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Major improvements to be delivered by Park Street car park redevelopment - and city council now to fund scheme

News release from 04/02/2020

THE REDEVELOPMENT of Cambridge City Council’s Park Street car park has moved a step closer after planning permission was granted for the project in December.

The existing, ageing multi-storey car park, which is now more than 50 years old, will be replaced with a new development built to high modern standards for sustainability. An aparthotel will be constructed above the underground car park and will provide a much improved contribution to the streetscape in the area.

Following the decision made late last year to delay the start of the redevelopment until January 2021, the council reviewed the funding options for the project, and will now fund the  scheme. Subject to final negotiations, the council will invest between £80m-£90m in the project, its largest single ever long-term investment. 

Under the new plan, the council will then directly lease the hotel operation to Staycity. The council’s 2020/21 Budget Setting Report is making provision for funding of the whole scheme by the council. The aparthotel will be developed to Staycity’s premium “Wilde” brand. 

The detail of the project does not change and the redevelopment will see the construction of a premium aparthotel of 227 rooms, with a public courtyard, above a basement car park with around 225 public car parking spaces including Blue Badge parking, cycle parking, motorcycle parking and facilities for electric vehicle charging.

Infrastructure for electric vehicle charging supports the council’s sustainability strategy for reducing carbon emissions, following its declaration of a climate emergency last year, as will the reduction of car parking capacity by almost 40%.

The partners have consulted local charity, Camcycle, on the cycle parking elements of the car park, and will continue to work with them on final designs.

Features of the redevelopment will include accreditation to industry standard ‘BREEAM Excellent’, a focus on reducing carbon emissions, high performance construction materials, mechanical ventilation heat recovery, air source heat pumps and solar panels.

A detailed archaeological investigation will be co-ordinated as part of the delivery programme and the project will sponsor the publication of the findings.

Designs for the site also include elements to encourage biodiversity such as green walls and climbing plants to attract pollinating insects, bird boxes, a bee hotel, and a ‘living roof’ for the hotel.

In addition, the design proposals submitted as part of the planning application will improve the accessibility and appearance of the existing Jordan’s Yard by opening the space up into a public courtyard with a café, a seating area and attractive landscaping.

Ease of access between Park Street and Bridge Street will also be improved, as will separation of pedestrian, disabled access, cycles and vehicles.

An independent report by Savills last year outlined the potential economic benefits of redeveloping Park Street car park, including £2.5m annual expenditure in the city from guests staying at the aparthotel, in addition to the creation of around 35 full-time jobs.

Throughout the preparatory stages of the project the council and its development partner Marick Real Estate, have liaised closely with local businesses, landowners and residents to address their concerns, including setting up the Park Street Liaison Group to offer a forum for dialogue.

Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of the Council, said: “During the detailed development process the council reviewed its role in the autumn. We have decided, subject to final negotiations, to lead on the scheme investment because the financial case offers a sound, prudent and rewarding long term investment, and will help fund local city services not just for the 2020s but for decades to come.

“The redevelopment will also bring major improvements to this part of the city centre that, in time, will benefit residents, businesses and visitors. The council’s increased role assists our ability to deliver those too.

“The new aparthotel and underground car and cycle park will bring a long-term economic boost to this part of the city centre and we are focused on making preparations for a prompt start to construction work in January 2021.

“We know that there will be some unavoidable short-term impacts from the redevelopment for residents and nearby business owners, but we will continue to liaise closely with them before and during construction to minimise disruption.”

Marcus Boret from Marick Real Estate Ltd, the development partner for the project, said: “We have reached a great milestone with December’s planning award, and now look to focus in 2020 on completing the remaining surveys, detailed design and neighbour liaison. The delivery programme will be phased to hand over the fully commissioned car park in advance of the aparthotel completion, which is scheduled for early 2024.”

Simon Walford, Staycity’s Development Director, said: “We are delighted to be bringing our Wilde Aparthotel by Staycity brand to Cambridge. Our mix of both leisure and business guests will be perfectly suited to enjoy the city’s many cultural, educational and historic attractions as well as its plentiful retail, restaurants and bars.”

Planning permission for redeveloping Park Street car park was given at Planning Committee on 17 December.