Have you done our survey? And do you have any ideas for community use of a shop-like unit?


Please do our survey for the Depot gatehouse and join our mailing list! Also, council officers are seeking a use for the shop-like unit across from the Gatehouse (on the left below, although the design changed slightly) and it could form part of the same lease. Do you have an idea? Let us know!

Chisholm trail has two sets of plans…

So this looks better – there are two sets of plans for the trail. One for before it’s open, to avoid anti-social use, etc., and a proposed final one.

The plans from 2 Mar 2018 look pretty decent. Not quite as permeable as we would like, but with more decent turning space etc. These are the intended final state. The planning status of this situation seems ambiguous though.


Letter about this makes interesting reading too –


Depot goes to planning committee on Wednesday 28th March

So it’s on the agenda for what’s sure to be a packed planning meeeting on Wednesday 28th March. 10am, Committee Room 1 & 2, The Guildhall, Market Square.

Officer’s report below.

172245FUL – Mill Road Depot Mill Road

Another key document is the “townscape and views assessment.” This shows overlook onto Ainsworth Street, among other places. What do you think? You can email us – my email is chair@pactCambridge.org . The conservation people seem to have been upset about this but the planning officer is saying the damage is worth it. Is it? It’s improved anyway from previous submissions. The officer also says it’s acceptable given it was in the SPD, but the SPD lacked any assessment like this. See pages 33, 35.



Mill Road Depot

The planning permission application for the Mill Road Depot site is open to comment now – until Feb 2nd – and although there are bound to be complications, sooner is better. Probably the best overview is to read section 4 of the design & access statement, which I’m republishing here.


For the full documents, search for “Mill Road Depot” on the planning portal –
Click on the “184 dwellings…” application.


Depot Update – Good News!

PACT has had some really promising discussions with the city council (councillors, officers and the CIP) and the YMCA. We’re delighted to say that it looks increasingly certain that we will be offered a proper community facility based around the existing Gatehouse building, plus some extra space, which would be the existing link house (that’s the building between the Gatehouse and the library), or a similar new building but on the east side of the gatehouse instead of the south side.

The intent is to create a viable, independent community space under community lease or ownership, independent of the YMCA building but run in collabration with them (realistically, the YMCA have great experience in this and compatible aims, so we’d love to use that for the day to day running of the site).

This building is sadly at the Mill Road end of the site, when our priority is the lack of facilities at the north “St Matthew’s” end. However the CIP (Cambridge Investment Partnership, who are developing the site under 50% council ownership) have also worked to improve the access to the site from the north end, adjusting some house placement to make a more inviting entrance to Hooper Street, leading onto the green space and playground areas, and from there down to the Gatehouse.

Discussions with architects are going on, and hopefully soon we’ll have some kind of outline of the proposals to share and start to seek feedback and ideas to develop.

If you would like to get involved or you have an activity that Petersfield can’t accommodate – due to the kind of space you need or charges or accessibility or anything else, do drop a mail to chair@pactCambridge.org . We will work to open up this process as things get more certain, including launching a major survey to help us find uses for the building whch don’t compete with other local facilities. In the mean time, we would love to hear from you – do come along too on Sunday to our Christmas Party on the Piece, on St Matthew’s Piece from 2-4pm.

Are the Mill Road Depot plans turning into another Cambridge disaster?

There’s real concern that the new plans for the Mill Road Depot are losing sight of the vision and ideas that were so well captured in the SPD.

Just compare the images below.

  • “Integration with existing communities” was important. But now, from the North end, access is no longer a generous green entry from Ainsworth St, with a view through the site. Instead, it’s a tucked away footpath with a view onto tall buildings. From the South end, the YMCA building sits on the previous position of paths, forcing pedestrian access to the site onto the narrow road past the gatehouse.
  • Both rectangular open spaces are lost and fragmented. These parcels of usable green area looked really valuable since we lack them in Petersfield. Now, the YMCA building sits on one, reducing the trees in the south east corner to simple screening of its large accommodation block instead of public space. The northern other appears fragmented, more overlooked and swallowed up to provide larger houses.
  • Community facilities – at least any decent hall space – seems set to be owned by the YMCA and so would be legally owned for their charitable purposes – setting Petersfield up to lose them if the YMCA decide a different building would better serve their purposes, like the Methodist Church did and the County Council did… We’ve also lost the dedicated community building, of course – an acknowledgement in the SPD that the issue locally is the lack of community-focused, inclusive, welcoming space and not rented rooms – there are plenty of those already on Mill Road.
  • Parking is set at 0.65 cars per dwelling, plus visitors. This is the average of the 2011 census for Petersfield and Romsey we’re told. On a site that has to be accessed from Mill Road, and is so perfectly positioned for trains, bikes and buses, owned by the city council, why such a backward looking target? Besides, the Cambridge Cycling Campaign reckons the actual surrounding streets are more like 0.5 or under today.
  • The YMCA also blocks future visions to incorporate the former Mill Road Library into a viable community space, by sitting so close to it, well beyond the scale of the buildings intended for that area in the SPD. We’re losing the former “gatehouse green” and so damaging potential use of both of those buildings.

It was all going so well… we understand there is a rush to help secure government support for social housing, but can’t we do better?

You can still respond to the latest plans at https://www.millroad-development.co.uk/