Fancy a pint? Decision on a new ‘Queen Edith’ this week

Queen EdithIn three days’ time, we shall know whether we are to have a drinking hole once more in Queen Edith’s.

There was for many years a pub called The Queen Edith in Wulfstan Way. The definite article is appropriate, sinced it was the only pub in the Queen Edith’s ward.. The owners, Punch Taverns, didn’t support the pub properly, and in 2010 they applied to Cambridge City Council to knock it down and sell the site for housing. The application went to the South Area Committee in November 2010, which I chaired at that time.

Planning officers recommended councillors accept the application; however, we threw it out because we believed that the pub represented an important community facility – see previous post.

Sadly, although we had rescued the pub from the JCBs, we didn’t manage to save it from the VAT man. Just a few weeks later, the pub closed for financial reasons and it’s been boarded up ever since.

In 2012, it was sold to Danescroft Commercial Ltd who also have designs on the site: They too have applied to knock down the existing building, but the difference between Danescroft and Punch Taverns is that they plan a mixed scheme – 12 flats plus a new community pub with accommodation. That is what councillors will vote for or against on Wednesday.

The planning officer handling the application is recommending approval on the basis that ‘the redevelopment will provide a new public house, thereby retaining the existing community use on the site’. See the City Council’s website for the full report.

A Queen Edith II?

The Queen Edith Public House on Wulfstan Way closed at the turn of the year. I miss it.

Readers will remember that the previous owners, Punch Taverns, made an unsuccessful bid to demolish their pub and replace it with housing. This was vigorously opposed by local residents, and when it went to the Cambridge South Area meeting for decision, was rejected by councillors.

Despite being saved from the JCBs, the pub later fell to the VAT-man, and all this year, we have been without a pub on Wulfstan Way. In fact, there is no pub within the Queen Edith’s ward at all.

So I am pleased to see that the new owners of the property, Danescroft Commercial Limited, are proposing to create a new mixed development on the site, comprising flats and a community pub.

Here is a leaflet outlining their proposals. What do you think?

You may receive a printed version if you live near the site, but Danescroft kindly said we could link to it here as well. Please send any comments in to Mr Andrew Hodgson at the address on the leaflet by 1st November so that local views can inform the detailed planning proposal.

New Sainsbury’s store awarded drinks licence

I attended a hearing of Cambridge City Council‘s Licensing Panel, which granted a premises licence to Sainsbury’s for its new store on the Cambridge Leisure Park. The store is not trading yet, but is likely to open early next year, underneath the budget hotel — and opposite Tesco’s.

As explained in my previous post, the Leisure Park was designated a cumulative impact zone.because of high levels of booze-fuelled crime in the Hills Road/ Cherry Hinton Road area and a high number of places selling alcohol – 17 on the Leisure Park alone, plus wine shops and off-licences nearby. This means that new drinks licences are only issued if the applicant can demonstrate that their operation will not make existing alcohol-related crime worse.

Premises licence applications are not well publicised, and they go through automatically if there are no objections. When I first heard about this one, there were no objections on file, so I put in my own. I did this because first: I cannot see how a new store selling alcohol can avoid making the alcohol-related crime worse, and secondly: because I thought the proposed finish time of 11 p.m. was too late. I asked that if the committee were minded to approve the application, that the drinks sales should stop at 9 p.m., as does the Sainsbury’s in St Andrew’s Street.

There have been three other objections: one from the manager of the Essentialz shop on the Hills Road Bridge, one from the chair of the Rustat Road Residents’ Association, and one from the police. The objections performed a function, as they enhanced the dialogue between the police and the supermarket, so that by the time of the meeting yesterday, the application had been amended for the better, including an earlier closing time of 10 p.m. (for the drinks sales, not the store). There was also an undertaking to provide security guards on Friday and Saturday nights, and to have the alcohol area locked with shutters outside licence hours. There will be no strong beer or cider on sale and Sainsbury’s will operate a policy of asking anyone  looking under 25 to show ID. They will join CAMBAC, (Cambridge Businesses Against Crime).

The police and the residents’ association were satisfied with the changes and withdrew their objections, but the hearing still went ahead, as there were still two objections sustained.

I am impressed with the provisions that have been put in place and I hope they work. Sainsbury’s assured us that they have a national pricing policy and are not likely to get into a price war with Tesco’s (also on the Leisure Park) – but there are other outlets nearby and I hope they behave responsibly too.

We shall wait and see.