Beehive Centre Planning Update

poster text as accompanying text in this post
Click the image to download a printable PDF

Nick Vose​​​​, Director, Marengo Communication, writes:

We are pleased to provide you with an update on Railpen’s proposals for the Beehive Centre.

As you will be aware, we first submitted plans last year, including proposals for new retail, leisure, and community space, as well as laboratory, workspace, and green public space.

However, following feedback on the plans we decided to come back to you with revised designs.

The key uses proposed for the site remain the same, but we have reduced the height and massing of a number of buildings and adjusted building footprints and locations to increase separation distances between buildings and our neighbours.

A new park roughly the same size as St Matthew’s Piece has been introduced and we will plant even more trees (275 in total).

There is also a new direct cycle/pedestrian route through the site and Coldham’s Lane Roundabout will be upgraded to a four-way signalised junction, creating safer connections for pedestrians and cyclists.

Around 20 new shops and leisure facilities, including a small supermarket and gym are included on the ground floor. This is in addition to our plan to invest in Cambridge Retail Park which is also moving forward and will support the re-location of several retailers from the Beehive Centre. The development will also fund an additional 15 public buses per hour with a service extension to the train station, a new service to Milton Park & Ride, as well as new direct services to Cambourne and St Neots, Huntington and St Ives, Ely and Waterbeach. More than 4,200 cycle parking spaces will be created, and 460 car parking spaces – a third of which will provide electric vehicle (EV) charging.

Finally, in response to earlier feedback, we are also looking carefully at how our proposals can help reduce urban temperatures. We know that green spaces, trees, green roofs and vegetation are all very helpful as natural cooling measures and we are planning to replace large areas of concrete with new landscaping, 275 new trees, rain gardens, permeable surfaces and green roofs. In addition, we have committed to undertaking an Urban Greening Factor assessment to evaluate the quality and quantity of green space provided. More commonly used in London this voluntary assessment will demonstrate how green infrastructure has been integral in the design of the development.  Several other design choices will also be taken, including carefully selected materials with a higher albedo, which is the metric for how much incoming sun is reflected by a material surface.

We are still listening and are now inviting residents and stakeholders to comment on these revised plans before we submit an amended planning application.

You can find out more about our updated plans on the 17, 18 and 19 July.

Wednesday 17th July 2024, 12pm – 4pm
ScS – Unit 11 (next to Nando’s), Cambridge Retail Park, Newmarket Road, CB5 8JG

Thursday 18th July 2024, 4pm – 7.30pm
ScS – Unit 11 (next to Nando’s), Cambridge Retail Park, Newmarket Road, CB5 8JG

Friday 19 July 2024, 12 noon
Online webinar: Register here: Beehive Centre Update – Online Webinar Registration

We are also holding a further event for adjacent neighbours on Wednesday 17 July between 6pm and 7.30pm. This event will also be held in the ScS and a separate letter has been sent via the Royal Mail.

Further details of our events are enclosed in the attached community flyer – which has been sent this week to over 6,000 local residents – and we have prepared a social media friendly graphic, also attached, which we are asking stakeholders to share via their own social media channels. 

We look forward to talking you through the latest proposals.

Best regards,
For and on behalf of Railpen

Summer Shindig

Mill Road Fringe’s annual Summer Shindig is on Sunday 14th July and the weather is (so far) looking warm and sunny. A perfect way to meet friends and enjoy an afternoon/evening of live music in the park. Lots of activities for children. More info here

Poster with wording
Sunday 14 July 2024
Summer Shindig
4pm - 8pm
Romsey Rec, Vinery Road
A free community event for everyone featuring:
Colonel Spanky's Love Ensemble
Datum Plane
Isabel D'Angelico
Arco Iris
Bring your own picnic
Please, no barbecues.
Family activities
Artwork kindly created by children from St Philip's Primary School
Weather permitting

Fenner’s Protected Open Space – at risk?

A guest blogpost from Protect Fenner’s Action Group.

Hughes Hall, which recently set up the Centre for Climate Engagement, is proposing to build student housing on protected green open space in the Mill Road neighbourhood. If this is approved, it will set a precedent that makes precious green areas in Cambridge much more vulnerable to development.

