for a gap in the vehicle traffic or hope someone lets them through. Consideration should be given to giving the cycleway priority.
Greater segregation between motor vehicles and people cycling is desirable for the safety of the many people who currently travel to and from the station, and between Station Rd/Place and Devonshire Rd via the station car park. The opening of the Chisholm Trail will accelerate growth in cycle traffic along this route.
Since the main pedestrian desire line will now be the western side of the car park access road, there need to be greatly improved crossings at the mini roundabout at the bottom of Great Northern Rd, both to the south side of Great Northern Rd and to the east side of the car park access road. These should be zebra crossings, giving pedestrians legal priority.
Where will over-ranked taxis queue? (Up to 39 taxis have been counted in the rank and queuing through the car park)?
Where will rail-replacement buses queue?
Accessing the car park from Devonshire Road during construction is completely unacceptable. The corner of Devonshire Road is already an unsafe crossing point, with poor sight lines. Having vehicles entering and leaving the car park will create additional conflicts. Devonshire Road is not wide enough for two cars to pass, and therefore will not be able to take the extra traffic flow, leading to gridlock.
Greater Anglia has a franchise commitment to provide an additional 1,000 cycle parking spaces at the station by the end of 2020. Where will these go?
If the intention is to convert some of the multi-storey car parking spaces to cycle parking, this will need to happen very shortly after the car park opens (unlikely to be before 2020). Where will the cycle entrance be located?
The new cycle parking spaces should be contained in an extension of the existing cycle parking building (which the open-sided design allows), using the same entrance (but with a cleared walkway between the top of the first ramp and the second). If there are two separate buildings with separate entrances, how long will it take someone to find a space if the first building they try is full?
Even 3,850 cycle parking spaces (existing 2,850 plus 1,000 extra) will not suffice for very many years. Utrecht (population approximately double Cambridge’s) now has 12,500 cycle parking spaces at its railway station. It is imperative that the station area is future-proofed with space allocated in anticipation of need, especially for ‘off gauge’ cycles (trikes, cargo bikes, hand cycles, trailers, etc, which are all becoming more commonplace) and bikes requiring greater security (e.g. e-bikes).
Not planning for additional cycle parking at this stage will not only waste money, but will lead to severely compromised provision for cyclists in future.
Why preserve 450 car parking spaces at enormous cost when the strategies of the City Council, County Council, Greater Cambridge Partnership and Combined Authority all include enabling and encouraging modal shift away from driving and parking within the city? With Cambridge North now open, Cambridge South being planned, and Trumpington P&R being just 9 minutes away by bus, what need is there to keep anywhere near as many as 450 car parking spaces? If point 16 above is correct and parking spaces may be converted to cycle parking in 2020, why not now?
Alongside the access path from Devonshire Road there used to be a row of mature hornbeams. These were all removed to widen the path. The plans show just two trees and low-level planting here. Reinstatement of a screen of trees and other plants is needed to reduce the visual impact of the car park, bridge and buildings beyond.
Public green space
No new public green space is being provided, even though Petersfield ward is severely deficient in this.
Alternative building uses
Once it is accepted that a multi-storey car park is not required, B2 could have an attractive active frontage along the whole of two sides. Retail and other businesses, including for instance Regus-type meeting rooms, would be far more welcome to local residents and most station users than a car park.
Although Greater Anglia based their franchise bid on parking revenues from 450 spaces, that revenue could be replaced by office or retail rental income.
Previous proposals now superseded
Dimensions of previous plan
We are awaiting dimensions of the revised plans.
The outline planning consent for what was originally planned for B1 & B2 was to be four storeys high. What has been built is, in effect, seven storeys high. B2 will be taller still.
Proposed in previous plans
19.3m + 1.6m plant area
Block F2 (station end)
(inc 2.8m top floor set back)
Block F2 (middle section)
(inc 2.8m top floor set back)
(Ravensworth Gardens end)
10.5m + 1.7m plant area
The distance between B2 and the Carter Bridge in the outline consent was considerably greater than now proposed.
The distance between the middle section of F2 and main building line of Ravensworth Gardens is 16m on upper floors and 12.3m at ground floor. The gable end of Ravensworth Gardens is 4.6m away from the northern section of F2.
The distance between B2 and F2 is 15.1m, which comprises 6m for the road, 4.8m pavement in front of F2, and 4.3m in front of B2.
By comparison the distance between the buildings on Great Northern Way at ground level is 16m and 13.3m on upper floors. The road width is 5.5m.
The Chisholm Trail cycle/walking route will pass between blocks B2 and F2, and across the station square (which is a ‘shared surface’).
Discussions are still ongoing about where over-ranked taxis and rail-replacement buses will queue. Currently they use the car park, but this will not be possible once Blocks B2 and F2 are built.
Brookgate proposed that, during construction of blocks B2 and F2, access to the car park (the 200 spaces north of Carter Bridge) will be from Devonshire Road.
Brookgate have indicated that the two buildings originally planned for the north side of the cycle/footbridge (G1 and G2) will not be built if B2 and F2 go ahead.
The Planning Committee gave consent on 3 June 2015 for a new cycle link path to be built through the ‘green’ space alongside the Carter Bridge ramp. This entailed the loss of all but two of the pine trees, which have been replaced by semi-mature trees (about which we were not consulted). Thanks to Cllr Richard Robertson for pursuing this and speaking on our behalf at the planning meeting, though ultimately it was to no avail: council officers believed this was the only viable option, despite obvious flaws and local opposition. Planning application: 13/1041/S73.
Update February 2018: The planning application (ref 17/2245/FUL) is in. The deadline for public comments is 14 February.
The council depot on the north side of Mill Road, west of the railway line is due to be redeveloped for housing. The developer will be Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP), a joint venture between Cambridge City Council and Hill, a commercial housebuilder.
