Council Acting on Student Accommodation


Labour party acting on Student Accommodation.


CAMBRIDGE City Council is commissioning a study to investigate the levels of demand for and supply of student accommodation in Cambridge, and its impact on the local housing market.

Following submission of the Local Plan for examination in March 2014, issues relating to the provision of student accommodation have been raised by local residents and interest groups.

The council also recently received an appeal decision for 315 - 349 Mill Road, where an appeal was allowed for student accommodation on land allocated for housing in the current and emerging Local Plans.

The results of the new study will support the council in dealing with Local Plan hearing sessions on student accommodation, which should take place later this year.

A key outcome of this study will be a greater level of information on the growth of institutions, particularly Anglia Ruskin University, and the need for different forms of accommodation.

The council needs further information to understand whether it is making adequate provision for students over the plan period.

We hope that this study will provide us with a greater understanding of the impact of the growing student population on housing supply.”

The study will be completed later this year and the findings will be discussed at the council’s Development Plan Scrutiny Sub-Committee.



Romsey Labour are still in shock that McLaren were able to overturn the City Council's decision to refuse them planning permission for student accommodation.  

It is a real sign of who the Tory Government represent when their inspector overrules a democratically elected council to allow a speculator to build on a site designated for homes.

I suppose being a labour party member gives me a slightly different slant but I really don't know how these developers sleep at night given they know they are taking houses away from the community and building student flats just to make a profit.  

It has to be said that the LibDems were completely silent throughout this campaign - we would have thought that they would have an argument on this. 

The Cambridge News provides a clear comment on the outcome of McLaren appeal - so follow this link to read it and the inspector's report.


I have tweeted on this

When students ate residents.

There are many advantages 2 living in a university town.

One of them is not when speculators use them 4 profit.






The McLaren Appeal

I spoke at the appeal and Anna Smith sent in a letter that was read out.

I guess my tweet perhaps best sums up how I feel about the process 

"At McLaren appeal - dont understand the technicalities but the process seems 2 be 2 try &grind the city's officer in2 the ground"


What follows is a letter I wrote to the Cambridge News, report supplied by EMRAG and then a Cambridge News Article.

Letter to Cambridge News

Thank you for your report on the McLaren appeal to build student flats on land designated by the City Council for residential accommodation.

What is important to me as a City Councillor is that McLaren’s attempt to hijack land allocated for homes takes no consideration of the needs of the people who want to live and work in Cambridge. 

If this appeal succeeds then it could open the floodgates for even more land allocated for housing to be developed as student accommodation.  All this at a time when we are struggling to provide more homes for people who work in the city.

I have followed this situation from the time when I first met with McLaren and tried to persuade them to recognise that this land was set in the City Plan for housing.  At that time and in two subsequent meetings, aware that we had held a public meeting that spoke against the McLaren plan, they were intransigent – it was their intention to build student accommodation. 

When McLaren pressed ahead, I with a number of others addressed the planning committee before it considered and then turned down McLaren’s plans.

And so we then found ourselves in an appeal with McLaren’s QC arguing points of law on behalf of a company intent on building student accommodation on land democratically designated by the City Council for private accommodation (including at least 40% affordable housing). 

Several local people spoke out against the development at the appeal and I spoke for the people of Romsey.  No one from the community spoke in favour.  ARU never even attended, leaving open our suggestion that this accommodation is not even being built for ARU but for a growing market of crammer and language schools. 

As I told the inspector, in Romsey we were not anti student – students live amongst us and are a growing part of our community.  But what is important is balance: a balance that the City Council was trying to strike between the needs of students and the needs of people who want to live ‘permanently’ in Cambridge.

I went on to say that if this appeal is allowed it would unbalance the council’s plans that were echoing the views of the people of Cambridge.  Views expressed through the ballot box, in formal consultations and on the doorsteps in the democracy that is Cambridge.

Dave Baigent, City Councillor and candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner.


