Cambridge Northern Fringe East AAP - Issues and Options

Representation ID: 29212

Received: 08/12/2014

Respondent: Ben Cofield

Representation Summary:

New road adjacent to sewage works as access to station.
Pedestrianised boulevard on existing Cowley Road
Relocated Police Station
New covered square to be a real destination for Cambridge
New NIAB-sized site for 4000+ houses adjacent to the station, in addition to the residential towers

Full text:

The redevelopment of this area is fundamental to the viability and success of the new station. Not only should the station be called "Cambridge North", but this could be a moniker for the entire area bounded by the river and Milton Road/A14.
I have attached a document, which spells out the vision I have for the area.
You will see that there is a good mixture of accommodation, addressing some of the need for Council housing, as well as further student accommodation, allowing for a diverse mix of residents. This accommodation would be in lieu of open-market affordable accommodation, to allow developers to create much more attractive buildings and maintain profits, whilst providing accommodation to well-vetted Council tenants.
I have also suggested relocating the Police Station to the area (blue square). This has a number of benefits:
It will provide a smell barrier from the sewage works
It has immediate access to the A14/A10 etc, and therefore can mobilise police personnel quickly to potentially higher crime areas of the city.
It will be a very attractive gateway building and will allow confidence for developers to develop
It will free up the existing Station on Parkside to be redeveloped, either to a 5-star hotel, which the city badly needs, or more high-quality apartments. I would favour the hotel.
There would be a new road for all traffic to the industrial estate and station. This would free up the existing Cowley Road to be pedestrianised and provide the attractive gateway of shops and restaurants as people approach the Science Park, if that is their destination. This would also allow for easy development access to the current sewage works site, if and when it is redeveloped. The Big Green Box company will need to be relocated, but I believe this is the most logical access road.
The Council accommodation is next to the Police station, and also closest to the main road, so although still highly desirable, would act as a sound barrier to most of the area. It also would put people off from committing crime as the police can be on site immediately, thus negating problems of Council high-rises in the past.
The other black line adjacent to the Council blocks is for access to the underground car park, largely for residents, but some could be for the office accommodation. There will be a public multi-storey car park at the industrial end of the road, which will be surrounded by the student accommodation, whether for Ruskin or privately rented, similar to the Downing model at CB1.
Orange blocks are for the offices, again with the intention of blocking the sound and smells for the residential behind, in the light blue boxes.
Each box has an indicative building height.
The maroon box is a hotel, and not another budget hotel, but a 4-star hotel. Perhaps Radisson, if their Science Park hotel is not going ahead.
The yellow lines are pedestrianised paths with very attractive planting. The residential and hotel accommodation will have bars and restaurants lining the boulevard, ideally bringing new restaurants to the city.
Some buildings form a square, similar to Plaza Mayor in Madrid but on a smaller scale. This would be surrounded by shops and restaurants, and ideally would have a fountain, and possibly glass roof. This would make it a wonderful destination for when the weather is bad and give residents a chance to do something different that just go to the city centre. We could have acts performing, similar to Covent Garden.
I understand that Brookgate have the area nearest to the station, so I truly hope that they will do a much better job than at CB1, which is a missed opportunity to create something amazing.
I do however have an idea to redevelop the other side of the railway line. I have called this area "Fen Meadows", and would result in 100 or so Traveller families being relocated, ideally through compulsory purchase. This would immediately improve East Chesterton and the city as a whole, but I understand a suitable site would need to be found for them. This area could house 4000 people and would create some wonderful riverside accommodation, walks and create a NIAB/Great Kneighton style area, which would have the benefit of being adjacent to the station. A new cycle bridge could link this area to the station and allow easy access, without using people's cars. A new road bridge could be created at the north end of the site linking to Fen Ditton and the A14 junction at Fen Ditton. Of course, a tunnel linking to the station from the south of Fen Meadows would make a more attractive proposition as it would make it easier to travel to a new link to Wadloes Road, allowing people from Barnwell, Newmarket Road, Fen Ditton, the Airport etc to access a railway station without clogging up East Road. It would involve building a road on top of Ditton Meadows, but this could be covered over with grass, forming a hill, which in itself could become a new amenity for the area, with new planting as appropriate. Then the question would be to build a tunnel or a bridge to link to the station. £30M or more would be a lot of course, but the benefits to the city would pay that back within 10 years, and provide critical infrastructure that should have been done 50 years ago.
You will see that at the top of Fen Meadows, the secondary school will be there, and this will be a great location for it considering not only the future development on the sewage works, but also increasing capacity at Milton, Fen Ditton and Shirley Primary Schools.