Slightly later than anticipated, developers submitted planning application 12/1622/FUL for the cycle park at the railway station in early February, along with the hotel and shops which form part of the same building. The deadline for comments was 5 March. The application also included the demolition of the existing buildings in the affected area.
There was nothing unexpected in the application. Our comments (see www.camcycle.org.uk/images/blog/M13002-12-1622-FUL.pdf) expressed enthusiastic support for the scheme. We did ask for a number of conditions to be included. These were mostly to ensure that assurances that have been made already are carried through in practice. These were to:
- manage the disabled and unusual bike spaces so they aren’t monopolised by ordinary cyclists;
- make sure the design really does offer a potential link to the station bridge (partly to make sure the issue is on the agenda). We didn’t think it would be possible to get this link as part of the planning application, but we would press for it to be included in the franchising process in 2015;
- limit the number of paid-for spaces so we don’t see a repeat of what happened at the Grand Arcade cycle park where half the spaces were lost;
- make sure opening hours cover all the trains, whether on time or not;
- get a properly recognised route through the new square to be built in front of the station.
Given what we have already been told, we would be surprised if the developers or rail operator had problems with these conditions.
The county council made surprisingly few observations on the application, notably the lack of a lift (which we think could be cheaply solved by linking to the bridge in the station with its existing lift), and minor details about doors and construction arrangements. Taxis drivers seem to be trying to use the application as a means to avoid having to use the new road and continue to use Station Road. There have been numerous objections to the appearance of the new building and against the demolition of existing buildings (which are part of the listed building status of the station).
Cycle parking at the station has been a source of massive frustration for all cyclists who use the station over decades. Having enough cycle parking at the station is critical to cycling in Cambridge so we really hope the application will be approved soon and construction can start quickly.