Azara Blog: Some local residents don't like that station area development plans

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Date published: 2006/01/31

The Cambridge Evening News says:

Residents have slammed plans for a massive new office and housing scheme opposite the city's railway station.

Around 200 people packed into St Paul's Church, Hills Road, on Monday night to give their views on the proposals, which include 10 storey buildings and 1,400 flats.

Cambridge City Council officers admitted the scheme, put forward by Ashwell Plc, "departed substantially" from their development plan with the developers seeking more houses and higher buildings.

It has already granted permission for a historical resource and cultural centre for the county council in the converted mill silo building, along with 4,000 sq feet of office space for Ashwell Homes and some residential units.

But residents are concerned that if the remaining proposals get the goahead, the site could become a ghetto of commuter flats for people working in London rather than a transport interchange serving the whole city.
Ashwells is proposing to demolish all the existing office blocks in Station Road and double the space with seven new blocks from six to 10 storeys high. In addition, 18 blocks of flats up to seven storeys high will include a new hotel multi-deck car park and 50,000 square feet of new shops and cafes. About 30 per cent of the housing will be designated "affordable".

Well Ashwell Plc has no doubt done the sums and decided they can flog all those flats and all this office space. But of course the flats will largely be there for London commuters. All housing anywhere near the station is like that. And who are these residents kidding, the main reason the station is a "transport interchange" is because of London commuters.

The Cambridge hi-tech boom is largely over (there are some exceptions), and the city is stupidly asking one of it's largest companies (Marshalls) to get lost and replacing all those jobs with yet more housing. So soon Cambridge will be largely a university town and a dormitory for London commuters, with a large regional hospital. Wonderful. Thank your local Lib Dem council, who hate cars so much they think it is more "sustainable" that people commute 60 miles to work by train than 3 miles by car.

What is most astonishing about Ashwell's plans is that they want to demolish all the existing offices on Station Road, including (it seems) Kett House, which was completely refurbished (at no doubt great expense) only a few years ago. What an utter waste of resources. Build something and then smash it up. This is what people should be objecting to.

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