Let's make Hobson Square the vibrant centre of our community!

Hobson Square should be the vibrant centre of the local community well beyond the Clay Farm development in Trumpington in which it is located. The square sits right next to the Guided Busway, in between Trumpington's centre and Addenbrooke's site. It already has the Clay Farm Centre, a library, supermarket, GP surgery and pharmacy. The square itself is now administered by the City Council while surrounding streets and parking bays are still owned by developer Countryside.
Why have the two shop premises on the south side of Hobson Square been empty for several years, despite interest from local businesses to fill them, e.g. with a hot food take-away or a coffee shop? The original plan was to attract a "big" business, e.g. a take-away food chain. However, interest faded for example because of the lack of parking spaces for e-scooters needed by delivery services. For independent traders, the costs of starting a business there are high. The premises are currently in shell-and-core state, and would require about £140k to fit out (plus rent £25k pa and deposit), and business rates unknown prior to opening business. Following our campaign to fill the premises, the City Council is now considering contributing financially to the fit-out costs, but this depends on what exactly is going to happen and the council’s financial situation. There are ongoing negotiations with an independent local retailer about unit 4 (hot food take-away). Unit 3 is different (license A2, financial and professional services, as pre-agreed by stakeholders), for which fit-out costs will be lower but still £50-100k. There is currently one interested business for these premises.
Why did the food vans disappear from Hobson Square? The food vans have overwhelming suppport from the local community. They used parking bays that are owned by developer Countryside. After a complaint from a resident, Countryside did not allow the food vans on their parking pays any more. Cllr Hauk has since negotiated a license agreement for the food vans with Countryside, i.e. in principle the food vans are allowed back to the square. Unfortunately, post-pandemic it is hard to guarantee that the parking bays are available for the food vans at he desired times. We are working with local volunteer groups to find a solution. We are also talking to council officers about options to allow food vans onto the square itself.
A rather empty Hobson Square
Cllr Hauk in front of the Clay Farm Centre
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