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Agenda item

20/03429/FUL 104 - 112 Hills Road Cambridge Cambridgeshire


Councillor McQueen did not take part in the debate or vote on the application.


The Committee received an application for full planning permission.


The application sought approval for (1) the demolition of Betjeman House, Broadcasting House, Ortona House, Francis House, and the rear multi-storey carpark to Francis House, together with existing refuse and cycle stores; to allow for construction of two new commercial buildings of five and seven storeys respectively, providing flexible B1(a), B1(b), A1, A2, A3 uses on the ground floor and Class B1(a) and B1(b) on the upper floors; - (2) the construction of basement with mezzanine level to provide for building services, cycle parking and car parking for the proposed commercial buildings, cycle and car parking spaces for Botanic House and services for Flying Pig Public House; - (3) the refurbishment of the Flying Pig Public House at 106 Hills Road, including demolition of part single/part two storey outrigger and single storey store, alterations to elevations, construction of extension to enable level access and layout pub garden; - (4) creation of new public realm and landscaping, incorporating segregated vehicular and cycle access from Hills Road, a new access to service areas and substations, and taxi drop off for both the development proposed and existing Botanic House


The Consultant Planner updated his report by referring to updated condition wording on the Amendment Sheet.


The Committee received a representation in objection to the application from a resident of Cambridge. The Committee Manager read a written statement:

  i.  In late November 2020, the Applicant modified their planning application. Raised concerns about the changes as a concerned local resident, but some of these comments were not published on the planning portal, due to Council technical issues.

  ii.  A new technical fault with the portal in 2021 made it difficult to view the application. (Was able to access other websites, and the planning portal until 2021.)

  iii.  Raised these problems respectively with PlanningComments@greatercambridgeplanning.org on 7 Dec 2020 and with planning@greatercambridgeplanning.org on 25 Feb 2021, but only received acknowledgements of the faults, not explanations or solutions. Queried how many other constituents were affected.

  iv.  There were many reasons to reject this application. The fact that online commenting and scrutiny were not possible for some locals due to Council technical faults, while offline engagement difficult through COVID, was itself reason enough to reject the application.

  v.  Requested postponing this hearing until the portal was fixed and backlogged comments from 2020 and 2021 published.

The Committee received a representation in objection to the application from a resident of Lyndewode Road:

  i.  The development was expected to be a mixed-use development of offices and houses. At some point this was lost.

  ii.  This site was in the local plan.

  iii.  Housing was expensive in the City.

  iv.  The Applicant had not responded to the City Council’s questions about houses so officers appeared to have removed details from the housing trajectory. Sixty-one affordable homes were deleted from the scheme.


The Committee received a representation in objection to the application from a resident of Golding Road:

  i.  Expressed concern that the number of additional job figures and commuter trip figures appeared not to tally.

  ii.  A wholly non-residential scheme was unsuitable for the site.

  iii.  Queried why offices were included in the application instead of housing.

  iv.  The scale of the application was better suited to London than Cambridge.

  v.  The viability of the Flying Pig pub was not demonstrated. This application would make the pub unviable.


The Committee received a representation in objection to the application from a resident of Vinter Terrace:

  i.  Expressed concern about lack of housing.

  ii.  Housing was required, but not more office space as the City had enough already.

  iii.  Five years has been requested to undertake building work. This was too long and would impact on Hills Road residents. Eighteen months was more reasonable.

  iv.  Expressed concern about the design of the building front.


Mr Bainbridge (Applicant’s Agent) addressed the Committee in support of the application.


Councillor Robertson (Ward Councillor) addressed the Committee about the application:

  i.  The site was in a prominent location and needed a better design.

  ii.  Suggested the application did not comply with policies 28, 55, 56, 57, 59, 60 and 61 in the 2018 Local Plan.

a.  The site was in a Conservation Area and needed to demonstrate more public benefit than harm.

b.  The design was unattractive and did not suit the character of the area.

c.  Retention of the Flying Pig pub was welcome, but it would look odd when surrounded by office buildings.

  iii.  This was a change of use application on extant permission. The Applicant was no longer building homes in a mixed-use development. The Applicant should not be allowed to drop housing from the site.

  iv.  The first iteration of the application was submitted in 2005. The current application was trying to return to the [refused] design of 2007 which had buildings that were too tall.

  v.  Extant permission was granted 2007, the 2018 Local Plan has higher specifications which were not being met by the current design. The design maybe better than that allowed under extant permission, but it did not meet 2018 Local Plan policies, so should not be approved.


Councillor Davey (Ward Councillor) addressed the Committee about the application:

  i.  The application did not meet Local Plan policies 57, 58, 62 and 76 relating to scale, massing and architectural value.

  ii.  Retention of the Flying Pig pub was welcome but it would look out of context. Please do so in a sensitive manner. The pub could be made unviable by 20/03429/FUL. It was viable at present.


