Azara Blog: Ashwell is going to propose new scheme for Cambridge railway area

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Date published: 2007/04/13

The Cambridge Evening News says:

Developers have scrapped their unpopular £725 million plans for revamping the Station Road area of Cambridge.

Ashwell has announced it is shelving an appeal against Cambridge City Council's decision to refuse planning permission for the cb1 scheme.

The company, which is now working on new plans for the 21.5 acre development with its architects, has been in top secret talks with Cambridge City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council for months.

Bosses said in December they were postponing the appeal against the city's decision while discussions continued.

Now, almost a year after ambitious plans for a transport interchange, 1,400 flats, a hotel, offices and a multi-storey car park, were dismissed, Ashwell has announced it is taking the plans off the table and will not be pursuing the appeal.

Cambridge City Council put aside £200,000 to fight the company after rejecting the scheme on 25 grounds.

The new scheme is still in its early stages and Ashwell expects to begin public consultation in the summer.

The company said it hoped to address the concerns raised by the first application and create a scheme residents and councillors will be happy with.

Paul Thwaites, chief executive of Ashwell Property Group, said:

"We are making excellent progress working in consultation with officers at the city and county councils on the key principles for the redevelopment of cb1.

"At the heart of the redesign is a focus on delivering a high quality transport interchange, which will enable people living, working or visiting this great city to move between transport by bicycle, bus, train and car with ease."

Cambridge City Council's planning committee said last April that redevelopment of the site was a "once in a lifetime" opportunity and the original plans failed to meet the needs of rail users, public transport users, taxi users, pedestrians and cyclists.

The fact that we are in this situation at all is a condemnation of both sides in the dispute. They should have been in discussions years ago about all these details. Needless to say, wherever the city is involved, the design is almost certain to be worse than it would otherwise be. In particular, note how Thwaites mentions cars but the city council does not. You can pretty much guarantee that the city will try to enforce that there be poor access to the station for cars. Everything else about this development is of no great use to Cambridge. The flats will be built for London commuters, not the workers of Cambridge.

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