Mill Road: Former garage site now owned by the Co-op

Appeal against City Council rejection of planning application for 270  Student Flats by  Mclaren


Residents have repeatedly stated in surveys and at a well attended public meeting that they would like to see a mixture of affordable and market housing on this site, including much needed homes for families in Romsey. They have also stated that they would like to see open space on the site as there is none in the immediate area.


If Mclaren win this appeal there will be:

  • No residential housing
  • No public open space


A. Is there a  need for student housing on this site ?


1. City Council claim:

i. That ARU only aspire to house 2/3rds of first year students, and that this need is met. The City Council cannot hope to identify land that would accommodate all 7,000 plus  ARU students.

ii. That there is no evidence that building student flats returns previously rented properties to the open market as family homes.

iii. That this site is suitable for at least 33 new houses, and that this is vital if Cambridge is going to meet its housing needs.

iv. Giving permission for student flats on this site would set a precedent that other developers would try to do the same thing elsewhere. Although the number of houses may seem small, most of the other sites available within the city are small, and the arguments used by Mclaren on Mill Road could be applied to these  sites too, leading to a critical shortage of housing in the future.


2. Mclaren claim:

i.  That there is a critical unmet shortage of student accommodation

ii. That building student flats  means houses presently rented by students will return to use as family housing.

iii. That the 'emerging' Local Plan which identifies this site for housing should be given less weight as it was still going through review process.

iv. That the existing Local Plan (2006) is out of date and due to expire shortly.

v. That the existing Local Plan designated use for this site for residential use and affordable housing which 'which could be for ARU' is outdated now that planning permission has been given for the adjoining Mosque


3. Local residents spoke about the need for housing on this site. These included Romsey Councillors Dave Baigent and Anna Smith ; Colin Wiles,  Anne Beamish and Allan Brigham from EMRAG;  Frank Gawthrop from  South Petersfield Resident's Association, and   Shahid Hanif on behalf of the Muslim Academic Trust.


4. Frank Gawthrop provided a well researched information pack for the planning inspector illustrating  that ARU had failed in the past to occupy housing that had been built on the basis that their students would use it. This accommodation was now used by the constantly expanding 6th Form Crammers.


5. Colin Wiles stated that most ARU students could not afford to live in purpose built student accommodation where the rents are approx £9,000 pa.  A shared house is significantly cheaper.




B: Open Space:


1. The Council abandoned  its original objections which stated that the  Open Space on this site was inadequate  in return for a Section 106 agreement guaranteeing financial contributions if Mclaren won. It  is claimed that if the Council had not done this, and then lost the Appeal, it would not have got any financial contribution  in return for Mclaren's failure to provide required open space on the site.  Is this the way to make decisions ?


2. Residents have asked why the City Council has  Open Space standards for new developments when it is  constantly taking cash payments instead ? Too often the money acquired is then used in existing open spaces when the identified need is for more open space close to housing.


2.1  In this case  there is no open space between Coleridge Rd and Montreal Rd – and even the semi-public open spaces provided by the former Romsey School playground and the Royal Standard garden have been lost to housing.


2.3 Putting facilities on Coldhams Common and Parker’s Piece does not  enhance the open space provision for residents of  Suez or Hobart Road. This is what happened with the Royal Standard too, where  developers built over the existing garden. The City Council took a cash payment to put open space somewhere else – definitely not in an easy walk of The Royal Standard.


2.4 Adding new equipment to Romsey Recreation Ground would mean that the park would , as the Council's original case states, ' be likely to be subject to even heavier use than it currently experiences, impacting on the quality and availability of provision'. ( Cambridge City Council Statement of Case: 4 Sept 2015)


 3.  The City Council’s own  Open Space and Recreation Strategy states that if this site comes forward:  'the quality and quantity of open space made available on site should be high in line with the Council’s standards in order to avoid further negative impact on deficiencies in publicly accessible open space in Romsey ward.’


4. It is proposed to spend £30,000  of the Section 106 income  to build  climbing  walls/boulders on Romsey Rec.  Much of the remainder of the income will be spent on Parker's Piece or Coldhams Common.


