Draft North East Cambridge Area Action Plan

Representation ID: 56059

Received: 05/10/2020

Respondent: Department for Education

Representation Summary:

Please see letter attached

Policy 10d: Station Approach
20. Cambridge Maths School was approved as a Free School project in 2017 It will
be operated by The Learning Alliance Trust and be a specialist 6th form of 200
pupils (opening with 100 initially).
21. LocatED is an Arms-Length Body to the Department for Education. It is
responsible for buying and developing sites in England to help deliver much
needed new school places for thousands of children.
22. LocatED was commissioned to identify and acquire a site within Cambridge to
facilitate the school, of c.2,450 sq m. An extensive site search was undertaken
originally in 2017 and a follow up search in 2018/20 which demonstrated the
challenges of land availability and suitability.
23. The first site search identified eight potential sites of which only one was worthy
of further consideration. This was the Cambridge North Brookgate site. The
other sites were not suitable for a number of reasons; they were either not close
enough to Cambridge or Cambridge North train station or they were discounted
as they were too small for the requirement. LocatED carried out a new site
search in May 2019 to see if any new sites had come to the market. In total this
site search produced 16 potential sites. These were mostly vacant office
buildings that LocatED thought may be able to accommodate the maths school.
However, office agents in Cambridge confirmed that commercial landlords did
not wish for a maths school to occupy their space This is because landlords
were conscious that by letting part of an office to a school, it may act as a
disincentive to other traditional office users who may have been interested in
occupying the rest of the property. This is despite the age of the students.
Furthermore, the location of the office units also played a part in some of these
sites not being suitable.
24. In 2020, further to this review search (which identified 16 sites), a shortlist of
four sites was drawn up. A high level discussion was then held in March 2020
between LocatED’s Jacqueline Nixon and the Assistant Director of Planning at
GCP (Sharon Brown) to discuss the four shortlisted sites. In relation to the
discussion of those sites, as well as further due diligence, the site (Land to the
east of Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0AE) was considered to be the most
suitable. The site forms part of a consortium-led development known as Station
Approach, owned by the Chesterton Partnership (Network Rail, DB Schenker
and Brookgate).
25. LocatED and Brookgate have been working together in relation to the relevant
landholding, to bring forward a mixed-use development. There is an agreement
with LocatED and Brookgate as the landowner to bring forward Cambridge
Maths School as part of the overall development, with a planning application
anticipated for submission by December 2020.
26. There are no constraints or policy conflicts arising from the identified site.