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Cambridge City Council

Cambridge Market Square project

Cambridge market square

As owners of the market square and its seven-day-a-week market, we are proposing a multi-million-pound project to transform the design, appearance and day, evening and night time use of this key city centre space, whilst being sensitive to its rich heritage value; and safeguarding the future of its daily local market. 

The aim of this project is to have a market square which meets the needs of Cambridge residents and renovates and improves the associated physical infrastructure, making the space a more inclusive, attractive and vibrant place in which to trade, shop and visit, both during the day and the evening and night. 

We started this project by identifying and assessing the design and management issues of the market square and its daily market use – read more about the feasibility assessment below.

We then reviewed the results of this assessment, together with the input of technical specialists and community stakeholders, including market traders, to create a proposed Vision and Concept Design for the square – read more about the concept design and public consultation below.

Stage 1: Feasibility assessment

We completed the feasibility assessment stage of the project in 2019 with the publication of the following report and summary:

In early 2020, we held a series of workshops with a range of community stakeholders, including market traders, to help inform the next stage of the project (Concept Design). The results of these meetings are available to read:

Stage 2: Concept design

The public consultation that ran between 19 May and 31 July 2021 was issued before the Council agreed a more formal review of the project.  This was undertaken in the latter part of 2021 following a variety of concerns raised. As a result of the review, the update report submitted to the Environment and Community Scrutiny Committee in March 2022 saw an amended draft high level Vision approved.  Any future project proposals that arise will be re-developed within the wider framework of the following considerations, alongside the consultation responses which were taken into account within the Committee report:

  • The wider recovery of the City Centre and the support which the Council’s assets may play in contributing to the recovery
  • The reiteration of the Council’s commitment to the 7-day market, with some more flexible use of the space, where appropriate
  • The timing and requirements for two major projects which are likely to directly affect the square, namely the potential for a district heat network within the city (on which a feasibility report is expected early in 2023); and Greater Cambridge Partnership’s proposed road network hierarchy changes, on which consultation is due Summer 2022
  • The statutory requirements for listed assets maintenance alongside other compliance requirements
  • The need to consider the Council’s commitment to achieving net zero carbon status for its assets by 2030

Over the past couple of years, the Council has gained much feedback on the needs and wishes for possible improvements to the Market Square, through a range of key stakeholder events/ meetings. Over that period, which has included challenges arising from the pandemic, it has become clear that the development of any project for the Market Square is highly complex and needs to be considered within a wider range of issues than just the square itself.  The consultation has provided a further wide range of valuable feedback, which will remain a very important element of any amended proposals which may come forward in the future and we have published a report on its analysis [PDF, 1.5MB]. The current further work being progressed will also inform the potential for improvements to the space. We intend to continue to engage closely with key stakeholders as work progresses. Further public consultation will take place at an appropriate point as any project develops.