4.1. The last council Consultation on Romsey Recreation Ground was only five years ago. The Consultant clearly concluded that more equipment on top of that which was in the refurbishment would destroy the character of the various spaces in what is a small and already well-used park (the Council officers had originally suggested a MUGPA  - games area - tennis court,  and other  equipment). 


4.2 The Consultant also defined Romsey Recreation Ground  as a ‘neighbourhood park’. A climbing feature such as that suggested would make it a city-wide attraction and as such could change the character of the park. 


The Future of Romsey Rec: Conclusion. Phil Back.

We are also very mindful of the consultation feedback that indicates that structural changes should be kept to a minimum and that the open space should be conserved in any changes.  We believe that the present structure of the park, with different areas allowing different activities, offers a diverse range of opportunities and should remain.


4.3 The proposal to take Section 106 payments in lieu of open space on the proposed  student housing  site illustrates all the faults of the existing planning process. If the students need recreational facilities they should follow the guidelines defined in the City Council's Open Space and Recreation Strategy ' to avoid further negative impact on deficiencies in publicly accessible open space in Romsey ward.’


East Mill Road Action Group.




Taken from the Cambridge News 

‘Eye-watering’ prices of Cambridge student flats prompts 'gold rush' among developers

By Cambridge News  |  Posted: December 09, 2015

  • McLaren

    Mill Road student flats

 Comments (7)

The "gold rush" by developers to build student accommodation in Cambridge has been condemned by a community fighting plans for hundreds of flats – while the city faces a "chronic shortage" of housing.

There are fresh fears about the recent flood of applications as it emerged some student rooms were being marketed for £13,000 a year – with claims they are destined for use by students at similarly pricey institutions.

Councillors and residents have made their case to a government planning inspector, as developer McLaren appealed against a decision to turn down its plans for 270 student flats in Mill Road.

But the arguments capture a complex debate that has engulfed communities across Cambridge, as developers cash-in on arguably the most lucrative form of development currently available in the city.


This debate includes looming changes to local planning laws, and the expansion of both Anglia Ruskin University and other educational institutions.

Residents at last week's appeal accused Anglia Ruskin of being "extremely disorganised" and "very difficult to pin down" when it comes to their housing policy – prompting questions about who will end up living in these new flats.

"We would suggest there is a gold rush going on of student developers in Cambridge, and that the bigger picture is about the crammers and the language schools," said Colin Wiles, housing campaigner and chairman of the East Mill Road Action Group.

"The needs of Anglia Ruskin are central to this appeal. I think the evidence from the council has shown it's very difficult to pin them down.

"One of the issues that has arisen is Anglia Ruskin has taken on schemes in recent years which they've subsequently passed onto other education institutions such as language schools, or what we call 'crammers', for which there is a huge demand in Cambridge for its status and its brand.

"The bigger picture is that this site will contribute to housing needs in this city. It's an important site, local people want general needs housing and affordable housing on this site.

"They do not want a student housing scheme that will be gated, without any car parking or public open space, and turns its back on the local area."

The Cheddars Lane development was opposed by the community


The raw numbers appear to back the need for more student accommodation.

Figures presented by McLaren at last week's planning hearing say nearly a third of first years at Anglia Ruskin live in the private rented sector in Cambridge.

This compares to an average of 17 per cent nationally, with first years typically housed in purpose-built halls by their university.

The figures also claim Anglia Ruskin will be facing a deficit between students and rooms of more than 8,000 rooms by 2031.

But these figures were contested by the council, Romsey's Cllr Dave Baigent and residents.

Council officer Joanna Gilbert-Wooldridge said the university "has not provided sufficient evidence" of its need, and Cllr Baigent said a third of Anglia Ruskin students lived locally anyway, before they started studying there.

There was also uncertainty about the numbers of Anglia Ruskin students studying part time or doing 'sandwich' courses for only a year, which critics say muddies the figures.