There is great need for more open green space in Petersfield, but this development will deliver less than the draft Local Plan requirement. The application site area is given as 2.14ha and the required open space as 0.77ha (LP Policy 68), yet only 0.6ha is being provided. Much of that is the Chisholm Trail, which is in fact a tarmacked cycle/footway with just a 1m deep grass verge. This does not fit the description of ‘informal open space’, defined in the Local Plan as “recreation grounds, parks and natural greenspaces.”
The proposed provision of open green space is too fragmented for recreational use. With the exception of the playground for young children, the green space provides breathing space for residents, but nothing that could be used by older children (‘youth space’), to play informal sport or games; nor is it large enough for community events.
We also have a serious concern about the indicative footprint and orientation of the future building by Mill Rd. It leaves ‘dead space’ next to the Mill Rd bridge and railway line, which has been assessed as dark, noisy and polluted. There is a real concern that this area and the railway arch could be attractive for those who live on the street, many of whom have drug and alcohol dependencies and mental health problems. This would be intimidating to those using the Chisholm Trail, especially after dusk.
Applicable Local Plan policies
68 (7.49) New major developments will need to meet their obligations on open space on-site, as opposed to relying on spare capacity within existing facilities.
We would like to see a revised plan in which:
1) There is at least the minimum of ‘informal open space’ as defined in the Local Plan.
2) There is a larger, contiguous open space at the northern end, opening onto Hooper St, opposite the junction with Ainsworth St (see Figure 1 below). This could be achieved by removing the five terraced houses that front onto Hooper St, and instead building residences on part of Eagle Park. This would realise two key benefits:
It would open up a vista from Hooper St onto the public open space, making it more accessible and inviting to residents of neighbouring streets, and more suitable for community events.
It would make it possible to align the main cycle/foot access to the site with Ainsworth St, improving safety at this awkward junction, and improving legibility of the route through the site.
3) The Chisholm Trail is re-routed (see below), allowing the apartment buildings to be set slightly closer to the railway line, increasing green space in the main body of the site.
4) Space behind the apartments is used for secure cycle parking. (There would be no through route behind the apartments.)
5) The ‘future building’ is oriented parallel to the railway line, substantially increasing the area of the courtyard. This may require the removal of two or three trees that currently stand between the car park and the railway line, but this shouldn’t rule this out as an option. (Of course replacement trees should be planted elsewhere on the site.)
Overprovision for residents
We believe that 151 spaces for 184 dwellings (a ratio of 0.82) is far too high when the SPD states that “the aspiration is to provide low car parking provision.” We interpret that to mean, lower than is typically found in this part of Cambridge. Camcycle did an informal audit of local streets on 13 November, and concluded that the ratio of parking spaces to houses is close to 0.5. We have suggested to CIP that they obtain figures from the County Council for the ratio of vehicle permits to households in the Petersfield parking zone to confirm this.
The published ratio of 0.65 omits visitor spaces, but we see no reason to make this distinction, as it’s not made for on-street parking elsewhere in the ward.
There is little justification for providing a higher ratio of parking spaces for an inner city development, within easy walking and cycling distance of all amenities, from supermarkets to the railway station. It’s a waste of valuable space.
In order to make car sharing more attractive and convenient, there should be more than one parking space assigned for shared cars.
Car storage for the wider community
There is however an opportunity to remove a significant number of vehicles from surrounding streets by offering underground spaces in this development for rent to non-residents. This may argue for creating the largest basement car park that it’s cost-efficient to build, budgeting a long-term future income to the freehold management company.
Reducing car parking pressure on surrounding streets would enable space to be reallocated, for instance to provide:
More on-street cycle parking
Longer double yellow lines around junctions to improve safety
Elimination of pavement parking (e.g. on the east side of Kingston St)
Communal bin storage areas (perhaps underground as in Eddington)
Trees and plant beds
In order to drive this change, the City and County Councils should agree a phased reduction in on-street parking provision. One way could be to set a target percentage reduction in parking provision in an electoral division (perhaps starting at 1% and increasing annually). The County Councillor would be responsible for agreeing with residents which bays are to be removed and what they are to be replaced with. Implementing a residents parking zone might exempt an area from reducing provision for a few as an added incentive.
It is unclear what the status is of the four parking bays marked on Eagle Foundry Street. These obstruct a route that will be well used by cyclists (whether or not the Chisholm Trail is rerouted as proposed below).
There is a need for loading (short-stay) bays throughout the site for delivery vehicles, and residents without on-plot parking.
Applicable Local Plan policies
81 (9.22) In areas of the city where traffic congestion and/or pollution from traffic are particularly high, a zero increase or reduction in car traffic through any proposed redevelopment will be sought. This includes the City Centre and Newmarket Road.
82 Car-free and car-capped development is acceptable in the following circumstances:
where there is good, easily walkable and cyclable access to a district centre or the City
where there is high public transport accessibility; and
where the car-free status of the development can realistically be enforced by planning obligations and/or on-street parking controls.
6) Replace on-carriageway parking bays with offset loading bays space evenly throughout the site.
7) Rather than impose a garage on prospective owners of the detached houses, provide more living space on the plot and offer the option to lease a parking space in the basement under the apartments.
8) Provide surface parking spaces off the carriageway for two, not one, rental cars (both with charging points).
9) Ensure that there are short-stay parking bays throughout the development to facilitate loading/unloading and deliveries.
10) If it is cost-effective to build a large basement car park, then make excess spaces (above a minimum allocation required for residents of this development) available to rent as car storage for residents outside the development.
The junction of Ainsworth St and Hooper St has poor visibility, as the building edges are close to the road and the pavements are narrow. For safety and legibility of the route for people walking and cycling, we would rather the route aligned with Ainsworth St (see ‘Open space’ above).
