Update 17 March 2019

Dear all,

URGENT

Update 17 March, 2019

FeCRA received a request late on Friday asking us to support an application to the Cambridge Future High Street Fund from Cambridge City Council’s Head of Environmental Services  and Ian Davison , CEO of Cambridge BID https://www.cambridgebid.co.uk/bid-team-board-1

We have  posted these documents on our website – see links at the bottom.

We support raising funds if they can be ring-fenced for curating and maintaining the Central Conservation Area, including the Market, in a way that enhances the City and is democratic and environmentally sustainable. The Friends of Cambridge Market have shared concerns with us about the proposals for the market redevelopment, the possible replacement of the cobbles and governance issues. The questions they have submitted are posted on the FeCRA website. http://fecra.org.uk/city-centre-plans/

There have been a number of City Centre Spaces and Movement Workshops held with consultants BDP to develop a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) that will include the Market but there has been no public feedback from the consultants. This work is funded by the Greater Cambridge Partnership. There was no data at the workshops about city centre retail or about footfall, the number of people who need to come into the centre for employment or the impact of greenways that will bring thousands of commuter cyclists into a crowded city centre via the city’s recreational green spaces, some of them with cows – Laundress Green, Lammas Land, Sheep’s Green, Coe Fen. However, the Chair of the College Bursar’s Planning Committee said there will be no new employment sites created in the city centre.

Regarding this application some of you who have seen the draft have said to us that Cambridge doesn’t have a “high street” and it already has a strong “brand”. You have asked ‘where are all these derelict buildings in the city centre? And, what about all the students who live there? Our city centre is far more densely populated than most – or don’t all the colleges count? Cambridge is for working families and students and draws people because of good schools, attractive city and its close proximity to London.We are not a city that is dependent on tourism so it should only be one consideration’. And some of you have asked ‘what about the basic things that could revive the city centre – such as cleaning the streets properly and getting rid of the street clutter?’

Please let us know views and ideas on the working draft ASAP. We need to know views before March 19 so that we can respond.

 

Best wishes,

Wendy

 

Email from Joel Carre , Head of Environmental Services , Cambridge City Council

We are working, with the support of Ian Sandison, CEO, Cambridge BID, to submit an expression of interest (EoI) to the Government’s Future High Street Fund (FHSF) – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-high-streets-fund/future-high-street-fund – by the 22 March, 2019, deadline.

We recognise that competition for FHSF is likely to be fierce; and that Cambridge may not be seen as suffering from such significant challenges as other high streets/ town centres; but, based on evidence of a continuing reduction in retail footfall, increased ‘store’ closures and reduced car parking usage, we feel we can make a compelling case that Cambridge city centre, with its focus on retail and student accommodation, is strategically challenged/ vulnerable and would represent a good return on FHSF investment.  If our EoI is successful, then we will receive FHSF revenue funding to support the development of a full business case over 6-12 month period, with up to £25 million capital funding available.

The EoI has two main sections: our local challenges and our vision and ambition.  It does not require, at this stage, any specifics on proposed projects, budgets or any indication of where match funding may come from.   I have attached our working draft for these two sections for your consideration, though it is worth noting that some supporting data sets are still required.   Other sections contain more statutory information as to who is applying; the area, which is broadly Cambridge city centre, not including the station area; and how the proposal aligns with the priorities of the County Council, Greater Cambridge Partnership and the Combined Authority, hence I have not included these, as they are more factual and not creative.

We are happy to receive any comments on the sections I have sent you.  Should you want to see a fuller version, that will be available early next week, but we hope that the attached summary is sufficient to enable you to determine whether or not you, as a key Cambridge stakeholder, are able to support our proposal.  Please find attached a draft letter of support for you to read, edit, sign, PDF on your headed paper and return to me by close, Wednesday, 20th March.

Wendy Blythe

Chair, FeCRA

Linked documents:

FHSF Summary Application for Stakeholder Support Letters

FHSF Letter of Support

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