Calling all!

Dear All… As you know, the proposed Local Plan is attempting to slip a number of deeply concerning plans into what essentially will become law. Residents’ letters and emails about the most worrying of these local Local Plan intentions have succeeded in getting the attention of both our MP and the local press.

SO we’ve just heard from Cambridge News (CEN).

They’re sending a photographer for 5:30pm TOMORROW (Tuesday 10th), meeting at the Howard Mallett site, to take pictures of anyone concerned about those intentions. If you believe that the Howard Mallett site should not be carved up for office/residential development, or are concerned about other Local Plan intentions, then please please please join us there…

The more people we can muster for the photograph, the more powerful our message. The reverse is also true: if no-one turns up, the Council can simply shrug and dismiss our concerns and objections.

Please come. Bring your families, your friends, your neighbours, your colleagues, random strangers… 
Aim for everyone to BE THERE BY 5:25pm …

Thank you. See you 5:25pm tomorrow?

Cambridge Local Plan – get your views in

Residents of Petersfield ward – we have just five weeks left to comment upon, and insist on change, to the Cambridge Local Plan before it becomes set in stone and LEGAL carte blanche for developers until 2031. The deadline is 5pm on 30 September 2013. The Government recently passed legislation saying that any Local Plan becomes the MINIMUM developers are allowed to do! The Local Plan boasts that it is overseeing a change in levels of planned growth unmatched since the interwar years: but we are deeply disturbed by the resulting impact on our area, and by the lack of real democratic support or mandate, or accountability. The Local Plan is available for you to view online or (theoretically, but NOT in practice!) at Mandela House.

Below, and in the attached PDF and Word document, are some of the issues PACT feels most concerned about relating to this area. If you agree, then THERE IS NO TIME TO LOSE: please email/write to the addresses below with your concerns. Alternatively, add your details to the letter below, & write “I AGREE” on it before signing and sending.

Send your comments:
By email:
By phone: 01223 457000
By post: Draft Local Plan Consultation, Planning Policy, Cambridge City Council, PO Box 700, Cambridge, CB1 0JH

Please copy them to:
Our councillors:;;;
Our reporters:;;,
Our public servants:,,,
as well as our MP: Julian Huppert,
and PACT at

Dear Councillors, planners, and civil servants:

1. More and more people live in the Petersfield area. Yet this area of Cambridge has the LEAST public green open space per person in the entire City. This is even despite the inclusion of Fenners sports ground (NOT open to the general public, nor available for general open air activities such as picnics, ball games etc) & the cemetery in calculations. While we value these sites and agree that they must be protected open spaces, we do NOT feel that they should be the basis for calculating our available public green open spaces. The only real area which qualifies as public green open space locally is St.Matthew’s Piece.

We therefore call upon the City and County Council to use the opportunity of the Local Plan to ensure a greener future for this area of Cambridge by committing to provide us with specific sites – viz., the Howard Mallett (HMC) site – for protected public open green space.

2. The Howard Mallett (HMC) was built on land given to US – local residents – for rest & recreation IN PERPETUITY. That means for ever and ever. To you and me. Our children. Our children’s children… Yet the Local Plan aims to replace a chunk of that land with 3-storey residential or office buildings. Moreover, p.200 (Policy 73) of the Local Plan states that:
Loss of facilities
The loss of a facility or site that was last in use as a community, sports or leisure facility will only be permitted if it is demonstrated that:
i. the facility/site can be replaced within the new development or relocated to at least its existing scale, range, quality and accessibility for its users.
For leisure uses, it should satisfy peak period need; or j. the facility/site is no longer needed.
So we request & require that the former Howard Mallett Centre (HMC) which was our community, sports & leisure facility for this area, on our land, be EITHER restored to its original use OR that, in view of the desperate need for green open space in this area, the site be returned to protected public green open space, and the facility REPLACED AND RELOCATED nearby to at least its existing scale, range, and quality for this area, with consideration given to the fact that the residential density is more than 4x what it was when the HMC was first built.

We therefore fundamentally and utterly oppose the proposal to replace the site with residential or office buildings as part of the “Opportunity Area for Major Change.” This designation MUST therefore be changed.

3. Just because your neighbour declared that they needed to expand, would that give them the automatic right to take your house and garden? No? Well, the Local Plan allows ARU to grab an additional 6,000 sq m (yes. 6000m²!) of this area for additional faculty space for its East Road Campus – and that’s on top of the 600 student dwellings ARU intends to add here within the next 18 months. We believe that this is wrong: if they want to expand they should do so elsewhere, NOT by carving up this crowded residential area just because they want to.

We therefore require the Local Plan to STOP ANY FURTHER STUDENT development AND ARU expansion in the Petersfield area. Enough is enough!

4. The Local Plan repeatedly refers to the need for affordable housing and community
facilities – yet the City Council’s track record in enforcing this (e.g. in the Station Road
developments) is exceedingly poor. We therefore request and require that specifics be
committed to within the Local Plan – including their enforcement within current developments such as the Station Road area. We find it scandalous and unacceptable that developers are being allowed to “ignore” their way out of their LEGAL REQUIREMENTS for minimum open space, community facilities, and affordable housing. Therefore this needs to be addressed and redressed BEFORE giving a green light to further developments.

