Much to welcome
We do not object to the principle of densifying the West Cambridge Site. And there is much to welcome in the University's May 2015 illustrative revised master plan - for example the reduction in surface car parking and the creation (when the Veterinary School is eventually re-located) of an east-west green pedestrian and cycle way through the site.
We also welcome the
inclusion, in the October 2015 illustrative master plan, of a new green space
(marked A in the plan below) to be created in the Vet School area when that is
re-developed. But that is jam tomorrow, because it will be at least ten years
before the Vet School site is re-developed. And the green space proposed is much
smaller than the East Paddock.
The bad news
The bad news is that in its October 2015 master plan the University still proposes to build all over the East Paddock: the northern three quarters for the new Cavendish Laboratory (marked B in the plan below) and the southern quarter for a new shared used building for Physics and Engineering (marked C in the plan below).
The battle to be won: move the shared use building!
While we accept that there may be compelling technical reasons for siting the new Cavendish Laboratory in the location proposed (B), we do not see any compelling reasons for siting the shared use building in the location shown (C). We think it is outrageous to build on this last remaining part of the East Paddock, when the shared use building could be readily re-located elsewhere and so much of West Cambridge Site is undeveloped or used for car parking.
The shared use building could, for example, be located slightly further south on the site marked D in the plan above. The building earmarked for D could be re-located to one of the unallocated sites slightly to the west.
This adjustment to the
master plan would result in a slight reduction in the amount of commercial space
planned for the western part of the West Cambridge Site - but that is a small
price to pay for preserving the last remaining part of the East Paddock as green
A green heart for the campus
If the shared use building were moved away from the East Paddock, the result would be two linked green spaces, creating a green heart for the academic campus. The first of these green spaces, the southern quarter of the East Paddock (marked C), could be created immediately. The second linked green space (marked A) would follow in ten to fifteen years time when the Vet School is re-developed.