In November 2023, the President and Bursar of Hughes Hall told a meeting of local residents about their plans to expand their site, and to build accommodation for 100 more students on part of Fenner’s cricket ground. Fenner’s is a hidden gem that used to be open to the public to wander in, and we are already concerned that over the last 20 years Hughes Hall has privatised it with locked gates.

We haven’t yet seen the plans, but whatever the design details, we are shocked and angry that Hughes Hall feels entitled to build a large development on one of the most highly protected recreational spaces in Cambridge – a space that also acts as a vital green lung within our ward and our dense city centre.

Photo as caption
Recent cricket match on Fenner’s,
looking towards Covent Garden and the land Hughes Hall has purchased for development
(photo: Lionel Sheffield)

What stands out is the precedent this sets, and the choices the college is making. It is going against local, University and national policies aimed at saving green spaces to alleviate climate change, and increase community well-being. 

Fenner’s is formally designated as a Protected Open Space in the Cambridge Local Plan 2018 [SPO 18, Outdoor Sports Facilities, Fenners Cricket Ground, Petersfield Ward, p290].  Such a designation is a national planning tool that local authorities can use to preserve open spaces in areas or urban zones which are under increasing pressure from developers. This is an issue which the Greater Cambridge Planning Authority and the Universities are working together to address, as the city is rapidly expanding.

This mooted development could be considered to be in breach of the Cambridge Local Plan.

In protecting existing assets, including heritage assets, landscape and water management, development should:

  • seek to protect existing public assets, including open space and leisure facilities. Where the loss of such assets is unavoidable, appropriate mitigation should be provided, including where applicable the replacement of assets in an alternative location, in addition to infrastructure generated by the needs of the development;
  • ensure public rights of way are protected, and enhanced where possible;
Cambridge Local Plan 2018 Policy 14 f,g, p58

Not only is Fenner’s a Protected Open Space, it is also rated in the City Council’s Open Space and Recreation Strategy (October 2011) as the 10th most important Protected Open Space amongst 311 across Cambridge (SPO 18, p105).  It amounts to one third of the total open space in Petersfield Ward, and is hugely important in a ward which is densely built up, without much open green space.

Cambridge’s Petersfield Ward lies in the bottom 20% nationally of the ‘Environment Domain’ in the government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation. Indeed, Petersfield Ward has only one public park – St Matthew’s Piece – vs 56 official parks in Cambridge’s other 13 wards.

Map of Protected Open Spaces in Petersfield Ward

Unfortunately there are caveats built into the Cambridge Local Plan Protected Open Space policy, with some potential overrides around education and sports need.  Hence our alarm to hear that Hughes Hall is buying land from the Cambridge University Cricket and Athletics Club Ltd (which owns the cricket ground), and commissioning architects’ plans to build a substantial amount of student accommodation.

However the National Planning Policy Framework [Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, December 2023] imposes duties upon local planning authorities, in regard to open spaces.

  • Access to a network of high quality open spaces and opportunities for sport and physical activity is important for the health and well-being of communities, and can deliver wider benefits for nature and support efforts to address climate change. Planning policies should be based on robust and up-to-date assessments of the need for open space, sport and recreation facilities (including quantitative or qualitative deficits or surpluses) and opportunities for new provision. Information gained from the assessments should be used to determine what open space, sport and recreational provision is needed, which plans should then seek to accommodate.
  • Existing open space, sports and recreational buildings and land, including playing fields, should not be built on unless:
  • a) an assessment has been undertaken which has clearly shown the open space, buildings or land to be surplus to requirements; or
  • b) the loss resulting from the proposed development would be replaced by equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality in a suitable location; or
  • c) the development is for alternative sports and recreational provision, the benefits of which clearly outweigh the loss of the current or former use.
National Planning Policy Framework, Section 8, Promoting healthy and safe communities, Open space and recreation, ¶102,103

It is hard to predict how the National Planning Policy Framework may help our case until we hear what Hughes Hall and Cambridge University Sport offer in mitigation of any potential breaches of section 8 of the National Planning Policy Framework (above).

