3. KEY OBJECTIVES
"The SPD seeks to enable the gradual transformation of the Grafton Centre and the streets and service areas which surround it. The site will continue to grow as a retail destination for the City accommodating future growth in retail floorspace, and complementing other central shopping locations such as Grand Arcade and Lion Yard, and more local facilities at Mill Road.
Opportunities to redevelop the edges of the Grafton Centre will initiate a step change in the quality of the area, establishing a more sensitive transition between city centre activities and the domestic scale of the surrounding Conservation Areas. These will establish the first steps towards the long-term regeneration of the area with a broader, more diverse mix of uses, an improved evening offer and greater emphasis on better spaces for people, and improved streets which feel safe, and re-connect the area with the wider neighbourhood."
3.2.1 Three key objectives have been identified which sit above the statements of guidance, development parameters and illustrative guidance in Chapter 5.
1. Integration and permeability through better streets and spaces
3.2.2 Proposals for the Area of Major Change should seek to re-integrate with adjacent streets and establish a more sensitive response to the townscape beyond the SPD boundary. In particular, opportunities to create better east-west and north-south connections will be pursued with a view to re-stitching the area into the wider neighbourhoods.
3.2.3 Central to this is a desire to create a more permeable and legible network for pedestrians and cyclists, focusing on connections through the city and to the Grafton Centre. Proposals will establish aclear hierarchy of routes for pedestrians, cyclists and private vehicles including an integrated approach to the management of servicing in the short and long-term.
3.2.4 The movement strategy should integrate with the Greater Cambridge Partnership's proposals which are under consideration for the city.
2. A balanced and successful destination
3.2.5 Proposals for the Area of Major Change should seek to create a positive and attractive environment to support the vitality and viability of the centre for retail and associated activity.
3.2.6 A key objective is to improve the existing performance of the area as a retail destination and to accommodate growth in floorspace as set out through the strategic policy position in the Local Plan. There is a wider opportunity to establish a robust and flexible position so that the Grafton Centre, Fitzroy Street, Burleigh Street and East Road are able to respond positively to shifting cycles of demand in the short-term, as well as any more fundamental structural patterns in the longer-term to secure the resilience of the area as a retail destination.
3.2.7 Integral to this future-proofing, is the introduction of a broad mix of town centre uses including retail, food and drink, and leisure. Proposals will bring life to the centre through the introduction of new homes, student accommodation, hotel space, university accommodation and offices. The SPD encourages the strengthening of the area for retail, and greater diversification as a destination for the city - for residents, visitors, workers and students.
3. Flexibility and phasing
3.2.8 A central tenet of the SPD is the need for a flexible approach to uses which will enable a positive response to the shifting dynamics of the retail economy across short, medium and long- term cycles as set out above. In practical terms, it is vital that any proposals for the area are set in context of the longer-term strategy for the area. Opportunities to progress development and public realm proposals in the short to medium term will need to demonstrate how they fit with the overarching strategy – setting a benchmark which will raise the profile of the area and act as a catalyst for phased regeneration.
3.2.9 In broad terms, the SPD envisages a phased strategy.
• In the short term (and continuing through the medium term), the ongoing programme of investment for the internal refurbishment, re-configuration and intensification of the existing Grafton Centre will continue.
• In the medium term, the SPD promotes opportunities to improve the streets and spaces at the edges of the Area of Major Change. This could include a combination of shopfront improvements, infill development and service yard reconfiguration and selective redevelopment.
• Public realm upgrades should be progressed in parallel with the regeneration or intensification of adjacent streets. Public realm and improvements should be coherent, comprehensive and integrated with development. Shorter-term interventions might necessitate an interim public realm approach and/or a contribution to more comprehensive public realm projects at an appropriate point.
• The SPD also supports a longer-term framework of regeneration for the area, with later phases focusing on the potential redevelopment of the Grafton Centre at an appropriate point in the process. Medium term proposals should demonstrate how they could be integrated with a longer-term framework.
3.2.10 All phases of development should contribute to meeting retail needs and realising citywide retail strategy as set out in the Local Plan. The SPD will, as far as possible, seek to achieve an uplift of retail floorspace at every phase of the development to maintain a deliverable supply of retail floorspace throughout the development of the site.