Redevelopment of Mill Road Depot

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.


Find out more

2016 AGM

The 2016 Annual General Meeting was held on Tuesday 3 May in the hall at St Paul’s Church on Hills Road. Minutes will be published in due course.

Links to matters mentioned in the meeting:

Chisholm Trail

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.

Map of Chisholm Trail

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:

  1. via the existing steps from the south side of Mill Road bridge?
    (This would be highly desirable for pedestrians.)
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.

Petersfield ward expanded

06 September 2016: The final recommendation of the Boundary Commission keeps the existing Petersfield ward intact and merges us with Newtown.

(The original draft proposal had Petersfield disappearing, being replaced by a new St Paul’s division, roughly a wedge from the city centre running south-east to the railway line.)


The motivation for change is a requirement to reduce the number of county councillors, and hence to enlarge the electoral divisions/wards. It is likely that the City Council will adjust its ward boundaries to match.

SoPRA responses

We submitted the following letter to the Boundary Commission on 6 July 2015:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I write as a representative of the southern half of what is currently Petersfield ward in Cambridge.

The current proposal for redrawing divisional boundaries is roughly that Petersfield, Market and the northern part of Trumpington ward be amalgamated, then split north-south along the line of Mill Road. We would join the new St Paul’s division.

We do not support this, as it joins two very different parts of Cambridge: the centre, which is dominated by University of Cambridge colleges, and the densely residential area outside the inner ring road.

Mill Road is the main social, cultural and retail spine running through this part of Cambridge, and there is a strong sense of community between residents living on the north and south sides of this road. Residents in south Petersfield are also connected to Newtown, the area around Hills Road. A natural affinity exists between neighbourhoods that lie between the inner ring road and the railway line.

We therefore request that Petersfield ward be retained, with the main alteration being an extension southwards into what is currently Trumpington ward. We believe that East Road and Gonville Place should remain the western boundary, and the railway line the eastern boundary. We will be happy to accept wherever the northern and southern boundaries need to be drawn in order to achieve the required population count.

We submitted the following response on 30 November 2015 to the further consultation:

I write as a representative of the southern half of what is currently Petersfield ward in Cambridge.

Our residents’ association is strongly supportive of the ‘alternative’ proposal (‘Further Draft Recommendations’), which preserves the eastern and western boundaries of Petersfield ward. Residents have used the phrases:

‘…better fit with the history and “feel” of the localities …’
‘The historical and cultural identity of Mill Road should be preserved …’
‘…it has an historical and social coherence.’
‘…maintaining the coherence of the Petersfield neighbourhood and its natural connection to Newtown.’

We have no further request with respect to the divisional arrangement, but we would like to suggest that the enlarged ward be named ‘Petersfield and Newtown’ in recognition of both historically distinct neighbourhoods contained within the boundary.

Gresham House

A planning application by Gonville Hotel to refurbish Gresham House was granted approval on 4 November 2015:

Refurbishment of Gresham House to provide an additional 10 hotel bedrooms, extension to rear of Gresham House to provide an additional 21 hotel bedrooms, (subterranean) basement to Gresham House and provide a gym, dance studios and subterranean day spa facilities and a plant room, front extension to Gonville Hotel to provide a new dining area, and associated external works and landscaping.

This follows an earlier refusal to grant permission to demolish the building, against which residents lobbied strongly and successfully.

This is a satisfactory outcome for residents.

Noisy neighbours

If you have unreasonably noisy neighbours, here are some steps you can take:

  1. If you feel confident about doing this, have a word with them face to face. Explain how the noise is making you feel and affecting your life (they may simply not have considered this). Ask them to adhere to some basic rules, such as notifying neighbours in advance of holding a party; avoiding holding outdoor parties late at night Sunday to Thursday; keeping noise levels low, and windows and doors closed after midnight (or earlier).
  2. Contact the City Council Environmental Health team on 01223 457 900 during office house or 0300 303 8389 (7pm to 7am Thursday to Sunday, and 9am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday). The Council website sets out in detail how they handle complaints.
  3. If your neighbours are students at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), contact the ARU accommodation office on 01223 417 734 (during office hours) to log a complaint. ARU has undertaken to be more proactive in briefing students at the beginning of their tenancy about being good neighbours, and taking action against students who cause continued nuisance.

Travis Perkins

Update July 2017: Development is likely to start this year. Travis Perkins have started work on their new site on Kilmaine Close (off Kings Hedges Road), which will complement the reduced site on Devonshire Rd.

Planning consent has been granted (as of 31 March 2015) for Travis Perkins to redevelop their site on Devonshire Road: houses and flats will be built on the southern half of the site, with a new access road; Travis Perkins will retain the northern half, which will be reconfigured with a new shed.

Planners overruled our manifold concerns, including that:

  • the developers intend to fell all of the trees that border Devonshire Road (they will be replaced with much smaller specimens);
  • the car park for the builders’ yard is too small, and is likely to result in additional congestion on Devonshire Rd and Mill Rd;
  • the design of the housing is uninspiring and includes no affordable units;
  • the ‘pocket park’ will not really benefit the local community.

Although Travis Perkins ideally want to relocate to a new site, leaving the existing site to be redeveloped entirely as housing (which residents would also much prefer), they have been unable to identify a suitable site in Cambridge.

One piece of good news is that Travis Perkins has transferred ownership of a small piece of land to the County Council, which will enable a section of the Chisholm Trail to be created: this dedicated cycle/pedestrian link will run from the station car park, alongside the railway, under the Mill Road bridge, to the north side of Mill Road (and, later, to Hooper Street).

Another benefit will be that the pavement running alongside the Travis Perkins site will be widened.

Planning application for new housing: 11/1294/FUL
Planning application for new builders’ yard: 11/1295/FUL