Hughes Hall recently set up the Centre for Climate Engagement About us – Centre for Climate Engagement (  The Centre’s mission “is to encourage academic excellence in climate law, governance and organisational change, and to translate and transfer this knowledge to corporate boards to accelerate the race to net zero emissions and climate resilience.”

Image as caption
Hughes Hall diagram of land purchased on Fenner’s for building student accommodation: proposal shown to residents, 30 November 2023

Given the College’s apparent commitment to environmental and climate issues, residents wonder why the development team hasn’t taken a much longer-term and environmentally responsible approach to secure buildings or brown field sites to develop close by – as Anglia Ruskin University has done over the last 20-25 years.

  • Anglia Ruskin University has made significant progress on the East Road site in modernising the faculty accommodation within the framework of the agreed 2009 masterplan. A planning application was subsequently approved and this work is now largely complete and provides around 9,000 sq m of new accommodation.
  • When the masterplan was written in 2008, Anglia Ruskin University needed around 12,000 sq m. The campus on East Road remains one of the tightest in the sector. However, implementation of the masterplan has left a shortfall in teaching space. The most recent Anglia Ruskin University estate strategy and corporate plan 2012-2014 has identified a need for at least 6,000 sq m of additional space. As well as catering for growth in student numbers, there is also a need to enhance existing space and recently redeveloped space, e.g. for laboratories, which are not meeting current requirements, and to reconsider the future of Anglia Ruskin University’s library on the site. This will require the masterplan for Anglia Ruskin University to be revisited.
  • The East Road site and area remain the most sustainable location for Anglia Ruskin University during the next plan period, and any future needs for this institution should, in the first instance, be met close to this site. Therefore, any development proposals that come forward in these areas should consider whether faculty development is an appropriate use.
Cambridge Local Plan 2018, Policy 43: University development, ¶5.27/28/29, p152

There are other alternatives too. The University of Cambridge has been working with Greater Cambridge Shared Planning to help Cambridge grow sustainably in the future.  They explicitly acknowledge the importance of ceasing piecemeal development in the city centre, and avoiding eating up existing green spaces.  The new development of Eddington to the north west of Cambridge is part of this wider plan, with spaces designated for accommodation, education, social, cultural and sporting activity– with which several colleges are already successfully engaged.

  • The University of Cambridge has plans to grow undergraduate numbers by 0.5 per cent a year and postgraduates by 2 per cent a year in order to maintain its globally successful institution. The University of Cambridge’s key growth needs are being met by the developments in West and North West Cambridge and around Addenbrooke’s, including those satellite centres where the plan is seeking densification and a broader mix of uses. The development of the University of Cambridge’s North West Cambridge site is assessed in accordance with the North West Cambridge AAP. The policy acknowledges existing plans of the University of Cambridge on sites outside of the city centre and also provides an opportunity for redevelopment of sites in the city centre where plans are evolving. The University of Cambridge has other, less advanced, plans for development of faculty uses, for example at Madingley Rise. These will be considered on their merits, and against other relevant policies in the plan – for instance, at Madingley Rise much of the open space is protected.
Cambridge Local Plan 2018, Policy 43: University development, ¶5.26, p152

Fenner’s Cricket Ground is an iconic and historic site existing long before Hughes Hall came into being. The land was formerly part of the medieval Open Fields of Cambridge. In 1846, Francis Fenner leased what was, by that time, a former cherry orchard, from Gonville and Caius College for the purpose of constructing a cricket ground. In 1848 he sub-let the ground to Cambridge University Cricket Club.

The local streetscape has been shaped by the boundaries of Fenner’s and the views and open space of the ground are characteristics of the Conservation Area.  This land has never been built on. Why does Hughes Hall think it is appropriate to build on it now, for their own benefit and to the detriment of others? 

Our green and open spaces are of fundamental importance to our city’s character, ecology, and our own wellbeing.  We must support all efforts to preserve them in the face of the constant drive to build and develop. 

Please email to support our local campaign to save Fenner’s and green spaces in Cambridge for future generations. We will let you know when further details are published and our petition is launched.