Councillor Summerbell (Ward Councillor) addressed the Committee about the application:

  i.  20/03429/FUL had some architectural merits such as meeting BREEAM standards.

  ii.  In order to ensure the site was viable as an office location, the merits of having parking on site versus none had to be weighed up.

  iii.  The proposal was better than the impact of what could be implemented under extant permission, but the Committee had to judge if it also met 2018 Local Plan standards.

  iv.  Residents were concerned about:

a.  Impact of 20/03429/FUL on the Botanic Garden.

b.  Height of proposed buildings.

c.  The loss of the Flying Pig pub.

  i.  Victorian buildings were increasingly rare in the City and should be protected.

  ii.  A community had grown up around it.

  iii.  Residents were desperate to get back to the pub and use it as a music venue. No alternative venues were available if the pub closed to allow construction of 20/03429/FUL, so it would be unlikely to re-establish itself as a music scene contributor/venue having closed for construction of 20/03429/FUL.

  v.  Asked the Committee to impose conditions so the Flying Pig could remain viable:

a.  Protect the pub structure and repair any damage caused during the construction of 20/03429/FUL.

b.  Mitigate the loss of venue. Suggest access to s106 funding (as per the Joiner’s Arms pub funding award). Funding to be scaled for the length of Flying Pig pub closure.

c.  Provision made for rapid restoration of Flying Pig pub as a viable business such as 18 months free of rent.


Following member debate, officers tabled the following revised recommendations:


Grant planning permission subject to:

(i)  the prior completion of an Agreement under s106 TCPA 1990 with delegated authority to officers (in consultation with the Chair, Vice-Chair & Spokes) to negotiate and complete such an Agreement on the terms set out below including terms covering appropriate financial mitigation provisions for the Flying Pig which will contribute to its viability, its possible relocation to alternative premises for the period of its closure during construction of the development and other terms considered appropriate to make the development acceptable in planning terms including:

a.  fixtures and fittings, apart from personal belongings of the existing tenant/s, shall be surveyed/recorded, protected and reinstated, to maintain the internal character of the Flying Pig Public House

b.  the Flying Pig Public House is to be fitted out internally by the applicant to allow full commercial operation including residential occupation

c.  the provision of a free to use electric bicycle (minimum 50 bicycles) scheme for tenants within the building

d.  a car Parking Management Strategy to secure access by EVs only

e.  Secure a financial contribution of £500,000 towards Station Road/Hills Road junction improvements; and

(ii)  delegated authority to officers to include as part of the decision notice and in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (EIA) Regulations 2017, Regulation 29 ‘information to accompany decisions’ a reasoned conclusion of the significant effects of the development on the environment and to carry out appropriate notification under Regulation 30 accordingly; and

(iii)  including delegated authority to officers to include any minor drafting changes to the following conditions including those detailed in the Amendment Sheet.

The amended officer recommendation was lost unanimously (7 votes to 0). Councillor McQueen did not take part in the vote as she joined the Committee during the discussion.


Members provided officers with a list of ‘minded to refuse’ reasons to refuse the application. There was a short adjournment whilst officers drafted full reasons for refusal. On return from the adjournment Members were provided with the full text of the minded to refuse reasons voting unanimously (by 7 votes to 0) to approve all three reasons for refusal.


The Committee:


Resolved (unanimously 7 votes to 0)to refuse the application contrary to the Officer recommendation for the following reasons:


1.  The site is located within the Station Areas West and Clifton Road Area of Major Change which seeks to support the continued and complete regeneration of mixed-use areas of the city. Site M44 is allocated for mixed use development including residential use. The proposed development fails to provide residential dwellings and therefore, does not provide an appropriate mix of uses within this Area of Major Change contrary to policy 21 of the Cambridge Local Plan 2018.

2.  The proposed development by virtue of its siting, massing, height, scale and design would appear as an incongruous addition to the streetscene and cause an undue sense of enclosure significantly reducing the openness of the Botanic Garden, to the detriment of the character of the area. Furthermore, it fails to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the New Town and Glisson Road Conservation Area or preserve the setting of the Botanic Garden. The harm caused by the proposed development amounts to less than substantial harm however, the public benefits do not outweigh this harm. The proposed development is therefore contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework and policies 55, 56, 57, 61 and 67 of the Cambridge Local Plan 2018.

3.  Insufficient information has been provided to demonstrate that the proposed development would not adversely affect the viability of the Flying Pig public house contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework and parts (d) and (e) of policy 76 of the Cambridge Local Plan 2018.

Supporting documents: