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18/0806/FUL | Residential development containing 14 flats comprising 8 x 2-bed units and 6 x 1-bed units, along with access, car parking and associated landscaping following demolition of the existing buildings. | 291 Hills Road Cambridge CB2 8RP

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  • Total Consulted: 123
  • Comments Received: 17
  • Objections: 17
  • Supporting: 0
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23 Queen Ediths Way Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB1 7PH (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Wed 20 Jun 2018

We received notification about the new planning application for 291 Hills Road. Having looked at the new plan we have come to the conclusion that everything we stated in our objections to planning application 17/1372/FUL still applies, so we herewith reiterate our previous concerns:

1. The proposed site has a harmful effect on the character and appearance of the surrounding area.

2. The neighbourhood does not need more flats. There is absolutely no case for demolishing "Raylands". It is a real shame that perfectly habitable family homes are being demolished and replaced by eye-sores, such as what happened to 21 and 21A Queen Edith's Way, our neighbours.

3. The proposed access to the site from Queen Edith's Way is dangerous.

On the basis of the above, the new application still fails to meet the relevant criteria and should be refused planning permission.

Sun House
23 Queen Edith's Way
Cambridge CB1 7PH

234 Queen Ediths Way Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB1 8NL (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Mon 18 Jun 2018

I object to this application, which has been cynically reduced in scope by one apartment, so that the developer can avoid the legal obligation to provide much needed affordable housing.

The proposed development is still completely out of context with the surrounding mature housing in the Queen Edith's Way and Hills Road area. Despite assurances to the contrary from the Highways Department (which seems to be in a permanent state of denial) there will inevitably be an adverse effect on traffic flow at the nearby extremely busy and important junction, near to Addenbrookes Hospital. There is little or no provision for visitor parking. Finally, mature trees on the site will be felled with no alternative planting in the proposal.

1 Pearson Court Milton Cambridge CB24 6YR (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Sun 17 Jun 2018

My objections to this application (18/0806/FUL) are very similar to my objections to the very similar 17/1372/FUL. I find it quite amazing that the developer has the cheek to submit a vaguely revised application so soon after the initial application was rejected. I can only presume they hope that those who objected to the first application will be too overwhelmed to repeatedly object if there are repeated applications and the council eventually will just cave in owing to a lack of resources.

The only improvement in the plan is in respect of cycle parking, which has now been removed from the basement down a steep ramp and placed on the ground floor. I am however concerned that it is planned for bicycles to have to traverse a 90 degree bend to get to the cycle stands, which do appear to be placed correctly. I fear that this may make accessibility to those who are less fit difficult as manoeuvring a bicycle around this corner and then into the stand may be difficult for some. I also note there is still no provision for non-standard bicycles, such as cargo cycles, which are common in Cambridge. For any resident who wishes to live car-free, as the nearest supermarket is some distance away, a cargo bike may be a very sensible way to achieve car-free living. Unless such a resident is allowed to use their allocated car parking space for such a vehicle, they cannot own one as there is nowhere secure to park it.

As for the rest of the design, my informal comments are as follows:

1) there is no case for demolishing this fine Edwardian house which is in keeping with the neighbourhood. This will adversely affect the area as a whole and is contrary to the Local Plan. The proposed replacement is much larger, and taller to the extent that it could be described as overbearing, and although the revised plans attempt to harmonise with some features of the existing house, this is insufficient and certainly will not harmonise with the neighbouring houses. For example, there is no mention of the white painted window frames which are a charming feature of every other dwelling along Hills Road.

2) Loss of trees. This area of the city is relatively pleasant as, although the roads are busy and too narrow for trees owned by the council, most gardens lining the roads have many mature trees in their gardens. This loss of trees on this pleasant green corner where I often hear birds when waiting at the traffic lights contradicts the safeguarding of the environmental character provisions of the Local Plan. I would also add, loss of the hedgerows that the developer dismisses as scrub or unkempt - this is valuable wildlife habitat in an inner city location. Were Raylands to be renovated and even subdivided into a suitable number of flats, there would be no need to remove trees or hedgerows. These trees and hedgerows will also soak up pollution at this congested junction. As I have to sit in a traffic jam every day waiting for a green light at this junction, this will personally have an adverse effect on me as well as every other user of this junction.

3) Effects on traffic, both by increasing traffic from the proposed development and affecting traffic by access to the site at this busy junction where, at peak times, a large proportion is vulnerable road users. This also contradicts the Local Plan. The entrance is also just yards from a busy junction, just where traffic is accelerating away from the traffic lights.

4) If this application were to succeed, the effect while construction was in progress on this busy junction, both in terms of traffic congestion and safety of the large numbers of cyclists who traverse this junction each day, cannot be underestimated. I assume if the council sees fit to allow this totally unsuitable development, they will put in strict conditions over traffic movements to do with the building site and enforce the parking reguations.

Therefore my formal grounds for objection to this development are:

a) There is no case for demolishing "Raylands" (section 5/4 of CLP 2006)

b) The plans do not safeguard environmental character (section 3/3 of CLP 2006) (loss of trees, hedges and shrubs)

c) The application doesn't respond to the local context (section 3/4 of CLP 2006) (total lack of harmony with neighbouring buildings)

d) A negative impact on the local setting (section 3/12 of CLP 2006)

e) Damage to trees (section 4/4 of CLP 2006)

f) Unacceptable transport impact (section 8/2 of CLP 2006) (effects on current traffic and contributions to traffic increase)

g) Adverse effects on health and the environment (section 4/13 of CLP 2006) (increasing congestion will lead to more pollution)

24 Baldock Way Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB1 7UX (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Fri 15 Jun 2018

Despite the changes to the application, which seem mainly to avoid having to include affordable housing, the latest version continues to have several aspects which are fundamentally unacceptable for the location.
1. The existing house connects visually with other houses nearby and, although not a listed building, is a significant element of the historic built environment of Hills Road. A better approach would be to re-purpose and/or adapt the existing building. A successful example of such an approach is the EF Language School at 221 Hills Road. Demolition is unnecessary and the proposed replacement buildings would not fit with the other houses nearby.
2. The removal of most of the trees on the property is totally at odds with attempts to improve air quality and to enhance the natural environment in South Cambridge. The Hills Road/Queen Edith's Road junction has one of the highest air pollution counts in the city. Trees are effective in removing pollutants from the air, as well as providing a pleasant visual element. The necessary excavation works to create a basement are also likely to damage the roots and growing conditions of the few trees left.
3. This is one of the most unsuitable locations imaginable in Cambridge to increase the number of vehicle parking spaces, and hence vehicle movements. This is a very busy junction and will become more so with the growth of the biomedical campus and Addenbrookes site.
To summarise: this is the wrong kind of development in the wrong place and I cannot imagine anyone supporting it other than those who seek to profit financially.

11 Alwyne Road Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB1 8RR (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Tue 12 Jun 2018

I think this application should be refused, as it could cause extra traffic problems on this busy corner with all the extra cars coming and going on this corner to the proposed new building.

Regards G L Sandell

77 Hartington Grove Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB1 7UB (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Thu 07 Jun 2018

There has been a minor adjustment to the proposal rejected by the Planning Committee, though surprisingly supported by the Council Planners. This adjustment does nothing to answer the Committee's objections - viz. inadequate accommodation, overdevelopment at a key site, insufficient parking for cars or cycles, additional hazards and pollution at a vital junction, environmental degradation through loss of trees and habitat.
The developers go on submitting slightly modified proposals, doing as little as possible for affordable housing and - if told to do more, protesting that the scheme is only viable on their terms. The Council has enough evidence of these manoeuvres to send this proposal the way of the last one. If the Council Planners support it, they are clearly more friends of the developers than friends of Cambridge.

15 Almoners Avenue Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB1 8NZ (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Tue 05 Jun 2018

The proposed building is out of keeping with neighbouring properties built in early 20th century.
The design of the new building is out of keeping with the neighbourhood, where red brick predominates.
The number of dwellings (flats) proposed is too high in the proposed floor area. Larger family homes are needed in this area near Cambridge City Centre and the Medical Campus.
The property is situated on a dangerous corner, crossing Hills Road, Long Road and Queen Edith's Way. At present the entrance is on Hills Road, where traffic is slowly approaching traffic lights. The proposed entrance for a minimum of 14 vehicles and unknown number of bicycles is in Queen Edith's Way where all traffic is accelerating as it emerges from the crossing and an acute corner. The proposed entrance in Queen Edith's Way is dangerous.
The vehicles and pedestrians emerging from the building site at 3/5 Queen Edith's Way already cause difficulties and that is further away from the corner where No 291 is situated.
I object to the demolition of the present building.

248 Hills Road Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB2 8QE (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Mon 04 Jun 2018

I understand the drive for more housing units for the rapidly growing biomedical campus, but we need solutions which provide more housing units whilst retaining the Hills Road street scene of large detached and semi-detached houses from the early years of the 20th Century.

Past, Present & Future commented on the planning application for 291 Hills Road: "There is no justification included in the application as to why the building is not capable of being retained and reused. The wholesale demolition of a viable building is not only wasteful, but is a poor use of embodied energy and resources."

Cambridge City Council Urban Design wrote: "It is unclear from the submitted Design and Access statement whether options were explored to retain, convert and extend the existing building. The EF International Language Campus at 221 Hills Road provides a good example of where an existing building was retained with a contemporary extension added."

In fact, the EF development won two RIBA Regional Awards and a Cambridge Design and Construction Award in recognition of its contribution to the buildings and townscape of the City of Cambridge.

There have been several examples of Hills Road properties which have been converted into flats or student housing, including:

185 and 187 Hills Road: converted into flats

189 Hills Road: now a Hall of Residence

285/287 Hills Road: the two houses owned by Emmanuel College accommodate 29 students and are used by clinical medical students working on the Addenbrookes site and PGCE students based at the Faculty of Education.

In conclusion, I would like to see Raylands retained as a family home or converted into flats.

1 Stansgate Avenue Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB2 0QZ (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Mon 04 Jun 2018

Grounds for objection

There is no case for demolishing "Raylands" (section 5/4 of CLP 2006)
This is the most important issue! The house has been continuously occupied as a family home since 1913, has interesting architectural features and is perfectly habitable. The developer hasn't explored options to retain, convert and extend the building, which could remain a large family home or be converted into flats.

The plans do not safeguard environmental character (section 3/3 of CLP 2006)
The landscape plan only keeps 12 trees out of a total of 29 trees, with the felling of large trees and the loss of hedges and shrubs. There are no specific plans for replacement.
The application doesn't respond to the local context (section 3/4 of CLP 2006)

The development of a very large modern block of flats doesn't fit in with the Hills Road Character Area, which is one of detached and semi-detached villas from the early decades of the 20th century. The proposal doesn't harmonise with the period style of the four neighbours, with warm red bricks and white painted window frames.
A negative impact on the local setting (section 3/12 of CLP 2006)

A number of planning applications in the Hills Road area calling for the demolition of period detached properties and their replacement with flats or other forms of over- development have been rejected by the Planning Committee. Instead properties have been refurbished, extended or replaced with sympathetic moderately sized houses.

Damage to trees (section 4/4 of CLP 2006)
The excavation of the basement will lower the water table and probably damage tree roots. Also, the use of heavy earth moving equipment on a confined site would inevitably harm the few trees which are not being felled.
Adverse effects on health and the environment (section 4/13 of CLP 2006)

Adding to traffic congestion, caused by stationary vehicles at the busy Hills Road/Queen Edith's Way junction, and further increasing noise and air pollution.

Unacceptable transport impact (section 8/2 of CLP 2006)
In 1990 a proposal to develop the same property was refused on traffic grounds. This development with 17 car parking spaces, right next to a busy junction, will have an unacceptable impact on traffic congestion, pollution and accidents.

Kind regards

29 Urwin Gardens Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB2 0AP (Objects)

Comment submitted date: Sun 03 Jun 2018

I object to this application on the following grounds:

1. The house, which is on the market as a family home, does not need to be demolished.
2. The planned replacement, which is not in keeping with adjacent properties, will have a negative impact on the immediate location, and a detrimental effect on the wider community as it loses yet another building of character.
3. A development with 17 car parking spaces will have an unacceptable impact on the local traffic problems, already well documented. The site is right next to a busy junction which compounds the problem.
4. The local environment - already suffering from pollution from traffic congestion - cannot afford the loss of more than half the trees on the site. Further, damage will inevitably be caused to the remaining trees by the compaction of the ground during construction. The close-up protection given to retained trees during construction does not prevent damage to roots further away.

This type of development must not be permitted. We cannot have new homes built at any cost to the local environment. The profit from this development would be paid for by the people who live in this area.

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