Resident Frank Gawthrop, meanwhile, said hundreds of student rooms had been given up by Anglia Ruskin since the turn of the century at Varsity House.

There is also general uncertainty as to just how much Anglia Ruskin and Cambridge's other education establishments will grow over the next 15 years, or how their housing needs will change.

Steve Bennett, Anglia Ruskin's secretary and clerk, said: "We continue to be supportive of cluster accommodation in locations that are attractive to our students."

He also said it had contractual arrangements for private sector accommodation in the city that restricted their use.

New plans have been submitted for Wests garage in Newmarket Road


Mr Gawthrop went on to highlight the "eye watering" prices of student flats in the city – studio flats at the new Railyard on CB1 cost between £8,200 and £13,200 per year – and the expansion of private institutions such as CATS College.

This caters for students from around the world and charges nearly £30,000 for a single GCSE and A-level course.

It now has capacity for more than 1,000 students.

"If you've got parents who are prepared to provide that kind of cash, forking out that much for a room is really not surprising," Mr Gawthrop said.

"It demonstrates that in the Cambridge housing market, the Anglia Ruskin students can be completely blown away by the crammers.

"I have questioned the officers at Anglia Ruskin about their housing policy and I have to say they are extremely disorganised.

"I don't know if it's they just don't care about their students or don't have the capacity to plan ahead, but my experience is they really don't have a very clear idea of the way forward."

Anglia Ruskin has not taken up its nomination rights for 342 of the 584 rooms at the Railyard, meaning they are not exclusively for its students.

The rents for Anglia Ruskin's nominated cluster flats cost £6,700 per year.

An insider, though, told the News yesterday that the Railyard was full of university students – although this could be about to change.

A concept picture of the proposed new student development at the Histon Road and Huntingdon Road junction


Cambridge City Council planning chief Cllr Kevin Blencowe has defended looming changes that will see student flats marketed to institutions beyond Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin universities.

The proposals are included in the emerging local plan for the city, as current rules restrict new student developments to the universities.

One insider told us the rules had been put in place to restrict the growth of language schools and so-called 'crammers'.

"We're not lifting the restriction – we're just broadening it out a bit, to include the established sixth-form centres that have been here 10 or 15 years," said Cllr Blencowe.

Student flats are now already being marketed to reflect this change in the pipeline.

Evidence submitted by McLaren also says the city council "was unable to obtain reliable data" for the growth of language schools and other specialist schools.

Cllr Blencowe went on to criticise "a disconnect" between Anglia Ruskin, developers and the council over what is coming forward, with many developments predominantly proposing studio flats rather than cheaper cluster flats, where students share a kitchen.

Cllr Blencowe also warned about the "bigger picture" of a relaxation of rules around university expansion, which has given them the ability to offer more courses to more students than ever.

"In national terms I can understand the desire to provide more courses for more students, because we want to increase the skills base," said Cllr Blencowe.

"But in Cambridge we have a complicated source of pressures which are then impacted – there's a huge demand for housing of every need. The more people that compete for that, the more pressure there is."

The Mill Road site is earmarked for more than 150 homes in the emerging local plan – but a much more modest allocation in the currently adopted one.

And McLaren says this means the city council cannot argue the strategic need for this housing, especially as the city is well on course to meet its 'five-year housing supply' as defined by the Government.

Hundreds of new student flats have been provided at CB1


Developers also frequently argue that providing purpose-built student rooms will free up the private rented accommodation currently occupied by students.

But Cllr Baigent said there was a "chronic shortage" or residential accommodation in Romsey, and the whole city.

"I appreciate the efforts of McLaren to get local buy-in with this proposal," he said.

"I have had a number of meetings with them, and at each they have been left in no doubt about the views of the 7,000 voters of Romsey.

"I have pleaded with them to compromise their proposals to represent the city plan. McLaren, however, remain implacable.

"As a politician I have tried hard to avoid this very situation that we are now – but McLaren have refused to budge."

A flurry of 'windfall sites' – those not allocated for a specific reason in the local plan – have been proposed for student accommodation in recent times.

