Historic shopping centre project set for green light

August 20, 2010 10:44 AM
Tim Bick

Tim Bick

An ambitious £184,000 scheme to rejuvenate an historic Cambridge shopping area is expected to be given the green light next week.

The major investment project for Fitzroy Street and Burleigh Street is the result of 18 months of comprehensive discussions and consultations with traders and residents.

These talks have been led by Cambridge City Councillor, Tim Bick who is hopeful the project will secure the backing of the council's West/Central Area Committee on Thursday (August 26).

Cllr Bick who represents Market Ward, said: "I welcome this investment in an area which has been in need of regeneration over the past few years.

"We have tried for a simple scheme which introduces new trees, better street lighting and improved street furniture.

"This area has had its share of empty shops during the recent recession but new arrivals like Primark, Clement Joscelyne and Waitrose have shown that confidence is returning. Improving the public area is important to reinforce this recovery by increasing its attractiveness for residents and visitors and encouraging more new businesses."

The project involves the:

• removal of five telephone boxes;.

• supply and installation of surrounds to the base of two trees in Fitzroy Street where roots are lifting the existing paving;

• planting of three new trees;

• renewal of street furniture;

• installation of street directory signs;

• renewal of the existing 1980's street lighting at the lower end of Fitzroy Street with modern lighting to that already replaced in Burleigh Street.

A significant part of discussions about the project has centred on keeping the environment safe.

The police have prioritised dealing with anti-social behaviour in the area and this has had positive results.

The city council's priority has been to remove as many of the existing phone boxes as possible because people no longer need to rely on them to make calls and recently some of them have become a magnet for drug dealers.

Now Cllr Bick is urging the committee to give its support to put pressure on the phone operators to take away more of the boxes.

"I think it's difficult to see how the phone operators can justify their retention just as advertising hoardings when their most notable function is to house such unpleasant activities," he said.

If given the go-ahead, the scheme will be funded by £100,000 from the West/Central Area Committee, £72,000 from S106 contributions and a further £12,000 from the council's Environmental Safety Fund.

Michael Wiseman, Grafton Centre Director said: "I am delighted that after considerable discussions with both local retailers and residents, the city and county councils have put together a plan to improve the streetscape in both Fitzroy and Burleigh Streets and we fully support these measures to improve the appearance of both streets for the benefit of all parties. We look forward to the works receiving final approval and implementation this autumn."

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