We have grave concerns about how safe the Chisholm Trail will feel. Part of feeling safe is knowing that there are escape routes and help close at hand (such as a door to knock on) if needed. The proposed design has the Chisholm Trail hemmed in for over 150m between a wall with locked gates and a fence. The route will not be well surveilled, as there are no ground floor windows overlooking.
If someone were to be mugged on this section of the Chisholm Trail, it would become a virtual no-go area.
Applicable LP Policies
56 (d): Proposals should ensure that buildings are orientated to provide natural surveillance.
56 (g): Proposals should be designed to remove the threat or perceived threat of crime and improve community safety.
11) Re-route the Chisholm Trail via Eagle Foundry Street.
12) Re-align Eagle Foundry Street to connect with Hooper St opposite Ainsworth St.
13) Create a wide segregated cycle/footway link from the path south to Mill Rd bridge to Headly St, joining opposite Eagle Foundry St.
Junction with Mill Rd
The Depot junction and Devonshire Rd-Kingston St junctions have a poor safety record (see Figure 2). This development is expected to generate 1,246 trips per day. Most of these will be on foot and by cycle via Mill Rd, adding considerably to the volume of people using the narrow pavements and trying to cross the road.
The Chisholm Trail will provide an alternative to crossing Mill Rd to reach the station and beyond. Direct access to it from Mill Rd would benefit in particular residents of Kingston St and Great Eastern St, who do not have access to a pedestrian crossing on the most direct route to the station.
This would be achieved by opening a connection to the Chisholm Trail via the access road alongside Mill Rd bridge (in front of Regent Cambridge language school). This would also increase the permeability and safety of the Chisholm Trail at a point where there is a risk of antisocial behaviour or worse (see Chisholm Trail above).
It is our understanding that County Council Highways officers have objected to opening up this access on the grounds that people cycling would meet Mill Rd at a dangerous angle. If this is true, it can surely be addressed by careful junction design.
Additionally, there needs to be either a zebra crossing of Mill Rd between Kingston St and Bharat Way, or traffic lights at the Devonshire Rd-Kingston St junction. Consideration needs to be given to the fact that HGVs have to cross the centre line in order to turn left into Devonshire Rd.
Applicable LP Policies
81 (9.24): Financial contributions will be sought towards schemes approved by the City and County Councils for any necessary improvements required as a result of development. The existing conditions on the wider transport network and any increase in demand over and above the existing use’s levels will need to be taken into account.
Require, as part of the S106 agreement, that funds are provided to:
14) Connect the Chisholm Trail to the access road alongside the north side of Mill Rd bridge, and redesign the junction at Mill Rd to increase safety.
15) Improve the safety of this section of Mill Rd with traffic lights and/or a new pedestrian crossing.
Future building next to Mill Rd
The S106 commitment on community space for this development is to be delivered as part of a future planning application. This is not acceptable as the community has a right to know what that provision will be.
16) Refuse or defer this application until it can be considered alongside the application for the ‘future building’ containing the S106 community space.
We are pleased to see a strong commitment to providing cycle parking, including for off-gauge (cargo/trailer) bikes. However the provision of surface cycle parking in between the apartments has severely reduced the permeability of the Chisholm Trail. The recommendations here will make cycle parking more accessible and release basement space.
17) Reroute the Chisholm Trail through the development (see above).
18) Relocate all secure cycle parking to behind the apartments rather than in the basement and in between apartment blocks.
19) Retain visitor cycle parking racks between the apartment blocks.
The proposal is to have 50% of the underground parking spaces with active or passive (unconnected) charging points. It is generally accepted that almost all new cars will be electric within a decade.
20) Provide at least passive provision for a charging point for all parking bays.
Response to second consultation by CIP (for reference)
We recognise that there has been significant movement on provision of parking to align more closely with car ownership in the surrounding area. However we still believe that a ratio of 0.65 is too high, potentially wasting valuable space that could instead be allocated to people or cycles rather than cars. The SPD aspires to this being a “low car” development, which we interpret to mean, lower than is typically found in this part of Cambridge.
We would suggest that CIP obtain figures from the County Council for the ratio of vehicle permits to households in the Petersfield parking zone. This will indicate what the true level of car ownership is in this area.
We are aware that a member of Camcycle did an informal audit of local streets on 13 November, and concluded that the ratio of parking spaces to houses is close to 0.5.
We would further suggest that, rather than impose a garage on prospective owners of the detached houses, provide more living space on the plot and offer the option to lease a parking space in the basement under the apartments. The street in front of the houses will need short-stay waiting bays in any case (for deliveries and tradespeople), so owners will still have the convenience of being able to load/unload their car in front of their house.
We are pleased to see a strong commitment to providing cycle parking, including for off-gauge (cargo/trailer) bikes. However, provision is still too low to meet the aspiration for a low-car development. A significant proportion of 1-bed apartments will have too occupants plus occasional visitors, so 1 cycle parking space per apartment will not be sufficient. A case can be made for having closer to 400 spaces (not including the YMCA). We would like to see more detail on the provision for the apartments, especially for off-gauge bikes (cargo/trailer), which are becoming increasingly popular, and make car-free living possible for many more people.
Providing too little cycle parking will lead to bikes being scattered around the site, as has happened on so many other developments (e.g. around CB1).
The proposal is to have 25% of the underground parking spaces with active or passive (unconnected) charging points. It is generally accepted that all new cars will be electric within a decade. Therefore we would argue that all parking spaces, underground and overground (for disabled and car-share vehicles), should have at least passive provision for a charging point.
We accept the findings that the corner nearest Mill Rd bridge will not provide a high quality recreational space. However, the proposed provision of open green space is too fragmented for recreational use. With the exception of the playground for young children, the green space provides breathing space for residents, but nothing that could be used by older children, to play any kind of informal sport or games; nor it is large enough for community events.
