Cambridge City Council: Save Gresham House
Gresham House is familiar to those of you who use the pedestrian crossing and bike path from Parker's piece into Gresham Road. This graceful Victorian house built around 1830 sits in its own beautiful walled garden and has many elegant features. The Gonville hotel who own Gresham house, have applied to demolish this house as part of their redevelopment plans for the Gonville hotel which would see it replaced by a contemporary building housing 43 bedrooms and a day spa. Many of you will know how unsympathetically the Gonville hotel has dealt with extending the 19th century house at the centre of its hotel and whist they propose to improve the look of the rest of the hotel in these plans, their intention to demolish Gresham place is harsh and unnecassery. It could form the second beautiful section of the hotel with sympathetic incorporation.
Gresham house is part of the Conservation area of New Town and Glisson Road and although not listed it is identified by the Conservation officer at Cambridge City council as being a “building important to the character of the conservation area.”
The Local residents including those who live immediately next to this house at Gresham Place and on Gresham road are horrified at the prospect of this house being demolished and a large extension to the hotel replacing it. In order to justify their actions the developer and others may claim that the wider public would benefit from the demolition of Gresham house and the redevelopment of the Gonville hotel as proposed in its planning application. If we can demonstrate that the wider public is in fact against the demolition and the redevelopment as it stands and by getting as many people to sign this petition as possible, then it would be much more difficult for the developer and others to argue their case and for the Council to give Conservation Area consent for demolition.
So please help us to save Gresham house by signing this petition and BY MAKING YOUR VIEWS KNOWN FORMALLY TO PLANNING APPLICATION NUMBER 13/0647/CAC ( this deals with the demolition in a conservation area) and PLANNING APPLICATION NUMBER 13/0646/FUL ( which is the application for demolition and the full development) ON THE CAMBRIDGE CITY COUNCIL WEBSITE.
SAVE GRESHAM HOUSE
We, the undersigned, respectfully request that Cambridge City Council refuse Conservation Area consent to the Gonville hotel to demolish all or any part of Gresham House as proposed in Planning application number 13/0647/CAC.We set out our reasons below.
Gresham house is part of the Conservation area of New Town and Glisson road. Although not listed it is recognised in the Conservation area appraisal and by Cambridge City Council Conservation office as a “building whose special character contributes to the conservation area”( Susan Smith. Senior Conservation officer May 29 2013)
Paragraph 4.40 of the Cambridge Local Plan (2006) states that ‘When considering the demolition of buildings, which contribute positively to the character of a Conservation Area, the same tests that would apply to the demolition of a Listed Building will be applied (see Policy 4/10).’
The Cambridge Local Plan (2006) policy 4/10 states that:
‘Works for the demolition of Listed Buildings will not be permitted unless:
• a. the building is structurally unsound for reasons other than deliberate damage or neglect; or
• b. it cannot continue in its current use and there are no viable alternative uses; and
• c. wider public benefits will accrue from redevelopment.’
So these three points above can be used to establish whether or not Conservation Area consent should be permitted for the demolition of Gresham house. Clearly points a and b are not applicable because Gresham house is structurally sound and indeed is currently used by the Gonville hotel for corporate events. Part of the house also houses two tenants. It can clearly continue in its current use or be sympathetically incorporated in the Gonville hotels plans for expansion. The Gonville hotel itself is built around a central 19th century house, which has been incorporated at the front of the hotel which shows that this can be achieved.
This leaves point c, whether wider public benefits will accrue from its demolition and redevelopment. The house contributes significantly to the character of this stretch of Gresham road. The modern style development which stretches way back behind the house and is not in keeping in either style or use of materials of any adjacent buildings, is not of benefit to the character of the Conservation area. This is a residential area and having a large extension to the hotel and a day spa, so close to residential houses, will be disruptive and noisy. This is not a sympathetic modernisation which enhances the local conservation area. The conservation rules set out by Cambridge city council state categorically that “ new buildings and spaces in conservation areas must improve the character of the area”. This will not be the case if Gresham house is demolished and the plans implemented.
Therefore, as none of these points are applicable, it is clear from policy 4/10 that the Council should not give conservation area consent to the demolition of all or any part of Gresham House nor grant planning permission to the Gonville hotel based on the current plans.