CAMBRIDGE City Council and its development partner Marick Real Estate Ltd are rescheduling construction work on Park Street car park so it will now start a year later than originally planned in January 2021 rather than January 2020.
Despite the rescheduling of planned works there will still be a maximum of one Christmas without the car park, and it will remain open during this year’s Christmas period and for Christmas 2020.
The council has listened to concerns raised by members of the local community during consultation and in meetings with neighbours. It has re-programmed the start of construction to allow additional time for further technical investigations, surveys and design work to be undertaken for this complex project, and to improve mitigation plans during the major rebuilding work.
The council has pledged to work with its development and construction partners to try to limit the car park closure to one Christmas trading period. To deliver this pledge, and based on current construction programme information, a site start early in a year will be necessary.
The proposed redevelopment would see the construction, subject to planning permission being granted, of a premium aparthotel of more than 200 rooms, above a basement car park with 225 public car parking spaces including Blue Badge parking, cycle parking, motorcycle parking and facilities for electric vehicle charging.
It was initially hoped that construction work could begin on the site in early 2020. However due to extensive consultations and negotiations with neighbouring landowners and other parties, and the fact that planning committee is being targeted for December 2019 at the earliest, it is now thought preferable to delay the construction start until early 2021.
The decision to delay the start of construction has been taken following regular meetings of the Park Street Liaison Group, which was established in 2018 to offer a forum for dialogue between the council and developers and the businesses, organisations and residents close to Park Street.
The Liaison Group has met regularly to discuss matters relating to the redevelopment of the site including the planning application and will continue to do so as the redevelopment moves forward. More frequent meetings have been held with immediately adjacent residential and business occupiers.
Further work on the scheme is continuing, led by the council’s development partnership, the Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP) – which is a partnership between the council and Hill Investment Partnerships – and its selected development partner, Marick Real Estate Ltd.
Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “It is vital that we give the city early notice of the decision to reschedule the start of construction to January 2021, a year later than planned. While this has not been an easy decision to make, we know it’s the right call to minimise avoidable disruption to local people and businesses, and get the job right.
“Giving the project’s complexity, the extra year preparation will allow more time to have everything in place to start construction at the beginning of 2021, and minimise build time and inconvenience to meet our tight deadlines.
“We recognise that there will be unavoidable interim impacts from the redevelopment, but investing in modern car and cycle parking facilities and the new 200 room aparthotel – and extras like extensive electric vehicle charging – will be a real boost to the northern half of our historic city centre.”
Marcus Boret, Director of Marick Real Estate, said: ““We look forward to working closely with CIP to regenerate this part of Park Street. The revised timescale will mitigate any conflicts in construction logistics with the Cambridge Union building currently under construction.”
A planning application for the redevelopment of Park Street car park was submitted in July and validated in August. A pre-application consultation event and feedback process was held in May and the statutory consultation process, extended to take account of the summer holiday period, ended on 27 September. A decision on the planning application is expected at Planning Committee this December.