Two of these at the pre-application are also in Romsey, at the NHS site on Vinery Road and at the former Romsey Labour Club on Mill Road.

The latest figures from Cambridge City Council show 2,309 private homes were exempt from council tax as they were occupied solely by students.

In addition, there were a further 1,243 properties designated as halls of residence and 643 'student disregards' where students were living with non-students.

Allan Brigham, a fellow member of the East Mill Road Action Group, recently quizzed councillors on why the restriction on student accommodation being occupied by university students was being lifted.

"There may be an argument for the planning system to look favourably on the provision of accommodation for students at the two universities, as it does in the existing Local Plan," Mr Brigham said.

"But there is no argument to justify including sixth form crammers who are simply using the 'Cambridge' name to charge large fees.

"The proposed change to the local plan simply widens the market for student flats and pushes up their sale value. It is already being flagged up as an incentive to buyers.

"Many local residents would ask why they are forced to live in Littleport or Huntingdon, and to drive back to Cambridge to work or to see family and friends, while students appear to be entitled to live near their place of work."


Anglia Ruskin

Purpose-built student accommodation available to ARU students

Exclusive to ARU

Accommodation Bedrooms
Peter Taylor House 254
Swinhoe Hall 121
Anastasia House 68
Harston House 260
CB1 511
The Forum 111
Sedley Court 150
The Railyard 244
University shared houses 90
TOTAL 1,837

Directly let accommodation not solely for use by ARU

Accommodation Bedrooms
The Railyard 342
Brunswick House 251
Purbeck House 151
Chestnut House 97
Study Inn 220
TOTAL 1,061

Number of student living in the private rented sector

  First-year students All students
  2013/14 2012/13 2013/14
ARU Cambridge campus (no.) 1,135 3,230 3,400
ARU Cambridge campus (%) 29 34.3 35.8
ARU all campuses (%) 25 28.9 30.2
UK average (%) 17 29.9 30.4

An email sent by the university's residential services manager says Anglia Ruskin expects about two thirds of new students to seek university accommodation

The Higher Education Statistics Authority says of Anglia Ruskin's 9,495 students at its Cambridge campus in 2013/14, 29 per cent are likely to live outside Cambridge.

So it is unclear about the future demographics of Anglia Ruskin in terms of a) the number of students who will live outside Cambridge, and b) the number who will rent in the private sector.

Both of these are currently well above the national average for Anglia Ruskin here in Cambridge.

The demand – how much student accommodation is needed?

Cambridge City Council presented these figures to the planning inspector at last week's hearing.

They are based on meeting the University of Cambridge's target of housing 100 per cent of undergraduates and 90 per cent of postgraduates.

It is also based on accommodating the growth of students at Anglia Ruskin – and not dealing with any existing shortfall in student accommodation for ARU.

  2011 Increase 2011 to 2031
University of Cambridge    
Undergraduates 11,948 1,188
Postgraduates 6,295 2,876
Supply of rooms 14,993  
Demand for rooms   17,614
Need for new rooms   3,776
Anglia Ruskin    
Undergraduates 7,600 797
Postgraduates 1,300 632
Supply of rooms 2,000  
Need for new rooms   1,429

However, alternative work submitted by McLaren calls the city council's calculations "incomplete and inaccurate".

It applies the same target of housing 100 per cent of undergraduates and 90 per cent of postgraduates to Anglia Ruskin - resulting in a shortfall of more than 8,000 student beds for ARU by 2031.

