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Agenda item

Pre-Application Briefing by the Developer - Abbeygate House, East Road, Cambridge

Approx: 10:00 am – 11:30 am

 

Site Context

The application site (Abbeygate House) occupies a prominent corner plot fronting East Road to the south east. Immediately to the north and north east of the site is Crispin Place and adjacent to the east and north is the Grafton shopping centre. The site lies within the Grafton Area of Major Change. As existing the ground floor is currently occupied by British Heart Foundation (use class A1) with first and second floors in office use (Class B1a).

 

The site lies outside of the Conservation Area. The site lies in an Air Quality Management Area.

 

The Pre Application Proposal

The pre application proposal is for a mixed use scheme which would provide a retail use (A1) at the ground floor with office space (B1a) on the upper floors. The proposed development would involve 3 storeys with a roof garden at the south of the application site which then gradually steps up towards the north of the site to a ground plus four and five storey building.

 

Planning Policy Context

The Grafton Area SPD (adopted December 2018) identifies the application site as an area for retail at ground floor level and residential development (including student accommodation) and/ or office use as a complementary use at upper floors. The site lies within a primary shopping area in the city centre meaning thatpolicies 10 and 11 of the Cambridge Local Plan 2018 are also relevant.

 

Policy 12 (Fitzroy/Burleigh Street/Grafton Area of Major Change) states that the Council will coordinate the production of a masterplan for the area, bringing together the scheme promoter, other landowners, Cambridgeshire County Council and other relevant stakeholders. The indicative land use masterplan within the Grafton SPD (Figure 36) shows the use of the upper floors on this site as residential (including student accommodation) and or/ office as a complementary use. Paragraph 4.3.20 states that in the long-term, opportunities could exist to incorporate commercial office space on upper floors as a secondary use, as part of a residential led, mixed use development.

 

The existing upper floors of the building on the application site are currently used for office space. Therefore, Policy 40 (development and expansion of business space) and policy 41 (protection of business space) of the Cambridge Local Plan 2018 are relevant in the assessment of the proposed development. Policy 40 promotes the development and expansion of new office space in the city centre and policy 41 seeks to prevent the loss of any existing employment uses within the City.

 

Public consultation has taken place in the form of flyer drops, physical exhibition at the Grafton Centre, dedicated website, dedicated phoneline, online exhibition and surveys.

The application has been reviewed by Cambridge City Council’s Design and Conservation Panel twice. The scheme received a green light verdict from the panel at the meeting on 13th May 2020.

 

Areas of focus

-  Overall design approach- layout, access arrangements, scale and massing

-  Proposed office use

-  Sustainability

-  Transport

Minutes:

Meeting minutes 

 

1) Developer Team Introduction to the site-  

Legal and General are carrying out significant research to determine how much space is needed for office use. Believe the office market and space is still needed in Cambridge.   

Key elements discussed within the Developer Teams Presentation: 

·  Streetscene responses 

·  Entrance spaces and access points 

·  Floorplans  

·  Sections  

·  Compatibility with SPD requirements  

·  Shadow study results (impact on Staffordshire Garden properties)  

·  Key elevations  

·  Materials proposed  

·  Crispin Place and Burleigh Place proposals- Screening and fins.  

·  Landscaping: improve the surfacing around the site, visitor cycle parking, widen the pavements, resurfacing Burleigh Place.  

·  Habitat improvements  

·  Transport- Mott Macdonald comments: Only small vans are proposed to use Burleigh Place- no large delivery vehiclesRefuse collection on Crispin PlaceVehicle tracking/ HGV details to be submitted with the formal application. Cycle parking proposals are policy compliant.  

·  Sustainability  

 

2) Members Questions 

 

Cllr Thornburrow- 

1) How has the improvement of the public realm at street level been considered, particularly the SPD stated opportunity to create a boulevard? The trees along East Rd are all part of the hotel scheme. 

? 

Developer Comments: 

- East Road works extend beyond Abbeygate House site- Requirement and contribution to trees along East Road. Tree locations to come forward under Section 278 agreement (to be agreed by County and City Council).  

-Landscape proposals for greening coming forward as part of this scheme 

- Enhancing the existing trees that already exist.   

- Resurfacing of Burleigh Place and Crispin Place corner junction are public realm improvements.  

 

2) How is?the risk to overheating being dealt with? 

Developer Comments: 

To be covered in the Sustainability information to be submitted with the formal application.  

? 

3) What water saving measures are being considered? 

Developer Comments: 

- BREEAM excellent to be achieved.  

 

Councillor Paige Croft  

 

4) Shadow study please show existing results in the formal submission 

Developer Comments: 

- To be included in the submission of the daylight sunlight assessment 

5) Lack of disabled car parking? 

Developer Comments: 

- Believe 1 space is sufficient. Blue badge spaces in close proximity to Adam and Eve street (disabled bays- 100m from access to Abbeygate House)  

 

Councillor Baigent 

6) Cars mounting the pavement is an issue in Cambridge. Would it be possible to usthe bike racks as a barrier along the kerb line. 

David Allatt (Transport Assessment team manager) comments 

The County Council Highway engineer would assess the safety details- want to make sure the proposals do not cause highway safety problems.  

7) Panels to be used for light reflection/ overheating?  

Developer comments: 

- Introduce PV to glazing- where panels are introduced (north facing not particularly exposed to regular sunlight) PV to be used on the roof (technology not ready for the glazing to be PV)  

 

Councillor Green 

9) Residents have raised concerns regarding Noise pollution, Flood water, Sunlight. How will these be addressed?  

Developer Comments:  

Full details and suite of documents to be submitted to address all technical matters.  

10) Landscape – Statement and full details to be submitted as part of formal submission. Rational for different types of planting.  

Developer Comments:  

Confirmed these details would be included in the submission.  

10) Would have preferred to see it set back further from East Road (for more spacious active frontage and a better active frontage/ public realm). Too bigger block to be this close to the road.  

Developer Comments: 

Continuing the existing building line is necessary- as existing there is a very strong building line and it would not be appropriate to change this character and urban frontage. The pavement will be wider following changes to East Road through the Highway Works. Scale and massing compliments the hotel and creates an enclosure to this space and relates well to the surrounding context 

13) Burleigh Place treatment- it would be better to have a complete resurfacing of Burleigh Street and Burleigh Place secured through S106 rather than contrast in materials.  

LPA comments 

Any works secured by this application has to be directly related to the development and being fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development.