Christmas Event!

We had a great Christmas Event at Cherry Trees last Sunday. We apologise that a couple of things went wrong so it got a bit more crowded and noisy than intended, but it seems like everyone had a lot of fun!

Our thanks first to Cambridge City Council for their grant support, without which this would not be possible. There are a lot of hidden costs in running these events.

Also on prizes, I didn’t win anything. Sadly the winners were:

Many thanks to the organizations providing our prizes!

Do you have a use for large, high quality dance/performance space?

Do you have a use for large, high quality dance/performance space? The community access agreement for the Howard Mallett (CityLife) building is being negotiated and you could help improve it – do get in touch if this sounds at all interesting, and we’ll let you know all that we know!

Update: here’s the latest update from the developer, as posted on the city council planning website (application 15/2372). You can comment on this here, searching for 15/2372.Get in touch with us too, though.


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Planning Committee on Howard Mallett

It was great to see so much community support this morning about the Howard Mallett (CityLife) building and St Matthew’s Piece. Let’s hope we can bring this to a decent conclusion and focus next year on the fantastic positive opportunities we see ahead. This is a press release from the community speakers to follow up on the comments that we made:

30 November 2016

Members of the local community spoke at the Planning Committee meeting today. They issued the following press release:

“We are all determined – as we believe the developer (Chard Robinson) also is – to ensure there is good community access to the Howard Mallett Centre building. Chard Robinson have done excellent work to improve the building, and everyone is united in wanting to see it being used, in a way that rightly respects the local community.

“Today’s meeting demonstrated that there are some issues which need to be resolved, but we feel these can be dealt with in time for the next meeting on 4th January.

“The Community Access Agreement, one of the few key outstanding issues, has moved forward immensely, but is not in a final form. The Planning Committee made a correct decision today for a deferment, that should enable a finalised version to be presented for approval on January 4th.

“Petersfield, where we live, is an area acknowledged by the Council to be extremely short on both public open space and community facilities. We have worked hard to ensure these are protected. Whilst the situation with the Howard Mallett Centre is not ideal, as a result of decades of problems with the site, we think a good Community Access Agreement that also meets the needs of the developer should be achievable.

“Other issues, relating to the instrusion of new paths onto the protected open space, and the plant for ventilation of the building, will require further discussions. Again, we will be working constructively with the Council, and the developer, to ensure a sensible way forward can be found on what should not be insurmountable problems.”


Christmas Party!

Remember PACT’s having a Christmas party again – this time though we’re in and around the Cherry Trees Day Centre on St Matthew’s Street. We’ll have stories, games, competitions, face painting, Santa’a elves and more…

Thanks to Cambridge County Council for supporting the event – poster coming soon!

A Comment on the latest Howard Mallett consultation

As you may know, there is yet more consultation on the travel plan for the Howard Mallett / CityLife applications from Chard Robinson. I’d like to try to clarify because PACT is mentioned in the CR documents.

There are two main planning applications – the 2014 application (approved but not in effect – not “discharged” – yet) for Bodywork to occupy as a dance school, and the 2015 application for wider educational use combined with a community access scheme. Both of these acknowledge the community history of the site – dance schools are inherently, always, community based (it’s true, check google), and the 2015 application offers a “deal” to the local community, of university level use (CSVPA) during the day a lot of evening and weekend access for community groups & groups offering activities to local residents. This deal isn’t unusual. It would be worth considering – it would be the best open community use of the site in years – but the community holds the cards here since the local plan should protect this community facility from university level use unless we agree.

Sadly, Chard Robinson and their representatives have horribly poisoned the air with the local community in their handling of the affair, the conditions on the planning permission and their attitude to St Matthew’s Piece. The mention of PACT now is typical. Trustees and people we know have talked to CR and CSVPA over community use if the 2015 application’s “deal” was passed. This is now being quoted in trying to justify a reinterpretation of the 2014 application, where instead of a dance school (with the inherent strong community links), CSVPA uses the site for some dance alongside community dance use (with no formal commitment to it, no terms and conditions etc. – this could be dropped at any time). This surely isn’t the approved use to any normal person (by the way, it’s all being argued in the context of the “travel plan” because it’s that which mentions Bodywork most explicitly). Noone locally wants to see this kind of misuse of the 2014 planning permission. Chard Robinson should stop messing around and let us have an honest and proper debate on the 2015 application without this kind of rubbish poisoning the air. I personally find it genuinely sickening.

The text in question follows. It contains various factual inaccuracies covered by the “we understand” phrase. It stinks, frankly.

The “APPELLENT’S STATEMENT OF CASE”, Eversheds LLP is a 14 November 2016
entry to 14/1252/COND12.  It contains the following paragraph:

“As you know, our client is very keen to allow community access to the
newly refurbished dance studio space.  They have been in discussions
with the Elevation Youth Dance Company who would like to use the space
alongside our client for their ‘Generate’ project, which we understand
is being overseen by the local neighbourhood group, PACT.  Local
community dance will therefore also suffer if the Premises are unable to
be used.  We therefore request that for the good of all the children and
students wishing to pursue their dance studies at the site, the travel
pan be approved without delay”.

Associates, 1406-57/TN/05 is a 11 November 2016 entry to 15/2372/FUL.

Time limits for comments are 21 November 2016 for reopened consultation on this condition of the 2014 application, 14/1252/COND12 and 28 November 2016 for 15/2372/FUL (the 2015 application).

By the way, it has also been seriously suggested that there is some kind of conflct of interest in PACT, a community charity supporting community activities and cohesion, to have a trustee who runs community activities. As you can tell, I think that’s a joke.

Posted by John, Trustee (previously chair but post-AGM we need to meet to reallocate posts). This is my personal comment on this affair.


Backstreet Bistro

Something worrying seems to be happening at the Backstreet Bistro. What looked at first like a fairly minor planning application seems to be trying to open the door to a potentially really big new pub development in a really bad location that would be very bad news for the area. I got the attached leaflet through my door – with no contact details for the author (noone seems to have contacted us) and the worries seem very valid. Please do comment on the application. Showing local concern on this issue will have an impact.

backstreetbistro leaflet

Good Boundary News!

The local government boundary commission took our views into account – and the final Cambridgeshire County Council ward boundaries are completely unaltered from the city boundaries at the north end! Very good news. At the south end, Petersfield extends – all the wards grow -but we’re pleased that the St Matthew’s end hasn’t been cut into in order to make the required enlargement to Abbey.

The report states: “In response to our new draft recommendations for Petersfield division, we received over 40 submissions. The majority of respondents were local residents who objected to roads adjoining Abbey Walk, St Matthew’s Gardens and part of Sturton Street being included in Abbey division. All of the local residents proposed the above roads be transferred to Petersfield division. We are persuaded that the objections to our proposals for Petersfield division are supported by strong community evidence and we have decided to modify our recommendations. The boundary is moved to include roads adjoining Abbey Walk, St Matthews Gardens and part of Sturton Street in Petersfield division. We consider this change reflects the community identities of local residents in this part of Cambridge.”

Wednesday – Mill Road Depot exhibition

A staffed exhibition [PDF, 5.64MB] on the Mill Road Depot SPD will take place at the Old School Hall at St Barnabas Church on Mill Road on Wednesday 13 July, 5 to 9pm. We’d really encourage you to go along and add your views – the depot is the last, largest major development in the historic Petersfield area, and it will have a major impact. We’re cautiously pleased with it.