  2011 2031 Increase 2011 to 2031
University of Cambridge      
Undergraduates 11,948 13,201 1,253
Postgraduates 6,295 9,354 3,059
Supply of rooms 14,993 14,993  
Demand for rooms 17,614 21,620 4,006
Need for new rooms 2,621 6,627 4,006
Anglia Ruskin      
Undergraduates 7,600 8,397 797
Postgraduates 1,300 1,932 632
Supply of rooms 2,000 2,000  
Demand for rooms 8,770 10,136 1,366
Need for new rooms 6,770 8,136 1,366

The schemes in the pipeline

Planning permission with potential to serve ARU

Hilltop Day Centre – 30 beds

1 Milton Road – 211 beds

Elizabeth House, Chesterton High Street – 261 beds

73 Humberstone Road – 15 beds

Cambridge Railway, Station Road – 351 beds

Cheddars Lane – 318 beds


Other planning permissions

Chancellors Court, Greshams Road – 20 beds

Homerton College, Hills Road – 120 beds

Westminster College, Madingley Road – 9 beds

Bells School, Babraham Road – 100 beds

1-8 St Clements Road – 72 beds

North West Cambridge – 2,325 beds

Homerton Business Centre, Purbeck Road – 132 beds

TOTAL – 2,778 BEDS

Other applications awaiting decision

3 Barton Road (to serve Darwin College) – 26 beds

Castle Court – 342 beds

156-160 Chesterton Road – 41 beds

315-349 Mill Road – 270 beds (application rejected but under appeal)

Wests Garage, Newmarket Road – 200 beds (application rejected but under appeal, new developer also preparing fresh plans)

80 Maids Causeway – 16 beds


From the city council's annual monitoring report

Student units completed April 2011 to April 2015 – 1,810

Number of market houses completed April 2011 to April 2015 – 2,860

"Cambridge has seen significant provision of new student accommodation since 1 April 2011. Between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2015, 1,810 student units were completed.

"At 1 April 2015, there were a further 356 student units with planning permission but not yet built and 914 student units under construction.

"This provides a total of 3,080 student units built or with planning permission by April 2015.

"Significant development has been completed around the Station Area this year and constitutes 576 student completions.

"Major developments currently under construction include: Elizabeth House (1 High Street, Chesterton), which will provide 261 student units; Homerton Business Centre (Purbeck Road), which is set to provide 132 units; and 1 Milton Road, which will account for 211 units.

"There are also four further substantial student unit developments around the city which will account for 302 student units (all figures are net)."

From the city council's officer report about the Mill Road application

"Anglia Ruskin University expects 0.5 per cent undergraduate and 2 per cent postgraduate growth per annum, equating to 1,421 additional students (by 2031).

"They have not supplied data on their expectations of housing them in student accommodation, however Anglia Ruskin University generally houses a lower percentage of students in purpose built accommodation.

"It is noted that Anglia Ruskin University has provided a letter in support of the proposed development and has highlighted the need to accommodate first year undergraduates.

"However, Anglia Ruskin University has provided no information on their overall need for student accommodation and how this relates to their aspirations for growth."







Update 4th March 2015

I spoke from the floor at the Planning Committee today and argued that the existing local plan, the development brief and the upcoming local plan all designate this site for the provision of houses.  I also made it clear that I had in several meetings with McLaren advised them that the people of Cambridge needed houses and yet unfortunately they had continued to push to build rooms for students.

The planning committee turned it down- one libdem voted for it. 

Anna Smith, Dave and Zoe are once again pushing for a buyer to come forward to build houses on this site - it has remained empty for too long.



IMG_5079.jpg IMG_5081.JPG


FEBRAURY 28th 2015 

McLaren's plan for student rooms comes up for consideration on the 4th March at the Guildhall

FEBRUARY 6th 2015





The application plan can be found at the City Council Website

McLaren Planning Statement part one and part two

Romsey Labour met as a matter of urgency to discuss this plan and decided to continue their objections

The McLaren Plan (layout)



The McLaren Elevations




The plan is for this accommodation to be built for Anglia Ruskin Students


 ARU View





Romsey Labour will be meeting as a matter of urgency to discuss this plan - watch this page for further updates












May 2013

Developers plans to build accommodation for 331 students discussed by over 80 people at open meeting


Follow this link for the report of Dave's presentation to the Full City Council on 3rd May 


Planning Statement part one and part two

Listening to the voice of the people of Romsey: Over 80 people attend the open meeting at Ross Street Community Centre on Monday 24th March to discuss the accommodation that is being planned for 331 students on Mill Road  



Over 80 residents attended the meeting about more student accommodation on the Mill Road site next to Brookfields hospital. Dave Baigent organised the meeting to get the views of local residents on this plan by developers for over 300 student rooms.