The Limes green space is especially pointless, having been assessed as dark, noisy and polluted. There is a real concern that this area could be attractive for those who live on the street, many of whom have drug and alcohol dependencies and mental health problems. This would be intimidating to those using the Chisholm Trail, especially after dusk.
Given the loss of a community centre at the Howard Mallett building, and past failures to deliver other community buildings in the area, there is a strong desire for something owned and run by the community.
The YMCA’s proposal looks positive and clearly has potential to provide much-needed community amenities in the Petersfield/Romsey area, especially for children and young families. We would like to see more detail and meaningful assurances (i.e. some form of binding agreement) about the facilities that the YMCA or any future owner of the buildings will provide to the local community, and on what terms. This should set out what role local community groups will have in the running of the building and facilities, and how this relationship will be sustained for the long term. This should all be published and evaluated before any decision is made about the rest of the depot site.
We would encourage the YMCA to research local community needs (for instance, nursery care has been identified as a local need), and make a detailed commitment as to what services it will provide.
We have a major concern about the arrangement and orientation of the YMCA buildings, which creates ‘dead space’ next to the Mill Rd bridge and railway line (see ‘Open space’ above). We would suggest that more valuable open space might be created by orienting the YMCA residential block parallel to the railway line (in line with the apartment blocks), and substantially increasing the area of the courtyard.
Those accessing the Chisholm Trail from Mill Rd will be directed past Eagle Foundry St. This won’t work: human nature being what it is, people will cycle the shorter route up Eagle Foundry St and enter Hooper St at what is intended as a pedestrian access. People cycling from Ainsworth St may also choose to use the closer access point and use Eagle Foundry St.
The tight turns where the Chisholm Trail meets Hooper St may need to be re-thought out to provide a clearer link to Ainsworth St.
We are also concerned about how safe the Chisholm Trail will feel. It is not clear how well surveilled the route will be, running past the backs of buildings, with no doorways. Part of feeling safe is knowing that there is help close at hand if needed, such as doors to knock on.
In general, more thought needs to be go into modelling (perhaps with a focus group) likely real-world behaviours and perceptions of safety, and adapting the cycle route accordingly.
We are disappointed that no progress seems to have been made with incorporating the leased garages into the development from the outset. They are an ugly waste of space and impede good integration of the site with rest of north Petersfield. Leaseholders should be given options, for instance to swap their lease for a parking space under the apartments, or to be bought out. The cost of terminating the leases should be set against the opportunity cost of developing the site for more housing and improved permeability of the development, with more direct access from Sturton St.
Cambridge Womens Resources Centre
There has been no mention of the fate of the Cambridge Womens Resources Centre, which provides an essential service, in particular as a refuge for vulnerable and abused women. Where will it relocate to, and how will the City Council assist to guarantee its continuity and sustainability?
Response to initial consultation by CIP
Inadequate ambition on car usage
Average car ownership in Petersfield and Romsey is much lower than is being proposed in the depot site plans. The apartments recently built around Great Northern Rd in CB1 have 48 parking spaces for 137 units, a ratio of 35%. CIP are proposing about 210 spaces for about 230 units, a ratio of 91%.
We would like to see a large reduction in allocation for surface parking in order to create more public space, a more attractive environment, and more affordable houses. The only surface provision should be for loading, tradespeople, shared cars (e.g. Zipcar) and disabled parking.
Parking (or, more accurately for most people, car storage) provision for the entire site could be contained in the basement of the apartment block. Houses could be provided with more living space and a covered, secure storage space for bikes, gardening equipment, workshop, or whatever – considerably smaller than the proposed garages.
Need for affordability
We want to see a clear commitment to substantially more than 40% affordable housing, and for ‘affordable’ to mean genuinely affordable to ordinary people, with a mix of rented and different ownership structures.
We are concerned that the partnership with Hill means that there will be too much emphasis on generating profit, rather than satisfying the social need for affordable housing. We understand that Hill brings valuable expertise, but it is not clear who is driving this project and for whose benefit. This needs to be articulated clearly with no moving of goalposts later on. This is a unique opportunity to provide for many current and future generations of Cambridge residents. It must not be squandered or compromised.
Petersfield is short of attractive, usable public space. The most recent additions, Ravensworth Gardens and St Matthew’s Gardens are both disconnected from the wider communities, and therefore underused. For public spaces to be well-used and loved, they must be visible, adjacent to and readily accessible from a major public thoroughfare.
The local community would like to see more than the minimum amount of open space required on this site. A number of recent developments in the area have avoided their Section 106 obligation to provide public space by making a payment to the council instead. As there is no other land available to develop for open space, it has been spent instead on “improvements”. We need more green space!
The best locations for open space on the site are on the south-east corner, which is visible, adjacent to and accessible from Mill Rd; and the north side adjacent to Hooper St.
The initial plan differs greatly from the SPD in having large houses built in the south-east corner. This is not the most desirable location to have a house, being overlooked from the bridge, shaded by trees, and exposed to the greatest road noise. Better to have an open space large enough for people to kick a ball around without causing a nuisance to neighbours. The space would also be ideal for community events, e.g. as part of Mill Rd fairs.
The northern space, incorporating a children’s play area, would be well used by residents of St Matthew’s, being far from traffic noise and pollution.
Some open space should of course be included within the site too, but larger spaces will see more use than many disconnected small pieces.
This site must aspire to be award-winning, and a reference for future developments. We want to to see high quality architecture that is crafted, sympathetic to the local area, and interestingly innovative. The urban design, architecture and landscaping should promote a happy and engaged community. The development should demonstrate best practices in sustainable design, for energy and water consumption, drainage, waste disposal, etc.
Car parks off Hooper St
The cost of waiting for Hooper St garage leases to expire, then redeveloping the site at a later date must be considerably greater than doing it when access and machinery is available from the main site. There is also a large opportunity cost in not providing the ten or so new houses that could be built on the site.
