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16 May, 2018 - 14:52 By Kate Sweeney

Strong level of support for city regeneration plan

Cambridge University, together with Pembroke, Darwin and Queens’ Colleges have revealed a strong level of support for their plans to regenerate the Old Press/Mill Lane area.

During March and April, a full public consultation was held on their proposals for a masterplan that will transform an important quarter of the city and draws residents, students and visitors into the area. 

The masterplan was originally called for in the city council’s Supplementary Planning Document of 2010 and includes the creation of new areas of public open space on the riverfront and provides exciting retail and leisure opportunities.

The consultation included two days of public exhibitions held at the University Centre on Granta Place in late March. Key members of the project team were present to answer any questions about the scheme, and it gave the opportunity to feed back to the university and the colleges on the proposals – including key aspects such as the creation of public open space on the riverfront through the demolition of the Laundress Lane Warehouse.

The results of the feedback have shown that there has been strong support in general for the proposals. In responding to the consultation questionnaire, 95 per cent felt that the exhibition had been useful, with 90 per cent agreeing that regeneration of the area was important. 

Importantly, having reviewed the plans, 79 per cent of respondents wanted to see the creation of a new area of public open space through the removal of the Laundress Lane Warehouse – this option was first reviewed in the 2010 Supplementary Planning Document that called for a masterplan. 

In addition, although in the city council’s control not the University’s, 81 per cent supported the removal of the boatshed on Granta Place – both of these proposals open up public access to the river and significantly improve views over Coe Fen.

Duncan Maskell, the university’s senior pro-vice-chancellor, said: “We are very pleased that, overall, the proposals in the Masterplan were supported by 77 per cent of respondents. This is a very high number for regeneration projects and reflects the public and stakeholders’ desire to see high quality regeneration of the area.”

This masterplan, which sets out general development parameters, will be followed by full planning applications that provide more detail around traffic control and architectural treatment. 

The first of these full applications will come from Pembroke College later this year and will provide more details about the block bounded by Mill Lane and Little St Mary’s Lane.

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