The developers, McLaren had twice been invited to the meeting, but declined to attend, giving different reasons each time. Planning officers from the city council, local councillors Zoe Moghadas and Catherine Smart , and members of East Mill Road Action Group were present and spoke about the developer’s proposal for over 300 student rooms.

 Most of the speakers from the floor were unhappy with the proposal- a number of issues came up:

Car parking. Many students already had cars, although they were not supposed to. The problem was in monitoring the cars – facilities for this were limited. The new development had no car spaces for students, so this could be a major pronlem.

District Plan

Under the current district plan, the possibility for up to 40% student housing (or affordable housing) could be allowed. But the other 60% must be normal flats or houses.

It was recognised that students do have to live somewhere, but EMRAG Colin Wiles pointed out that in recent years, most of the housing that had been built in the city was for students, not long term residents. Much of the student accommodation was taken up by wealthy students from “crammers” who could afford higher rents, and this was clearly a tempting opportunity for developers. The problems raised by high numbers of students, often in poorly maintained housing was also brought up, eg bins left out, no interest in the local community, high turnover of population leading to lack of community feeling.

The planners pointed out that the proposed development had not been submitted to the council yet – likely to be in by June. The proposal would be coming at the end of the present District plan, when the new one was coming in. This could be a problem.

Many people favoured normal housing for the site, which could still be profitable for the developers.


The chair, Dave Baigent thanked the council officers  coming to the meeting and for their help, and urged people to make their views known using the websites of the developer and the council, completing the feedback forms at the meeting and letting their councillors know. More information would be distributed when the final plan was submitted. 

Dave chaired the meeting and said:

"I am a great believer in Councillor's listening to the voice of the people and after the fiasco of Cromwell Road where residents arguments were ignored I set up this meeting to first listen to what people have to say, then think about it and then find a way to action their thoughts.  Nearly every person who attended spoke and many of them spoke more than once.  Now that is democracy in action.  It became clear from the meeting that people believed that the council had no strategy for student accommodation.  In fact the council couldn't even answer a question asking 'how many students lived in Romsey.'  Given that there is no council tax collected from houses occupied by students, this should have been something that the ruling party should have known.  Getting an answer to this question is a priority because this will indicate if 30% of the residents of Romsey are in fact students as has been suggested." 

Dave went on to say:

"It is time the ruling party listened to the voice of people and properly represented them, and I would argue that their neglect in this area makes it time for a change.  I am arguing to control the 'rogue landlords' that were spoken of at the meeting and the best way to do this is to start by making them register with the council so we know who are the owners of the houses of multiple occupancy.  It is also time to recognise that whilst there is no argument with students per se, we need to be aware of the balance between students and longer term residents.  We also need to recognise that developers are in it for the money not to provide us with a better community; they couldn't even be bothered to attend the meeting and as a resident said, 'developers seem to believe that they can brush us and the council to one-side - after last night I for one will ensure that doesn't happen.  This shouldn't be about party politics but it is.  The LibDems are following the ConDeb government's position, which is to push for the market to take care of our needs.  This isn't happening in Romsey because the developers are only looking after their needs: the Cromwell Road developments, with a lack of green space, insufficient car parking is enough proof that developers are taking advantage!  More importantly it is proof that the council are not prepared to stand up to the developers or to represent their residents!"  























Anglia Ruskin University were invited and sent their apologies and made a comment on their position.

McLaren (the developers) were invited and sent their apologies.  Follow link to see McLaren's refusal and the correspondence.

Anglia Ruskin Students Union were invited and did not respond.

If you are disabled and need assistance then please email Dave Baigent or ring 07802 495 329

The current plans for this development appear at the bottom of this page

Overview of the site in Salmon Pink



Interviews in Cambridge Evening News and the replies indicate a mixed bag of feelings

Comment by Muslim Academic Trust on this development  (10-3-14) this has caused a flurry of replies in Cambridge Evening News.

