16.6.17. University of
Cambridge submits revised West Cambridge Site master plan proposals for planning
approval. The submission includes a much larger central green space than
proposed in their original May 2015 proposals. Most of this green space would be
provided on land released when the Veterinary School site is re-developed in ten
to fifteen years time.
5.11.15. Cambridge City Council have published the minutes of the developer briefing of 9.9.15, described below. The minutes record that one of the points raised by Councillors was: 'The proposed new master plan appears to lack a large strategic open space'. The minutes record the following response from the representatives of the University:
- A new
urban park will be provided at Storeys Field, on the North West Cambridge
Development, a walk of only ten minutes.
- The North West Cambridge Development offers amenity for West Cambridge.
- There is no need for a new major primary open space.
- The master plan is employment led and appropriate for future occupiers.
In our view this response from the University is totally inadequate. The University intends that over 10,000 people will eventually be working or living on the West Cambridge Site. It is outrageous to say of this scale of development - equivalent to a small town - 'there is no need for a new major primary open space'.
The University response is also seriously misleading. The statement that Storeys Field is only a ten minute walk from the West Cambridge Site does not stand up to examination. At the average normal walking speed of 3.1 mph, the closest point in the West Cambridge Site is indeed about 9 minutes walk from Storeys Field. But this neglects waiting time to cross the Madingley Road, and the fact that the West Cambridge Site is about three quarters of a mile across. So from the further parts of the West Cambridge Site the walking time to Storeys Field would be over 20 minutes, plus waiting time to cross Madingley Road. By contrast if a green space were to be created by preserving part of the East Paddock, the walking time to it from the furthest parts of the West Cambridge Site would be less than 10 minutes, and the average walking time would be less than 5 minutes.
The impression left by the University's response is that having created a pleasant environment north of the Madingley Road they can treat the West Cambridge Site as a poor relation - a kind of industrial estate, on the other side of the tracks. We suggest that this is not right, and that the University should in its own interests make the West Cambridge Site a pleasant environment in its own right. The new faculty buildings on the site, on which hundreds of millions of pounds will be spent, surely deserve a decent green space alongside them.
9.9.15. Cambridge University presented a developer briefing to City Councillors. Their revised master plan proposal has been modified to provide a larger green space within the Veterinary School part of the site. Elsewhere their revised master plan remains unchanged. Although the enlarged green space is welcome, it is part of Phase 2 and is dependent on the re-development of the Veterinary School - which the University explain will be at an uncertain date at least ten years hence. We will continue to urge that, in addition to this future green space on the re-developed Veterinary School site, significant green space should be provided in Phase 1 by sparing from development the southern part of the East Paddock not needed for the new Cavendish Laboratory.
Following the presentation, Alex Reid wrote on 11th September on behalf of the East Paddock campaign to Prof. Jeremy Sanders, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Institutional Affairs as follows:
Thank you very much for your time at our meeting on 20th July. I am writing to update you on our campaign to save at least part of the East Paddock and turn it into a park. Since we met, the number of supporters of our campaign has passed 300, more than 100 of whom (including 14 professors) work on the West Cambridge Site. The supporters are listed at www.eastpaddock.com. We have also added pages to the website on planning policy, and on research evidence for the benefits of urban parks.
At its presentation to City Councillors two days ago the University presented a modified illustrative master plan, which contained the welcome inclusion of a significant green space within the Vet School site when it is eventually re-developed. However it was explained that the re-development of the Vet School is at least ten years away, so this benefit is in the somewhat dim distant future.
The illustrative master plan still involves building immediately over the northern three quarters of the East Paddock (for the Cavendish Laboratory) and over the southern quarter (for a Shared Use building). While we reluctantly accept that there are no practical alternatives to the proposed site for the Cavendish, we believe that the remaining southern quarter of the East Paddock should be built over only if that is completely unavoidable. We have heard no argument that this is the case.
There are surely alternatives to placing the Shared Use building on the East Paddock. We suggest for example that it could be moved a short distance to the plot immediately east of the Institute for Manufacturing (currently designated for the Scale Up building) with the Scale Up building being placed immediately west of the Institute for Manufacturing on what is at present car parking.
I think that the supporters of our campaign, and councillors on the planning committee, will find it astonishing that the University proposes to build over the last remaining green space in the East Paddock when it has the alternative of building over a car park.
Please be assured that our supporters are putting forward these arguments not out of antagonism to the University, but because we believe the preservation of the southern quarter of the East Paddock, together with the proposed future open space on the Vet School site, will produce an exemplary academic campus of which the University and the city can be truly proud.
9.8.15. Number of supporters of East Paddock project passes 300, including more than 100 living or working on the West Cambridge Site.
17.7.15. Cambridge News publishes article headlined: 'Campaign aims to turn East Paddock on the West Cambridge development into a four-acre park'.
8.7.15. Number of supporters of East Paddock project passes 200, including seven more Cambridge Councillors.
22.6.15. Number of supporters of the East Paddock project passes 100, including all four local Councillors.
8.6.15. Website is launched at www.eastpaddock.com to support the proposal that four acres of the East Paddock should be preserved and turned into a park.
21.5.15. Proposals for densification of the West Cambridge Site, with illustrative master plan, published in the Cambridge University Reporter. Click here: http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/reporter/2014-15/weekly/6387/section6.shtml#heading2-11
18.5.15. Presentation to Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry of the University's proposals for densification of the West Cambridge Site, with illustrative master plan. Concern expressed in Q&A at absence of substantial green space.