5. The Mill Road Depot (MRD) site (site R.10 in the Local Plan): politicians promised it would include public green open space AND community facilities… yet the Local Plan STILL labels this site as suitable for 167 new dwellings: a density of 62 dwellings per hectare (dph). This is vastly higher density than other developments (e.g. Travis Perkins at 35 dph) and is out of keeping both with local densities (e.g. Sturton St 40dph) AND with government-recommended densities of 30dph for sustainable developments. Remember the new law which says that any numbers in the Local Plan become the MINIMUM built? So 62dph would become the MINIMUM in this site! We also heard today that open space & community facilities are NOT guaranteed in the site – despite the LEGAL obligation to do so.
We find this UNACCEPTABLE.
a.    Access should ONLY be via Mill Road, not Hooper Street.
b.    A specific and stated proportion should be dedicated to green open space in this development rather than the current vague promise of including “some”
c.    Community facilities must be similarly specified and guaranteed
We also believe that the MRD site should be developed by residents for residents, NOT by developers for maximum profit and density. It could be made a flagship car-free development, with monies from the developers subsidising local bus tickets to ensure that residents are encouraged to use public transport. We believe that there may also be a conflict of interest for the Council as being both the owners and developers.
d.    The trees & space next to Mill Rd bridge should be retained along with the library.
e.    The garages to the south of Hooper St should be retained: this area is already too short of parking spaces.

7. Hotels. No further hotel developments should be permitted in this area – those on the corner of Coldham’s Lane/Newmarket Road are unattractive and have grossly insufficient car parking. This is already overwhelming local streets and residents’ car parking. Any further hotels should be sited in industrial areas e.g., close to the airport.

8. We are concerned by the wording in Policy 22 that “The character of the area will be enhanced by creating a block structure and developing building forms which moderate the scale and massing of new development in a manner that is responsive to their context and reflecting the finer urban grain of the area.” What EXACTLY does this mean? We require clarification – and power of veto. By residents, not only by developers.
Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

End of an era at the Man on the Moon?

The Man on the Moon, at 2 Norfolk Street, has been a popular pub and music venue in Petersfield for years – music magazine Drowned in Sound has called it “less-than-salubrious, yet fondly regarded”. The pub was taken over by John Nixon in July 2000, after he had been landlord at the White Hart (now the Backstreet Bistro). The pub was formerly owned by Pubmaster and then Punch Taverns.

Man on the Moon pub

Rumours around the future of the pub had been circulating: CAMRA thought it was shut already on 4 June, and on 7 June the news was confirmed – the new lease owners have given John notice to leave by October. John says he was in the process of applying to buy the lease of the pub himself when he was gazumped. John says on the website:
“Some of you may have heard the rumours flying around about the MOTM and I can sadly say they are true. Despite a 9 month long legal battle with greedy property developers & Punch Taverns, the Man on the Moon has been lost, and the doors will close for the last time on Oct 1st. The Moon will leave a hole in the local music scene that badly needs to be filled, We will be back, this time Bigger and Better!! We would like to thank everyone that has played at the Moon and made the past 13 years amazing! Especially Last Gang In Town, Dawn Kelly, Kelly Allen, Bruno Gonçalves, Will Smithe and Lex O’Farrell, thanks for all your hard work!!”

The landlord of the Alexandra Arms, Craig Bickley, says the owner is Beechwood Property (probably meaning Beechwood Estates), and they are planning to improve the pub. Beechwood Estates, also known as Bennell Developments, previously turned the Jubilee pub into houses, and bought the Royal Standard & tried to turn it into houses without success. Despite this history, property consultants Everard Cole told the Cambridge News that “Rumours that the pub will become student flats are simply untrue. The pub may close for a few weeks or months but will reopen as a pub and will remain so in the long term.” They also said on Twitter: “Man on the Moon, Cambridge. New FOT [free of ties] lease offered; experienced operator sought. Full details to follow shortly.”

Cambridge News reported last July that the city council owned the pub, and Cllr Colin Rosenstiel confirmed that “The future of this pub is firmer than most because [Cambridge City Council] owns freehold, on 99 year lease from 1963 for pub use only.” Cambridge City Council, in the ‘Interim Planning Policy Guidance on The Protection of Public Houses in the City of Cambridge‘ (IPPG) of October 2012, lays out criteria before a pub can be lost and classes the Man on the Moon as a “Pub Site within edge of city clusters providing an important city wide economic and local community function”. Regarding any plans for the car park, the IPPG says: “When considering proposals for the development of car parking areas, the Council will require evidence that this will not undermine the viability of the pub, especially in the outer suburbs or village areas or site adjacent to main roads.” Building on the car park is not an option while the pub remains.

The pub has long been part of the Petersfield community. Simon_K on Flickr says of the early days of the pub, “In 1959, work began along East Road on central Cambridge’s first major slum redevelopment. Completed in 1969, with the final addition of the Man on the Moon public house, the scheme was designed as a fresh start, a comprehensive development of two, three and four storey interconnected blocks of flats, maisonettes and houses. The architects were David Roberts & Geoffrey Clarke for the City of Cambridge Housing Dept.”

The landlord before John was Mary Reid, who left in June 1996 to run the Royal Standard. She ran folk nights, which then moved to the Portland Arms. It was refurbished and briefly called The Office from 1998-2000, before John took over and changed the name back.

Although some local residents have had issues with late-night music and drinking, this will be a loss to the Cambridge music scene. Among the tributes and laments, Cllr Richard Johnson said “It will be a shame if Man on the Moon turns into another upmarket gastropub. Camb[ridge] needs pubs & clubs with character”.

John has been generous to the local community, for example letting PACT use his venue for our Summer Events – most recently for our carnival costume workshops. We believe that the Man on the Moon must remain as a pub, and we hope that the new lease owners are sincere in this intention and that the new landlord will keep it as a music venue and asset to the community.