MP Julian Huppert is fighting plans to redevelop Mickey Flynn’s American Pool Club site in Cambridge’s Mill Road fearing that they threaten the individual character of the area.
Julian has lodged his objection with Cambridge City Council as it considers two wide-ranging change of use applications for the site – one for a shop and one for offices, café or bar.
He is worried that the plans do not address the need to protect Mill Road’s character or “safeguard the independent, cosmopolitan feel of the street” as laid down by the Cambridge Local Plan.
“Mill Road is a thriving place for independent traders and I want to see it stay that way,” said Julian. “But they are constantly coming under threat from planning applications that could change the whole ambience of the place.
“I am worried that these plans could lead to another supermarket chain moving into Mill Road seriously threatening the small businesses there.”
Julian has been campaigning to protect the city’s independent traders and, together with Lib Dem Councillors proposed the so-called Cambridge Amendment to the Localism Bill to change planning laws to help them.
He followed that up with a Private Member’s Bill and launched his Discovering Cambridge competition to celebrate their contribution to the city.
Julian is also worried that the current plans could threaten the public’s safety because he says Mill Road is narrow and busy being used by cars, buses, cyclists and pedestrians.
“There is a safety issue here,” he said, “if lorries need to stop to make deliveries. I am concerned that this adds to an already congested area of the city where cyclists and pedestrians are vulnerable against larger, heavier traffic.”
And he is concerned that, if approved the plans would lead to the loss of Mill Road’s only leisure facility.