Huppert fights on against hotel extension to protect historic city

2 April, 2012 No Comments

April 2, 2012

MP Julian Huppert is fighting on to stop a controversial hotel extension in the heart of historic Cambridge as planners prepare to make their final decision on Wednesday (April 4).

He has been joined by Cambridge City Council Leader, Sian Reid and a host of celebrities, academics and residents who fear the plans for the riverside Double Tree by Hilton hotel will be an environmental disaster.

The Ability Group wants to build a three storey extension to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Granta Place, Mill Lane, adding 31 bedrooms and a new leisure centre.

Julian is sending a letter of objection to Cambridge City Council Planning Committee and has signed a petition, launched by the Residents’ Association Old Newnham (RAON), against the project.

The petition has more than 800 signatures including those of Professor Stephen Hawking, comedian Griff Rhys Jones and director and actor, Michael Pennington who set up the English Shakespeare Company.

Julian said: “If this project were to go ahead it could be damaging for an area of the city which has a natural beauty and truly reflects its history and heritage. Residents and visitors have been enjoying this part of the countryside for hundreds of years and it has remained unspoilt.

“This development could destroy that and its environmental impact would be immense. It would also generate an increase of traffic in an area that already suffers from major congestion.

“I hope the planners will realise that giving their backing to these proposals could worsen part of our city’s heritage and dramatically change this part of Cambridge.”

Cllr Reid, who will speak at the planning committee meeting along with Market ward councillor Andrea Reiner, said: “I am worried that this development will completely dominate this section of the river and obscure the view to some of the history’s most important and historic buildings. This is such a crucial issue and we have to get it right.”

Jane Singleton, Chair of RAON, said: ““This is a sensitive site in a major Conservation Area.  

“Firstly, the common lands within Cambridge are widely acknowledged to be one of the city’s most important resources. Sheep’s Green and Coe Fen are rural; they provide a sharp contrast between the country and the city.  The proposed extension will urbanise this magical corner of the city.

“Secondly, the narrow roads leading to the hotel are crossed by National Cycle routes and used by locals and tourists alike to access the river and the fens. The hotel proposes reducing the car parking.  But it is disingenuous to argue that this will reduce the number of vehicular journeys to the site. Visitors will use taxis and supplies for these extra visitors will necessitate an increase the number or size of service vehicles delivering laundry and food, and removing waste. 

“The hotel’s previous planning application for this site was turned down unanimously by the planning committee. The current proposal is slightly longer than that application. It will be every bit as damaging, and must be refused.”

Anyone wishing to sign the on-line petition can find it here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/cambridgedoubletree2012

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