Cambridge Leisure Centre, on the Cattle Market site, is due to open on 28 May but the struggle for adequate cycle parking continues.
Although the Cambridge City Council (the planning authority) acknowledges that its own Cycle Parking Standards require provision of 1,100 cycle parking spaces, less than half of this number of spaces is to be provided initially. We consider that 1,100 spaces should not be treated as a maximum or a target. It is not. It is a minimum. What is more, this minimum is, according to the Standards, mandatory.
However, at the Planning Committee’s April meeting, the Committee accepted the Planning Officer’s recommendation that 464 spaces should be installed immediately but that efforts should be made to get this number increased to 500. As we go to press the Planning Officer has told us that only 436 spaces can be installed now because the position where 28 of them are to go is at present occupied by hoardings surrounding the new construction work at the Junction.
The Committee agreed with the Planning Officer’s recommendation that this should not be the final number but that there should be periodical reviews of the use made of the parking spaces to establish the total actually needed. A first review should be held two months after the opening of the leisure complex and any increase needed would have to be provided by the developer within another month. A further review would take place a year later.
A Campaign spokesman addressed the Planning Committee meeting. After urging that the full 1,100 places required by the standards should be installed, we pointed out that full use of newly-installed cycle parking can take a long time to build up. Fifteen months would not be long enough to establish the number of places needed, particularly if not all of the proposed facilities – cinemas, bowling alleys, the range of restaurants and bars, hotel, shops, etc. – are open from the start. Furthermore, the proposed widening of Hills Road bridge, the massive housing developments along the southern corridor, the proposed cycleway along the guided busway, the expansion of Addenbrooke’s Hospital, the Station area redevelopment and other nearby developments, could all be expected to create greater demand for cycle parking at the Leisure Centre. The Planning Committee accepted this view and decided that there should be a further review in three years’ time.
As we explained to the Planning Committee, we remain very concerned about both the scale of cycle parking and its location at this development. The City Council should enforce its own mandatory cycle parking standards, particularly on Council-owned land. The parking should be properly designed into the scheme from the start and not be installed, as it is in this instance, on an area that should be public open space.
James and Lisa Woodburn