The garages are an ugly waste of valuable space. They no longer serve the purpose for which they were originally intended (to remove cars from Ainsworth and other local streets) as they are let to people well outside the immediate locality and most likely used for general storage.
We understand that at least some current leaseholders have already been approached and rejected whatever offer was made to them. This is too important an issue to leave there. A full cost-benefit analysis must be carried out (with an upper cost limit based on valuations for compulsory purchase – which would not of course be made public). More creative thought should be put into developing options to offer current leaseholders like-for-like or better alternatives.
Hooper St access road
The blocked-off access from Hooper St appears to take up valuable space for little purpose. There is no obvious benefit for refuse trucks, which will need to make a circuit of the site, not go through it.
It would be a more efficient use of space to provide a single pedestrian/cycle access point to the site (which could be wide enough for an emergency vehicle) opposite Ainsworth St. The cycle lane would split off towards the railway line and the footway would continue straight on through the development (and be landscaped so as to be less attractive as a cycling route).
The workshops organised to develop the SPD were well-attended and positive. Much was lost in translation in the SPD, and there is a growing feeling that the SPD, and now the initial concepts, are departing significantly from the vision that the community was developing. I would urge CIP to run another workshop or two before committing to detailed designs. Exhibitions have their place, but they are not the most effective way to gather ideas. Well-run workshops promote dialogue, understanding and trust. That’s what we all need!
There is much to be commended about the SPD, but it seems that few of the issues raised in earlier consultations have been taken aboard (e.g. with regards to joining up the green spaces, being zero car, removing or relocating the garages (e.g. underground), sustainability (e.g. energy production and water conservation), and integrating the Chisholm Trail cycle route).
There is a desperate need in Petersfield for accessible, usable green space. The SPD reserves quite a lot of land for green space, but it’s not as accessible to the wider community as it needs to be (think of the underused Ravensworth Gardens pocket park). If more of the open space at the depot were joined up, visible and easily accessed from Mill Road, it would see more use – day-to-day and for community events.
Update July 2017: The Greater Cambridge Partnership (aka City Deal) dropped proposals for peak-time congestion control points (virtual bollards), but is progressing plans for a tax on workplace parking spaces, and extension of residents parking zones. New proposals and further consultation is expected to be announced in advance of the Board meeting on 26 July.
Peak-time congestion control points
New virtual bollards or bus gates (similar to the ones on Regent St, Bridge St, Silver St and Emmanuel Rd) are proposed for various locations in the city, including on Hills Road and Mill Road. These would permit only buses, cycles and hackney carriage taxis to pass during the morning and evening peaks. The exact locations and hours of operation are not yet determined.
The deadline for submitting a response to the consultation was 10 October 2016, though you can still write to the City Deal with questions or comments: email@example.com
There is general agreement amongst residents with the broad objectives of the plan to reduce congestion in order to allow buses to run more reliably. However many residents feel strongly that the proposed Peak-Time Control Points will have an unacceptably detrimental impact on their quality of life and the viability of local businesses. It is most probable that an overwhelming majority would vote against their introduction. But, given that a decision has already been made to introduce them, we would like to influence where and how the control points are introduced and operated. That is what this response is focused on.
We would like to thank officers and councillors for taking the time at exhibitions to patiently answer residents’ questions about the 8 Point Plan.
Some people who attended those exhibitions, in particular the one at St Paul’s, found it difficult to work out who was there in an official capacity because they were not all wearing clearly identifiable name badges. Some of the ‘officials’, including from Mott MacDonald, showed little knowledge or understanding of the local impacts of the PCCPs, and were unable to answer people’s questions.
Our residents’ association committee were happy to distribute leaflets door to door throughout South Petersfield. However, residents and businesses in many other areas of the city and, just as importantly, in necklace villages and beyond, did not receive individual notifications of the plans or consultations. I am sure that many people are still unaware of what is planned.
The consultation has given people a range of impressions of what is planned with the PCCPs, with officers and councillors offering contradictory interpretations of how much scope there is for changing the plans; what locations are under consideration; what hours they might operate; whether they will operate tidally; and who might be eligible for exemptions.
Many people have commented about the poor quality of the questionnaire, with leading questions and inadequate prompting on the negative impacts. In fact the entire exercise appears to be more like a sales promotion than an honest engagement around the pros and cons of the proposals.
The leaflet does not make clear that the planned congestion reduction proposals go hand-in-hand with new bus lanes on radial routes. Very few people will have read paragraph 63 of the Access & Capacity Report, which makes this clear. Describing bus lanes/ways as ‘public transport schemes’ with no further explanation or references is misleading and disingenuous.
Many residents now believe that they will have an automatic exemption to drive through control points. How they came to that conclusion is easy to see from this sentence in the leaflet: “It is important to underline that all properties and businesses along a road with a PCCP would still be accessible at all times – including during peak-hours.”
Some officers and councillors have stated categorically that residents and businesses close to PCCPs will be eligible for an exemption (though ‘close’ has not been defined). This is a promise that residents and local businesses expect to be kept!
It has been suggested that granting so many exemptions will put the scheme outside the Civil Enforcement powers of the County Council, and therefore enforceable only by the police, who are unlikely to make this a priority.
Cllr Herbert indicated that residents would be able to appeal Penalty Charge Notices for exceptional circumstances. This will be inconvenient and, for some people, stressful. As there are likely to be a large number of such claims, has the administrative burden on the County Council been costed?
People with disabilities
The Access & Capacity Report indicates that “Disabled drivers would not be exempt” from control point access restrictions. This should have been mentioned in the consultation, as many people assume that , say, Blue Badge holders would receive an automatic exemption as they do not have the option to walk, cycle or take a bus.
Many residents are concerned that people with limited mobility (e.g. because of a heart condition), but who do not qualify for a Blue Badge, will not be eligible for an exemption. Residents are also concerned that it will be difficult for them to assist infirm relatives and friends, e.g. to give them a lift to a doctor or hospital appointment.
