Change of use, office to study rooms: 89 Regent Street

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Added by Rohan Wilson

This comment is on behalf of Sustrans, the charity that’s enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day.

The site is proposed as study rooms for students aiming to enter university. Thus they would be old enough to cycle independently within Cambridge, for example between their places of residence and the various study buildings.

Remarkably, it is suggested (Planning Statement) that the students might park their bikes on Station Road where cycle parking is available, and might be augmented, and walk to the proposed site. This is a distance of 700m, taking 10 minutes at a normal walking pace plus any waiting time to cross the East Road/ Regent Street junction. Any student with a cycle at Station Road would be likely to wish to use it to continue to the proposed site, if parking arrangements provided there were reasonably convenient and secure.

We are told that the Regent Street site is closer to the student residences than Free School Lane, but no more definite information is given as to how far the residences are from the proposed site or from Station Road.

The city's cycle parking standards are presumably set to reflect normal levels of demand from staff and students, and no explanation is given as to why "very few students have bicycles".

The access to the suggested cycle parking in a narrow yard at the rear of the building is presumably the gated passageway to its north. This is not made clear, nor is it clear whether there are steps to be negotiated. It seems impossible that more than perhaps a dozen bicycles could be parked in the yard most of whose width appears to be less than a bike's length, leaving no room for daily or emergency access with the parking arrangement indicated.

The transport aspects of this proposal have not been examined in sufficient detail for their impact to be properly assessed, but it is certain that there is insufficient space for the level of cycle parking required. There appears to be no disabled access. We therefore object.

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