Photo of two of the trees with a banner reading 'These 3 trees are still at risk'.
  • The insurance company hopes you will get tired of repeating yourself.
  • Meanwhile the three trees are each facing a new and truly deadly threat. 
  • Please help stop this, by writing an objection to planning application 24/0413/TTPO – ideally by mid-July 2024.
    (Friends of St Matthew’s Piece have learned that 24/0413/TTPO will not come to the Cambridge City Council Planning Committee before 24 July, at the earliest.)

An insurance claim at 193 Sturton St (a 28-year-old new-build property) blames ‘clay shrinkage subsidence’ on three 126-year-old Sturton St trees. This is the third time in three years these insurers have applied to severely harm – or kill – these three trees.

  • Objections from members of the public are needed at least through mid-July 2024.
  • Comment on planning application 24/0413/TTPO via the Council’s Planning Portal or via email. Read below for how to do this. 
  • Any brief objection on what matters most to you is perfect!
  • Some possible grounds to use in your objection are outlined below.

Photo of one of the trees with a poster giving some of the details in this blogpost

You will have good reasons of your own but here are some extra suggestions:

  1. The 4.5 m deep trench proposed (in 24/0413/TTPO) would be dug to install a root barrier that would be a minimum of 7m from 193 Sturton Street – placing it about 5 m from the three protected trees – well within their vital “root protection areas” (RPAs).
  2. Cutting the roots at that location would destroy up to 26.5% of the three trees’ essential RPAs.
  3. The British Standard BS5837 : 2012  defines the RPA as the minimum needed for trees to be viable.
    A tree’s Root Protection Area can be equated to a circle, using the tree as the centre-point, with a radius that is twelve times the tree’s Diameter at Breast Height for a single stemmed tree.
  4. Cambridge’s Petersfield ward has only one public park – St Matthew’s Piece – vs 56 official parks in Cambridge’s other 13 wards. (More details can be found in The Background section, below.)
  5. Petersfield has a particularly poor tree canopy, with very few mature trees.
  6. Every tree matters in Petersfield, which suffers badly from the ‘Urban Heat Island Effect’.
  7. Each of these 126-year-old Plane Trees has a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), and is in our Conservation Area.
  8. These trees are vital to the wellbeing of every person who lives, works or studies in our community
  9. Harming these trees would breach Cambridge Local Plan 2018 policies 55, 56, 61, 67 & 71 and, being within the Eastern Gate Opportunity Area (p89) policies 14 & 23, as well as the National Planning Policy Framework [Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, December 2023] ¶96abc, ¶97abc and ¶102 (pp28, 29).
  10. In 2006, 2007 & 2008, in connection with another planning application (06/0567/FUL), the City Council’s own tree expert repeatedly stressed the importance of preserving all the trees on St Matthew’s Piece, both individually and as a group – these trees have only grown in importance since then.

  • Follow this link: 24/0413/TTPO | The works involve digging a trench to severe [sic] roots of protected trees 
    OR: search on the planning portal for 24/0413/TTPO2.
  • In order to comment you must be registered.
    If you’re not already registered, start with this registration link on the planning portal.
  • Go back to 24/0413/TTPO, and choose the tab for Comments.
  • Select Make a Comment.
  • Type in your comment.
    You might like to draft your comment in your preferred word processing app (Apple’s Pages, MS Word, etc) in case of any glitch on the Planning Portal. When you’re satisfied with your wording and have corrected eny mystaikes any mistakes and typos, you can copy’n’paste into the box on the Planning Portal.
  • Every adult in your household may register and comment.
  • You should receive a confirmatory email immediately; if not, something went wrong, find the comment tab and copy’n’paste again.
  • If you continue to experience difficulties, you can email planning officer citing 24/0413/TTPO. Once again copy’n’paste your comments into the email. You must include your full name and postal address.

Previous posts about the three trees:

The area around St Matthew’s Piece lies in the bottom 20% nationally of the ‘Environment Domain’ in the government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation. Read more on the history of St Matthew’s Piece, on the St Matthew’s Piece Timeline 1890–2020.

Local residents have been fighting to protect and conserve local amenity and environmental assets via Friends of St Matthew’s Piece since 30th April 2020 – and, before that, via Petersfield Area Community Trust, since 1998). Friends of St Matthew’s Piece stand on the shoulders of the giants who, 100 years earlier, in 1898 had established St Matthew’s Piece. This included planting the magnificent London Plane trees that provide all of us with such wonderful benefits today.

