The new Queen Edith … opening up soon

qe2_3264SmThe new pub on Wulfstan Way is looking more and more like a welcome house, and we are looking forward to enjoying a drink there soon. Another good sign is that the owners have submitted their licence application – have a look here: Queen Edith licence premises licence application and comment if you wish to by 17th March.

The Focus Team was in Wulfstan Way today and by chance, so were Richard and Helen, from the company that owns the pub, and they kindly showed us round. They told us completion could be late April or early May.

 

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: http://www.danescroft.co.uk/project-profiles/current-projects/queen-edith/. 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.

Another round for the Queen Edith

Lib Dem Focus Team outside the old Queen Edith in 2003

Many people will remember that in November 2010, the City Council’s South Area Committee, chaired by myself, turned down an application to replace the Queen Edith pub with a purely residential development. We argued that the pub was an important community facility, as there is no other public house nearby, nor anywhere else serving food and drink in the evenings.  You will also remember there was a vigorous local campaign to keep the pub, with a 271-signature petition in its support.

Sadly, the Queen Edith closed in December 2011 for financial reasons. It was acquired in March 2012 by Danescroft Commercial Developments Limited. Danescroft have now applied for planning permission to redevelop the site. They propose to replace the existing building with a new community pub incorporating staff accommodation, plus 12 2-bedroomed flats. They have consulted widely already, so you may already have seen their ideas. Residents on Wulfstan Way and Queen Edith’s Way closest to the pub have been notified by Cambridge City Council.

The most noticeable difference between their proposals and the existing set-up is that the new pub will be at the front of the site and be seen from Wulfstan Way – more attractive than cars to look at when walking past, and more welcoming to customers. Cycle and car parking will be behind the pub – but fewer car spaces than at present, as it is less usual to drive to the pub these days. The flats have their own parking.

One unusual feature of the new pub is a ‘green roof’, which will have plants growing on it. This will absorb rainwater, provide insulation and have other environmental benefits.

You can look at the plans at the City Council’s Customer Services Centre in Regent Street, or on the council’s website http://idox.cambridge.gov.uk/online-applications/ (key in the application reference number 12/1616/FUL). It is expected that the application will be decided by the Council’s main planning committee, at the Guildhall.

Comments are accepted until 29th January.

To comment on the application, write, quoting the reference 12/1616/FUL, to:

Head of Planning

PO Box 700

Cambridge CB1 0JH

The application will be decided in February, by the main Planning Committee at the Guildhall.

 

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.

Defend local pubs and independent shops

On Tuesday 10th July Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, Julian Huppert, will propose new measures to defend local pubs and independent shops from being taken over. Under the current system, councils and local residents often have no opportunity to stop the process.

Julian will ask to bring a Bill preventing the demolition or change of use of a pub or local independent shop without planning permission. Planning permission would also be needed before premises or land could be used for a supermarket.

If you agree that pubs and independent shops need greater protection against being lost, please sign Julian’s petition here.

Cheers to the Council: have your say on defending pubs in Cambridge

Queen Edith’s residents will remember the public concern two years ago, when Punch Taverns, the owners of the old Queen Edith wanted to knock the building down and replace it with housing. As councillors we supported the strong local opposition to getting rid of a pub, and we argued that the pub was an important community facility. See previous post.

Sadly, even though we were able to defeat the planning application in 2010, the Queen Edith closed because of other problems. Unless and until the Queen Edith’s re-opens, there is not a single pub in this ward. Pubs provide an important community hub, and the principle that pubs matter though, is still one I vigorously defend.

Too many pubs are closing in the city, and it’s important to give them some protection. Liberal Democrat-run Cambridge City Council is proposing a new planning rule to say pubs can only be turned over to housing or other uses if they are no longer needed as pubs. Anyone wishing to change the use would have to justify their proposals.

The Council is running a consultation until 27th July. To express your view on the new rule, please comment on the City Council’s website, or if you prefer to write a letter, drop it in at the Council’s Customer Service Centre, or send it via the Queen Edith’s Focus Team.