Petersfield Building Boom 1994-1999
A striking amount of building has been going on in the area surrounded by East
Road, Mill Road, York Street and New Street, much of it on sites derelict for many years.
It's an example of the "densification" proposed as one of the
Cambridge Futures options.
The student buildings were mainly by the Suffolk developer Dencora and then leased to students by Spires.
Most of those buildings were offered for lease to APU but at a rate per room that
was deemed too high for students. Their lettings tend to be for a calendar year rather than
for the academic year.
Also the rooms tend to be smaller than what's considered the minimum size for
students, perhaps because they're not intended to have the dual use of conference trade.
- Varsity House, 296 student rooms opposite the Rose & Crown, Occupation Road (built to APU's design)
- Scholars House, student rooms on the Kinema site, Mill Road
- Student rooms either side of the Eastings building on East Road
- A house of student rooms next to Preppy's hairdressers on East Road
- Housing on New Street, by the Occupation Road/Sturton Street junction
- Housing on the Sturton St. site formerly occupied by Dents (locksmiths)
- Bradmore Court, Bradmore St., along with Petersfield Mansions
(an example of the 30% social housing routinely forced upon commercial developers by the City Council)
- Flower St. housing development on the former Swainlands signwriters site
- Housing in York Street, near the entrance to the Beehive site
- Peter Taylor House, 254-bed on-campus student residence for APU
- Proposed TravelLodge hotel on East Road, on the former
Drill Hall/PO site
- Just outside the area: Cromwell Road student residence for APU refused by planning inspector upon appeal.
Refused on weak grounds - pedestrian & cycle traffic in an area with plenty of pedestrian & cycle traffic already.
Since then alternative proposals, for light industrial use (requiring no change of planning permission from
the Esso fuel depot it used to be),
have been more vigorously opposed by residents, since they would have real traffic implications.
There's a striking difference between the City Council's handling of private developers
and APU in the area.
Remember, by definition in personal pages, this is my view of things.
As for APU, "you might think this, we couldn't possibly comment".
|Few if any public meetings required||Extensive public meetings required
|Minimal advertising of the planning application||Extensive advertising of the planning application
|Rapid determination of planning application||Months of delay in planning application
|Approval of planning application||Rejection or time-out of planning application
|No appeal required||Appeal (very expensive) required, with many more delays
|Minimal extra planning conditions||Onerous and sometimes ludicrous extra planning conditions
- private developers can develop cheaply and quickly;
- APU has to use a lot of time & money just to get to the
point where building starts - money which should have gone into better
facilties for the education of the local community, as served by APU.
From Peter Taylor House, near to the wall of the Mill Road Cemetery.
- An archway between PTH and the 1909ish Ruskin Building was required to
be constricted to be 7.5mm (!) wider than the legal minimum for a wheelchair,
even though many wheelchair users will need to pass through it.
Extra brickwork was thus installed to narrow the width - which can easily be removed
if sense ever prevails.
- APU as part of its duty-of-care and security policy needs to make the
area secure and free from the known sex pests and druggies in the graveyard.
Accordingly a secure boundary is needed.
The Church of England refused permission for adding fencing on top of the
4-ft-high brick graveyard wall. The next option was to install a fence
at least 6ft higher (10ft) next to it or at least 6ft high set several feet in from the wall.
The City Council only gave permission for a 6ft one right next to the wall, which would make it
trivial to climb over from the brick wall.