To be kept up to date, please email and ask to be added to the FoSMP Supporter’s List. You will be led through a GDPR-compliant sign-up process. This will make sure you receive very occasional email updates on issues like this one.

If you would like to join Friends of St Matthew’s Piece or assist in any of the issues raised in this blogpost, kindly hosted by Mill Road Bridges, please use this email link.

Mill Roaders needed for PhD Research

Kieran Gleave, a second-year PhD student at the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge writes:

I am conducting part of my PhD research in Cambridge’s Petersfield and Romsey areas. Through my data collection, I aim to explore the relationships that community identities within the Mill Road area have with the ‘everyday’ traces of the industrial past. In essence, I’m trying to understand how the remnants of the industrial past inspire or shape what it means to belong to a community within the area. 

To collect my data, I’m recruiting local people to get involved with my project by participating in one-to-one interviews.

Kieran Gleave
Poster advertising the research.
Details as in accompanying text.

Kieran seeks to recruit local people who feel a sense of belonging to a community within Petersfield and Romsey to participate in one-to-one interviews for PhD research between June and October 2024. The research aims to explore how the ‘everyday’ traces of the industrial past inspire what it means to belong to a local community within the area.

The research will be through informal one-to-one interviews, of between 30 – 60 minutes, talking about:

  • The community or communities to which you feel a sense of belonging;
  • What it means to belong to these communities;
  • The relationships your community has with the industrial past.

If you are interested in participating, or in learning more about this research, please email Kieran Gleave at

If somebody you know might be interested in participating in an interview, or in learning more about this research, please forward this blogpost to them.

‘Heritage-making’ in Cambridge

Rana, a Master’s student at the Department of Archaeology (Heritage Studies) at the University of Cambridge. Has been in touch.

As caption
Mill Road Central Mosque dome, seen from roof-height

I am conducting research on ‘heritage-making’ in Cambridge, looking at the Cambridge Central Mosque in particular and how locals respond to/ engage with the space. This is in relation to broader community and cultural relations in the city.

Rana, MPhil Heritage Studies, University of Cambridge

Rana is hoping to contact individuals in the Mill Road “Community of Communities” who might want to take part in her research.

Taking part in Rana’s research would consist of a chat (around 30 minutes) either online or on the phone.

Rana adds that she would also be happy to meet in-person at the Cambridge Central Mosque, Mill Road, and show them around. She is looking for a diverse range of participants local to the area – no specialist or previous knowledge needed – just anyone who is local and enthusiastic about Cambridge!

If you’re interested, contact Rana through this email link, before 28th  June 2024. She will get in touch to organise a chat.

Rana would also really appreciate you forwarding this blogpost, or the email link to anyone else who you think would be interested in contributing to her research.

See our other posts on Mill Road Central Mosque:

See also the Cambridge Central Mosque website.

BBC Make a Difference Awards

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
Know a local hero in Cambridge?
Make a Difference Awards 2024
Other details as per caption and subsequent text
Click the image above to visit the BBC Make a Difference Awards website
and to read full terms and conditions

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire are searching for local heroes to recognise their efforts.

There are Great Neighbour Community and Volunteer categories for people/groups who help those around them.

Visit the BBC Make a Difference Awards website for category list, terms and privacy notice.

Ed Lloyd Jenkins

Many of us will have fond memories of Ed Lloyd Jenkins. And Mill Roaders may wish to attend Ed’s Memorial Service at St Philip’s Church, 185 Mill Road, CB1 3AN on Saturday, 24th February at 4:30pm.

Photo of Ed with accompanying text:

In loving memory of
Edward Lloyd Jenkins friend, neighbour and Cambridge community champion
Memorial Service
Location - St Philip's Church,
185 Mill Road, CB1 3AN
Date - Saturday, 24 February
Time - 4:30pm
To share your memories of Ed please feel free to add to this online message board

Memories can also be added to this Facebook page for Ed. And appreciative comments can be added below this post.

