Brunswick site update

‘Riverside wiggle’ now gone but problems remain

Last year we objected to a major planning application for redevelopment of the Brunswick site, as it is known. This is the site on Newmarket Road that is being vacated by Cambridge Regional College. The developer’s proposals for the new housing at ‘Brunswick Riverside’ can be viewed on their web site at www.brunswick-site.co.uk

One of the major problems identified with the previous development was the routing of cars through a ‘wiggle’ via the quiet streets of Riverside and then under Newmarket Road Bridge. This was because the County Council was not willing to retain the current CRC entrance which is very close to the roundabout.

Since that first planning application, the developers have purchased the adjacent Brunswick House. This makes for a more direct vehicle entrance on to the site. (The irony that this will make driving more convenient has not escaped us!)

Map base © 2009 OpenStreetMap.org and contributors, licensed CCbySA2.0
Map of Brunswick site

Our Planning Researcher, Rohan Wilson, studied the new plans and drafted our response, which we have finalised and now sent. It is an objection to the new plans on the following grounds:

  • The documentation states that pedestrian and cycle routes in the area of the site are ‘very good’. Anyone using the Newmarket Road roundabout area will know this is not the case. We wish to see ‘Section 106’ funds (basically developer funding, required to offset the effects of a development) being used towards a replacement of this 1970s-style roundabout and underpass in favour of a cycle-friendly crossing at street level.
  • The plans do not specify in sufficient detail information about the path widths, slopes and barrier features. These are clearly of high importance to whether the area will be cycle-friendly or not.
  • The standard of resident cycle parking and access to it is poor. The student block proposes 170 cycle lockers or cages; however, these will all be in a basement down a flight of nine steps. In practice, people will just use the visitor parking, which will then be overflowing. Instead, we would like to see 25% of cycle parking in these higher-security lockers (not down steps!) and the remaining 75% of cycle parking as standard Sheffield stands at ground level, near the entrance. Though they would not be so secure, in practice the vast majority of people will prefer convenience over higher security, not least as most people tend not to have very expensive bikes that justify the greater inconvenience.
  • The cycle parking that is proposed does not seem to fit within the space available. (The same problem occurred with the Grand Arcade development, where the agreed number of stands could not be physically accommodated in the allocated space.)

We will report back on the decision Councillors make on this application.

Martin Lucas-Smith