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Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Democratic Services  Committee Manager

No. Item




Apologies were received from Councillors Hart, Thornburrow and McQueen.


Declarations of Interest


No declarations were made.



Pre-Application Briefing by the Developer - Grafton Centre Hotel

Grafton Centre Hotel Proposal


The pre-application proposal is for a 153 bedroom hotel for Premier Inn in the location of the current bus interchange and part of the service area to the south east of the Grafton Centre, fronting onto East Road. The proposal includes a restaurant / bar at ground floor level and the creation of a new public space. Improvements will also be made to the shopping centre entrance along East Road. The height of the proposed building ranges from 7 to 8 storeys with the upper floor set back by 3 metres along the principal elevations. The proposed building’s layout provides new frontage to East Road and a new public space adjacent to the existing cinema. The proposal for the public space includes a new square with a raised lawn, seating and paved areas providing routes from East Road to the cinema plaza and a pedestrian route to the new Premier Inn and The Grafton. Trees and planting are incorporated to enhance biodiversity and create a buffer between the square and the road corridor.


The façade and fenestration have been designed with recessed, full height window and canted brickwork detail to exploit the south-facing aspect and create a varying shadow pattern throughout the day. A restrained palette of high quality materials will be used to reflect recent development in the area. Materials will include buff/cream clay facing brickwork for the façade, aluminium inset panels used to express the windows, and full height aluminium framed glazing on the ground floor, revealing the restaurant and lobby.


The proposal will achieve BREEAM “excellent” level consistent with Local Plan Policy 28 and the scheme has been designed to minimise the cooling load of the building through its construction, insulation techniques and materials choices.


As the first development to be delivered by the Grafton Area of Major Change SPD, highways improvements to East Road will be required to facilitate the removal of the bus interchange and provide on-street bus stops to East Road. To cater for the pedestrian ‘desire line’ between The Grafton and the new bus stops, an additional pedestrian crossing point will be incorporated across East Road. Hotel guests will be able to use The Grafton car park situated nearby. No dedicated car parking spaces are proposed on the hotel site.


The servicing strategy for the new hotel looks to utilise the retained section of the existing shopping centre service yard, screened as part of the proposed hotel envelope. The emerging scheme removes service vehicles from the public square by creating a dedicated, managed service bay at the far end of the cinema building.


Design and Conservation Panel Feedback


The proposal was initially presented to the D&C Panel in June 2018. An updated proposal was presented to the Panel in August 2018 to which the Panel responded with a unanimous “Green” verdict subject to some final design developments. The Panel were encouraged by how many of their previous comments had been taken on board and responded to. As a  ...  view the full agenda text for item 19/3/Plan


Key points from developer’s presentation

1.1       There has been an extensive redevelopment of the Grafton Centre over the past number of years. Planning permission was granted for the food court and gym to diversify the outdated shopping centre and add to the existing leisure use with the existing cinema.

1.2       The developer has been involved in the SPD process working closely with the city and county council. The first proposal to come forward from the SPD is this hotel. The other key elements of the proposal are the relocation of the bus interchange and provision of improved public realm. The aim is to submit an application next month subject to the result of this discussion with members.

1.3       The bus interchange is already not used by the park and ride service at busy times as it causes delays. The provision of the public realm has been seen as a key benefit to residents, the city council and other stakeholders.

1.4       The proposal has already been through public consultation and engagement. The mains concerns were the building design/height, impact on traffic congestion, whether another hotel is needed, impact on residential amenity (noise/overlooking/air quality), difficulty understanding the highway changes, how parking will work. The public realm improvements were viewed positively.

1.5       The shopping centre is of its time and is inward looking. The proposal offers an opportunity to respond to East Road. This has been important in discussions with the city council, Design and Conservation Panel and residents. The cinema has limited activity. East Road is a key arrival route into Cambridge. The proposal may allow for tree planting which would soften the street. The removal of the bus interchange creates a relatively large site area. The restaurant at ground floor would be open to members of the public and has the potential to open out onto the public realm with outdoor dining.

1.6       The elevations have been worked to a higher standard than is normally required for a budget hotel given the sensitive nature of the site. Back of house has been designed so it would be tucked away and screened from the street. Verified views will be provided as part of the planning application. Key views have been agreed with planning officers and are being worked up

1.7       The materials proposed would be high quality. This was identified as being very important at the Design and Conservation Panel. The brick is proposed to be a buff brick with variation to contrast with the flat buff brick of the shopping centre. The colonnade will provide street frontage. The ground floor would include the reception and the restaurant. There would be 6 full levels of bedrooms with the top level recessed 3m to provide relief. Floor to ceiling windows are proposed. The window panels break up the façade and incorporate ventilation.

1.8       The building has been designed to be inclusive and accessible with accessible rooms at each level. Premier Inn has onerous requirements for thermal performance. It requires 60% of hot water  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19/3/Plan