Azara Blog: Lion Yard to be expanded

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Date published: 2006/07/26

The Cambridge Evening News says:

Plans for a £14 million expansion of Cambridge's Lion Yard shopping centre have been drawn up.

Arlington Property Investors want to change the design of Lion Yard and increase the number of shops to compete with new developments at the Grand Arcade shopping centre and Bradwells Court.

The proposals involve linking Lion Yard with the Grand Arcade, moving the toilets to the first floor and redeveloping Heidelberg Gardens. The Fisher Square entrance will be closed and people will be able to get into the centre through the new Grand Arcade side entrance on Fisher Square.

Cambridge City Council will contribute 25 per cent of the cost of the scheme by putting in £3.6 million.

Coun Rod Cantrill, executive councillor for customer services and resources, said: "The Lion Yard development represents a long term investment for the city council, providing an important source of revenue. The further development of the centre being discussed with our partners Arlington Property Investors will augment the current retailing offer of the Lion Yard in conjunction with the introduction of the important link through to the Grand Arcade.

"The city council's contribution to the proposed development of up to approximately £3.6 million is a further illustration of our commitment to protect and enhance the economic dynamism of Cambridge."

Arlington applied for planning permission to develop Heidelberg Gardens in 2001 but the work was never carried out. The company has now applied to renew the permission.

Construction of the link between Lion Yard and the Grand Arcade will take place regardless of any expansion and construction work will begin in spring 2007 and open when the new centre begins trading in March 2008.

The proposals form Arlington's strategy and direction for Lion Yard over the next five years in the face of increased competition, changing rental values and the shift in where customers will shop in Cambridge.

A planning application is expected to be submitted to Cambridge City Council shortly and work will take place over three phases in a bid to complete the project in 2008.

Far too much retail development is taking place in the city centre, given how few people actually live there. But this is Cambridge, and the ruling elite have decreed that all shopping has to be either in the city centre or along the Newmarket Road strip. Far worse, in this case it seems that the city has a blatant conflict of interest. They are investing money and they are deciding on the planning application.

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