Health and social care
There are serious concerns that health and social care workers will not be able to attend their charges in a timely manner: administering medication, helping with toileting and getting out of bed are all time-critical. It is not possible to reschedule visits to avoid traffic peaks without severely impacting the lives of vulnerable adults and children. Also care staff are generally not paid for the time it takes to drive between homes, so long detours will reduce their earnings, which are already barely above the minimum wage.
Private hire vehicles
The Access & Capacity Report states, “The current Cambridge core traffic scheme allows private hire cars access through the existing closure points; however it is considered that this may not be appropriate for these closures.” Most of the public are not aware of the distinction between hackney and private hire taxis, nor of the reasoning for excluding private hire taxis. It must be remembered that some residents with limited mobility depend on private hire taxis, and would be penalised financially if those had to follow long detours. There will need to be clarity about which taxi companies are permitted to pass through control points.
Many people have expressed the view that the PCCP proposals discriminate against working mothers. The practical issues clearly apply to parents of either gender, but in most cases it is women who assume the responsibility of delivering and collecting young children from school (and pre- and after-school activities, often laden with sports bags, musical instruments, etc.) Combining this with getting to and from work in a short space of time by bike or bus is not a practical option for most of them.
It is clear that parents driving their children to school (primary and private schools in particular) generates a significant amount of traffic and congestion. The City Deal appears not to have any plans to tackle this, and is expecting parents to change their behaviour without any assistance.
Driving to work
Many residents work outside the city (often one partner works in the city, another outside). For them public transport is rarely an option (a situation that is unlikely to change) and they would resent having to leave home very much earlier, or drive several extra miles, on possibly highly congested roads, to get to work. This argues for making control points on radial roads tidal.
Home services & deliveries
It is unclear what the effect of PCCPs will be on:
Post Office and other courier collections and deliveries (especially deliveries with a guaranteed delivery time before 10am).
Builders, who typically start work on site between 8am and 9am.
Maintenance service providers, e.g. attending plumbing emergencies.
Other practical considerations
People unfamiliar with the city will struggle to understand what route they need to take. Sat navs do not generally ‘know’ about time-limited access restrictions. It will be well-nigh impossible to communicate sufficient information on road-side signage to guide people to all destinations.
People arriving at a PCCP slightly later than anticipated but after the switch-on time, perhaps because of a hold-up en route, will be faced with having to take a Penalty Charge Notice or change their route at the last minute, possibly entailing a detour of several miles.
People reaching a PCCP unexpectedly will need to be able to turn around, including lorries and coaches. In many cases the only available ‘escape route’ will be via narrow residential streets.
Rat run: Tenison Rd
Figure 4.9 in the Short List Report, showing “Option 6 with mode shift – Demand flow difference from DM” indicates that Tenison Rd will receive a >50% increase in northbound traffic. That is extremely alarming for residents of that road, who fear a marked reduction in quality of life, in particular additional noise disturbance and pollution.
Tenison Rd is having nearly £500,000 of Section 106 money spent on it to calm the traffic to mitigate the increase in volume resulting from the CB1 development and increased footfall at the train station. This was in recognition of the fact that Tenison Rd (and, to a lesser extent, St Barnabas and Devonshire Rds) will already be carrying too much through traffic for non-arterial residential roads.
Tenison Rd is heavily used by people walking and cycling to and from the station. Adding a large volume of traffic will reduce safety and increase pollution.
The crossings at the junctions between Tenison Rd and the Northern Access Road and Station Road are uncontrolled. Local residents, workers and commuters already expect that these will present a serious obstacle for pedestrians, especially those with disabilities or young children, and a hazard for people on cycles. (These issues have been raised with Ian Dyer and the safety team.) Add significantly more through these junctions and they will be practically impassable for pedestrians at peak times (except of course when the road logjams).
Potential rat run: Tenison Ave–Lyndewode Rd
If the control point on Hills Road is set between Station Rd and Harvey Rd, Tenison Avenue and Lyndewode Rd will be used as a rat run. This appears not to have been picked up on the CSRM, presumably because the cell resolution is still too coarse.
Options we have discussed, but which would need detailed analysis and close consultation are:
Adding a control point (possibly tidal) on Tenison Rd between Gt Northern Rd and Tenison Avenue. This would have major implications for residents and local businesses.
Adding a control point or closing Tenison Avenue to through traffic.
The builders yard at the Mill Road end of Devonshire Road receives a stream of HGVs and builders’ vans, many of them during the morning peak. Having a control point on Mill Road bridge means that all traffic to Travis Perkins will have to travel up and down Devonshire Road (there is a right-turn ban from Mill Road into Devonshire Road – for good safety reasons). Has Travis Perkins been actively consulted on the proposals?
Travis Perkins is also likely to redevelop the site in 2017/18 in accordance with the planning consent granted on 8 April 2014 (11/1294/FUL, 11/1295/FUL). This will draw a large number of construction vehicles into Devonshire Rd during the morning peak.
Other potential rat runs
If the control point on Hills Rd is set beyond Bateman St, then Bateman St and other streets in New Town will become even more heavily used rat runs. Similar sorts of concerns will be raised around Coleridge Rd, Radegund Rd, Madingley and Coton villages, and no doubt other streets that the traffic model hasn’t picked up. How will these potential rat runs be addressed?
The modelling indicates that a large portion of traffic will be displaced onto other roads. Newmarket Rd in particular stands out as it is a major bus route. It does not seem to be a good strategy to improve the reliability of some services at the expense of others.
Park & Ride
Many residents have asked why the County Council does not reverse the imposition of a £1 charge for parking at the Park & Ride. The ~15% sustained reduction in use of P&R has undoubtedly led to a significant and sustained increase in traffic into the city, congestion at peak times, and residential streets jammed with commuters’ cars.
