Planning Committee decision on cycle parking at The Junction

This article was published in 2003, in Newsletter 50.

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We have had some success in our efforts to obtain on-site cycle parking for users of The Junction, which is about to be expanded to provide space for the Cambridge Drama Centre. The Drama Centre is to move in 2004 from its current location in Covent Garden to The Junction’s site. Both The Junction and the whole Cattle Market development next to it are on Council-owned land.

As reported in Newsletter 49, the architects in their application for planning permission proposed to remove all the existing cycle parking for members of the general public on The Junction site. The plan was that cyclists would have to use the grossly insufficient amount of cycle parking to be provided on the adjacent Cattle Market development. We sent in an objection asking the Council to apply its own Local Plan cycle parking standards, which require specified numbers of on-site cycle parking spaces to be provided near the main entrances of new buildings.

Construction work at The Junction site.
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Since then the application for Planning Permission has been twice modified to take account of our objection. The application which came before the Planning Committee on 3 September proposed that the present number of cycle parking stands for the general public should be kept and not removed as had previously been suggested. In addition another 66 cycle parking spaces would be provided.

When we spoke at the Planning Committee meeting we welcomed the change but argued that both the quantity and the quality of the cycle parking to be provided were still not sufficient to meet the Council’s own standards. The 66 new spaces were allocated for users of the new 200-seat auditorium (one for every three seats). But no cycle parking spaces at all were to be provided for the many other new facilities including additional rooms for performances and a café-bar. Under the Standards, provision should have been made for these. At the meeting officials rejected this using the surprising argument that the other new performance rooms would not be used at the same time as the main auditorium. This seems to us unlikely and is, in any case, not a valid reason for failing to implement the Standards in full. They are mandatory.

We were more successful in our argument at the meeting that spacing of the cycle stands was insufficient. They are now to be a metre apart.

Cycle path going from nowhere to nowhere on Cherry Hinton Road.
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We asked for good lighting, for security cameras and for the parking stands to be roofed. We were told that there should be good lighting and cameras but that roofing was unacceptable because it could interfere with the operation of the cameras.

We expressed our concerns about safe and effective cycle access to The Junction and its cycle parking. This is part of a more general worry about the planning of cycle routes within the Cattle Market development. It remains unclear whether cyclists will have the easy access they need through the main piazza. The curious new cycle path outside the newly-built flats on the Cherry Hinton Road frontage, which goes from nowhere to nowhere, does not suggest a thoughtful approach to cycle routes.

As the material in the box indicates, the merged Junction and Cambridge Drama Centre is an exciting new development. We very much hope that it will be much used and enjoyed by cyclists and others and that the facilities provided for cyclists will be of the high quality that they are entitled to from the Council on Council-owned land.

James Woodburn

More space will be provided in a new location for the Cambridge Drama Centre.
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From The Junction’s publicity material:

  • 150 000 attenders in 2002
  • 1061 events in 2002.

New facilities in 2004 to include:

  • a new flexible performance space for innovative productions and an extensive programme of theatre, dance and children’s shows
  • a 200 capacity local bands’ auditorium and second club space
  • a dedicated education room with sprung floor for dance classes
  • an all day café bar offering a communal space for people to meet and relax
  • two music rehearsal rooms for local artists, upcoming bands and workshops for people of all ages.