Mill Road History Society hopes to post a tribute page on the Capturing Cambridge website and there are plans to collate as many of Ed’s poems as possible – anyone with one is asked to email it, along with any photos or memories of him, to

Cambridge Independent’s Paul Brackley contacted Mill Roaders to compile this lovely piece – Tributes paid to Edward Jenkins: A figure as unique as the community he loved in Mill Road, Cambridge By Paul Brackley – 26th January 2024. We couldn’t better this, so we won’t try.

See also Ed’s poem MILL ROAD 2018 on the Mill Road Poetry page, and The Road – The Film (2013) in collaboration with John Caldwell.

EcoChic Fashion Event

The call went out to Mill Road area’s fashionistas to try their luck as models for the forthcoming Mill Road Preloved Fashion Show.

Organisers were overwhelmed as nearly 40 men and women of varying ages, styles, heights and ethnic heritages – credible super models every one – turned up for the casting event at the Mill Road Community Centre.

Poster illustrating people modelling chic clothing.
Saturday 2 March, St Barnabas Church
Doors open: 6pm Fashion show: 7-9pm
Tickets: £5 (or donation)
Other details in accompanying text.
The event is part of Love Mill Road’s Fringe Celebrations
Click the image above to view/download a printable PDF to display in your window

For full details and to book tickets, click through to the Mill Road Fringe’s Mill Road EcoChic Fashion Show page.

Despite the models’ diversity there are uniting features; all participants love Mill Road and walked with elegance; candidates expressed their love of pre-loved clothing in advance of their screen shots and turns on the catwalk.

It was interesting to learn why they all preferred charity shop and other pre-loved clothes.

Kitty told Mill Road Bridges that she had always worn pre-loved clothes. As a child in Essex her mother would get outfits from Ebay because they searched for quirkiness. Now, as an adult, she continues to shun new clothes.

Pam Wesson, a well-known local trader in pre-loved fashion, is attracted by value and quality, brand-new Amani suits for around £50 for example. She enjoys acknowledging provenance and when she is selling at her outlets she often mentions previous ownership.

Emma and Nicky have collected so many fabulous garments that they now concentrate on looking for statement jewellery; whereas younger people are motivated to get a basic wardrobe economically.

Naturally many participants are motivated primarily by sustainability. Academics and administrators from both our universities were present at the audition. They seem to choose pre-loved to relax in for ethical reasons even if they buy high end High Street and tailor-made suits for work.

Carol’s relationship with preloved fashion stretches back many years, as a young single parent she would dress her children in items from jumble sales out of economic necessity but never resented doing it. Jumble sales gave way to charity shops and styles change but, although she found herself on a firmer footing financially, she refused to buy distressed jeans with holes and grunge shirts at high street prices.

Mill Road EcoChic showcased clothes and accessories from Mill Road’s charity and vintage shops on the catwalk, alongside local designers who specialise in sustainable fashion.

  • Photos of catwalk event
  • Photos of catwalk event
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  • Photos of catwalk event
  • Photos of catwalk event
  • Photos of catwalk event
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  • Photos of catwalk event
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  • Photos of catwalk event

The show offered a unique and memorable celebration of creativity and sustainability, reflecting the diversity and independence of Cambridge’s distinctive Mill Road neighbourhood, featuring stylish, exciting finds curated by enthusiastic fashionistas and modelled by local real people.

Stylish, exciting finds curated by enthusiastic fashionistas and modelled by local real people.

Mill Road EcoChic Fashion Show provided: 

  • pop-up stalls focused on sustainable fashion
  • a spectacular catwalk fashion show featuring clothes from Mill Road’s fabulous charity and vintage shops
  • food & drink – pizzas from Scott’s All Day and drinks from Bacchanalia.

For full details and to book tickets, click through to the Mill Road Fringe’s Mill Road EcoChic Fashion Show page.

For any other information email

EcoChic Fashion Show

Poster illustrating people modelling chic clothing.

Your spotlight moment has arrived! Mill Road Fringe are looking for models for the Mill Road Eco-Chic Fashion Show in March. Please register your interest by emailing and come along to the Mill Road Community Centre (behind the Old Library) on Sunday 21st Jan between 2.00 pm and 4.00 pm to sign up. All genders, ages (18+) and sizes are welcome.