A dragon's best friend

Developers accused of ‘designing in crime’

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Summary

Instead of a new buzzing civic hub as promised in 2006, Cambridge Station development has ended up as a place where Cambridge Police now have to direct extra resources – at taxpayers’ expense.

In 2006 this was what was promised – and got planning permission.

Then the original developer (Ashwells) went into administration, a new developer emerged from the ashes (Brookgate), and the next thing we know the commitments for the public civic square evaporate and we’re left with a site that has crammed in as many people as possible onto a small a site as possible, and to no one’s surprise, local council meetings now regularly have reports from the police about criminal activities in the area.

T/DI Nick Skipworth reports about women being trafficked into ‘pop up brothels’ on the CB1 estate by Cambridge Railway Station.

At the same meeting (see the papers here), we heard how the same developers had applied for funding to mitigate the problems created – ones that should have been designed out rather than as they had done, designed in.

Sam Davies’ questions to Cambridge councillors in South Cambridge. 

Two former Mayors of Cambridge, Cllrs Rob Dryden and Russ MacPherson were scathing in their attacks on the developer Brookgate, stating that Brookgate should pay for the mitigation themselves.

Angry – Cllr Rob Dryden (Labour – Cherry Hinton)

Former Conservative councillor for Coleridge Ward Chris Howell blogged back in 2008 about the problems of the various designs of the buildings around the station.

A tragedy he was ignored. See his blogpost here.

Furthermore, Richard Taylor also wrote extensively about the problems of the developments – see here. See also the various posts by local historian Allan Brigham on his FB page Town Not Gown Tours.

I noted the corporate investors behind the CB1 development are these:

Post-development evaluations

One of the things I’ve not seen much of is any evaluation of the new developments in Cambridge – in particular surveying the people who move into the new developments. One thing I’d like to see councillors commissioning are evaluations of developments. For this one given its scale and given the issues raised by the police repeatedly in recent times, there need to be some serious soul-searching and lessons not just learnt but applied by the various institutions concerned – including housing ministers and The Treasury.

Profits 2015 & 2016 from Group of Companies Accounts Jan 2017

Because in somewhere like Cambridge, the financial incentives are as such that it’ll happen again and again.

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