Many residents have asked why the City Deal has not consulted on a congestion charge, believing it to be a more satisfactory way to reduce congestion.
Residents support the underlying objective of reducing congestion in the city centre, and accept that behaviour change is necessary to achieve this. However there is very little support for PCCPs in the locations proposed. There is concern that the side-effects will be highly detrimental to residents’ quality of life and to the viability of local businesses. The plans offer no improvements to city bus services, nor assistance with getting children to and from school.
We therefore ask the City Deal to:
Conduct an equality impact assessment of the planned measures on those people and businesses that have no reasonable alternative to driving when the PCCPs are active.
Clarify who will be eligible for exemptions.
Examine in more detail what the impacts of PCCPs will be on traffic flows between Hills Road and Mill Road.
Incentivise commuters to use P&R (or regular bus services).
Commission research into how parents may be assisted in taking their children to and from school safely without needing to drive.
We also ask the City Deal to review and model the following variations and alternatives:
Operate PCCPs in the morning only. If City Deal measures are effective at inducing modal shift to buses and bikes, there will be fewer people driving out of the city in the evening.
Operate PCCPs on radial roads (Mill Rd, Hills Rd) tidally (so that residents can exit the city in the morning, and enter in the evening).
Test the Mill Road PCCP at one of three locations:
On the railway bridge
By the swimming pool
East of Coleridge Road
Test the Hills Rd PCCP at one of two locations:
Between Station Rd and Bateman St, with additional control(s) to block rat-running via Tenison Ave.
Between Harvey Rd and Gonville Pl, with additional controls to block rat-running in New Town.
Consult on adding a PCCP on Tenison Rd at the Gt Northern Way junction, and any other measures that would reduce through traffic in the area.
Instead of PCCPs on Mill Rd and Hills Rd, have control points at the Trumpington St end of Lensfield Rd and Bateman St. Combined with the East Rd PCCP, this would be effective at reducing traffic on Hills Rd and Mill Rd, as these would no longer be through routes to other parts of the city. This is illustrated at: http://www.smartertransport.uk/buses/#map4
Response from City Deal to SoPRA’s initial representation
Thank you very much for offering to distribute copies of our information leaflet to residents in your area, we would be happy to provide you with 1,000 copies as requested. [We will arrange collection.] We will also be offering leaflets to other residents associations and community groups, through FeCRA, to distribute around Cambridgeshire.
People with disabilities
We acknowledge that the Access & Capacity Report does indicate that “Disabled drivers would not be exempt” from control point access restrictions. Although this is the current proposal, we welcome the views from respondents on this proposition. We will be investigating detailed exemptions once we have these views, after the engagement period.
Health and Social Care
You raise some important concerns, which we are well aware of. Delivering care to people is really important for the County Council so we will be working with colleagues across the Council and with their providers to ensure that we are able to maintain this vital service.
Private Hire Vehicles
We acknowledge that not everyone will be aware of the distinction between hackney and private hire taxis. This is an area where more work is needed and discussions with stakeholders and operators will be essential to develop our plans as we move forward.
Potential rat runs and impassable crossings
We acknowledge that we need to work with residents, employers and stakeholders to consider the detailed implications of the proposed PCCPs, particularly with regard to potential rat runs. Over the coming months we will be undertaking more detailed modelling to test the impacts of the PCCPs and refine the proposals to minimise rat runs and develop any supporting measures that may be required. We will work with local communities to develop any necessary mitigation measures to address these issues. And will also develop complementary proposals for reallocating road space to pedestrians and cyclists.
There has been no intention to mislead people about the links between these proposals and those for bus and cycle improvements on the radial routes. We are producing some more maps for the exhibitions boards which will help to show the links between the different schemes and will put these on our website when ready.
Normally the residents association doesn’t get involved in domestic planning applications, but 20 Devonshire Rd is a ‘feature house’, being the largest single home on the road. Its redevelopment is therefore likely to be of interest to the wider public.
The purchaser is a developer who plans to renovate and subdivide the house and workshops into four one-bedroom flats, a two-bedroom flat, and a one-bedroom maisonette. The front elevation will remain largely unchanged.
It is unclear how many of the the flats will count as new properties, and therefore how many occupiers will be eligible for residents parking permits; the developer believes it will be three; a council officer indicated it will be none.
We now have an active SpeedWatch team, organised by Nicky Massey. We also now have a Speed Indicator Device, which shows drivers their speed when it exceeds 20mph. These are effective ways to reduce speeding.
Any resident interested in being involved in Speedwatch or in helping look after the speed indicator device, please contact us.
Speedwatch sessions conducted so far have identified a large number of speeding vehicles, including taxis. The police are notifying vehicle owners and taxi licensing authorities.
The Speedwatch scheme allows the public to get actively involved in monitoring the speed of vehicles travelling through their neighbourhood. The scheme is run by the force alongside the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Road Safety Partnership. It is about educating motorists in the law in relation to speeding and monitoring any trends in speeding in neighbourhoods.
Volunteers are trained to use speed indicator devices which displays vehicle speed. The registered owner of any vehicle seen exceeding the speed limit is sent an advisory letter from their local neighbourhood policing team, explaining that speeding is unacceptable to the local community.
A data recorder or TME (traffic measuring equipment) will be deployed before the scheme starts, and then 6 months afterwards. This will provide a good indication of how effective the scheme is.
One element of the scheme is still unfinished: the pedestrian crossing just to the north of Canon’s Green. The Traffic Regulation Order passed was for this to be a zebra crossing (black-and-white stripes on the ground, and Belisha beacons on each pavement). However the descriptions and drawings relating to this feature are inconsistent, which has led some residents to believe that there was to be an ‘informal’ not zebra crossing at this location.
The Cambridge Joint Area Committee, met on 14 March 2017 and voted to complete the crossing as a full zebra, with Belisha beacons and white zizag lines either side (where it is illegal to park). Details of the beacons are being worked out with officers.
Retained for reference
Karen Lunn (lead council officer) provided this update on 9 November:
The programme to finish the work will now be as follows.
Monday 14 Nov: Complete kerb works
Tuesday 15 Nov: Complete all surfacing and begin dismantling fencing and clearing site.
Wednesday 16 Nov: Apply resin sealant to block paving & begin tree pit works. Complete road marking
Thursday 17 Nov: Complete resin sealant, remove heras fencing from site, continue tree pits. Off hire storage container.
Friday 18 Nov: Finish final clearing of site, road sweeper to give final sweep to area. Reopen Tenison Rd. Any remaining tree works can be done with local TM and will not require the closure.
We are still awaiting an installation date for the Zebra crossing from BBLP.
We realise that Tenison Road normally forms part of the diversion route for the Remembrance Sunday road closure on Hills Road so we have arranged an alternative route.
Karen Lunn provided this update on 19 October:
The current plan, weather permitting, for Monday 24th and Tuesday 25th October is to resurface the carriageway between Mill Road and the Canon’s Green feature. There will be no vehicular access to this length of the road for the duration of the work and therefore no provision for parking along it. Eurovia have been liaising with residents and businesses to give them forewarning.
The work will be quite intense and noisy during this time for which we apologise but given the nature of the work is unavoidable. In order to complete the work as quickly as possible Eurovia are working to a very tight timetable that relies on everything running to plan. The intention is that they will work from 8am until 6pm on Monday. Work undertaken after 5pm will be of a quiet nature. Providing there are no hiccups with the weather, machinery breakdowns or availability of road resurfacing material you will have access to this length of road will be restored on Wednesday morning.
This work includes the reconstruction and resurfacing of the two sections of carriageway between the features. With regard to the issue of pavement overhaul that Richard mentioned we are replacing the concrete slabs along the footway on the north-west side of the road so that the footway will be level as it is rather uneven at present. On the opposite side of the road we resurfacing the footway over the extents of the features. The resurfacing of St.Barnabas Road does not form part of this scheme.
The bulk of the scheme should be completed by November 11th. To follow on from this will be the installation of the trees and Zebra crossing. It is recommended by the tree providers that the trees are not lifted from the ground until November which coincides with the end of their growing season. Balfour Beatty Living Places who will be installing the Zebra crossing have only just provided me with a cost estimate for the work so I am waiting to hear from them as to when they anticipate the installation work will take place.
Work on the long-planned traffic calming measures on Tenison Road started on 4 March, but was immediately interrupted by the need to replace a Victorian water main buried just 18″ below the road surface.
Tenison Road is closed between Mill Road and the junction with St Barnabas Road, and will remain so until 18 November 2016. This entire section of carriageway will be rebuilt and parts of the footway resurfaced.
Tenison Road will be closed to through traffic between Mill Road and St Barnabas Road for the duration of the work. A diversion route from Mill Road to Station Road will be signed via Gonville Place and Hills Road. This only affects through traffic coming from the city end of Mill Road (which should not use Covent Garden or Devonshire Road as an alternative to Tenison Road). Traffic from Romsey can continue to use Devonshire Road, and traffic from the station can continue to use St Barnabas Road.
Update 3 July 2017: A public exhibition of plans for the site will be held at St Barnabas Church on Wednesday 19 July between 3pm and 6.30pm. The developer is Cambridge Investment Partnership, a joint venture between Cambridge City Council and Hill, a commercial housebuilder.
The City Council depot site off Mill Road (next to the railway line) is due to be redeveloped for housing. A planning and development brief (known as a Supplementary Planning Document or SPD) has been published, following consultation and adoption by the City Council.
The planning and development brief will help guide the re-development of the site for housing in accordance with the emerging Cambridge Local Plan 2014. It outlines the aspirations of the site, as well as the key issues, constraints and opportunities that will influence how future development on site will take place.
The Chisholm Trail is a new cycle and pedestrian route proposed for funding by the Greater Cambridge City Deal. It will run between the existing train station and the new (‘Cambridge North’) station at Chesterton, and will provide residents of Petersfield a quicker and safer route:
Under Mill Road, re-using ‘spare’ railway arches under the bridge. There will be a new cycle/footpath from Mill Road to the station car park, running alongside the railway lines.
To Ditton Meadows and Stourbridge Common, via a new tunnel under Newmarket Road at the Leper Chapel.
To Cambridge North station, Cambridge Business Park and Cambridge Science Park, via a new bridge over the Cam, next to the existing railway bridge.
SoPRA’s response to consultation
We are strongly supportive of the Chisholm Trail as it will provide considerable convenience and safety for residents of South Petersfield and visitors. Not having to cross Mill Road at the busy and dangerous crossing at Devonshire Road and Kingston Street will be a particular relief to parents with young children (many of whom attend St Matthew’s Primary School to the north). For residents who work at the business parks on the northern fringe of the city, cycling to work will become considerably more attractive.
Of particular relevance to us are the connections to the western route from Devonshire Road and Mill Road, which are not clear from the diagram. Will there be access:
via the existing steps from the south side of Mill Road bridge?
(This would be highly desirable for pedestrians.)
from the access road off Devonshire Road just to the north of the Travis Perkins site?
(This would be useful for residents on that access road and at the top of Devonshire Road, and for visitors to the pub.)
from Angus Close?
(This would be useful for residents living in Devonshire Road north of the station car park entrance.)
Also, what will be the marked route for cyclists and pedestrians through the station car park? Will this be sufficiently clear to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians? There is likely to be a large volume of cycle and pedestrian through-traffic, so this will need to be monitored carefully.
The lead council officers are Liz Waring and Patrick Joyce.