Comments by Colin Wiles (EMRAG) in the Cambridge Evening News. you may want to read the comments.


Development of the site owned by the Coop in Mill Road some early questions

The residents of Romsey need to ask 'do we want over 331 units of student accommodation that is built right up onto the roadway, if so will it be in a firm relationship with ARU or is it likely that as on other sites this accommodation goes to language schools.  As an alternative would the people of Romsey prefer the developers to submit alternative plans for affordable family housing?

We also need to ask if the developers claim that students will not be allowed cars can be 'policed' and if not what is the likely impact on local parking in the adjacent streets? 

The council have already produced a report on this site suggesting a mixed development.

SO what are the developers planning?

WHO would be able to afford the £150 per week they are suggesting as a starter figure for the rent?

McLaren Property is proposing 331 new student rooms.

The proposal includes:

  • 42 one-bedroom studios
  • 11 studios for disabled residents
  • 98 en-suite self-contained study rooms
  • 180 study rooms in shared townhouses, in a range of sizes
  • Shared amenity space including laundry facilities, common rooms and shared living spaces
  • Secure cycle storage, encouraging active use of cycles by students in residence
  • A total of 331 new rooms arranged inbuildings of up to 4 storeys

There is an opportunity to comment to the developers at

I am very interested to hear residents views - contact me or call round to 96 Cavendish Road. 

There will be many arguments for and against this project and most importantly people need to make their voice heard and the council need to listen. I am tired of hearing about democracy and localism and then finding that at the end of the day the residents voices are ignored. Take the Ridgeons site we collected over 500 signatures against, we made formal responses to the local plan. The LIbDem city councillors did not attend the protest meetings and at the end of the day they passed the draft plan. For my part I believe we need houses to be built for families, but if elected I will represent what the people say and will not avoid protest meetings. 

The Romsey Conservation Area


To follow developments and have a say go to

Links to some of the relevant documents below:

  • The original development brief can be viewed here
  • The local plan that currently applies can be viewed here
  • The latest draft local plan can be viewed here 
  • The group planning to build on this site have produced two documents.  These can be viewed here one  and  two 




The current view from Mill Road



Current plans for this development






Dave Baigent

Dave Baigent took the opportunity to visit the Baptist Church on Mill Road on Thursday to see the 'consultation' on plans to develop accommodation for over 300 students on this site and he really wants to hear your views - write comments below.




Romsey Labour - Knocking on a door near you all the year around.
As the Romsey Candidate people say to me that local politics is about local issues.  I agree, but first you have to recognise that National Politics has a considerable control over the local.  The ConDems set the frameworks and most importantly the budgets.  So when you vote locally remember this.  

Remember also how available your local party or candidate is.  Labour have been door knocking for the whole year.  We do not sit in our office and phone people or simply send out newsletters.  Our structure is transparent and open.  We meet each month as a ward committee and in our constituency committees.  But most importantly we are available to the people of Romsey.  As the candidate I pledge to listen and to act on behalf of residents.



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commented 2017-09-15 15:22:31 +0100
Understudy convenience is getting increasingly consideration nowadays. Similar to a human we as a whole need great convenience for ourselves. The vast majority of the circumstances we can discover understudies looking for pads, lofts and houses at better places as they need to move from all over for their examinations. Everywhere throughout the world understudy settlement wind up noticeably mainstream and best speculation choice. There are many purposes for the expanding interest for understudy pads, flats and other convenience choices.
commented 2015-02-18 04:40:17 +0000
The change in numbers makes no difference to my overall objection that this site should be used for housing and all my earlier objections stand.
commented 2014-03-19 23:13:56 +0000
Anon: Name and address supplied.
I have already aired my views on the council web site, but I would like you to know that I strongly oppose this development. If only 1/4 of the residents have cars it will pose serious problems, and it will be impossible to impose a car ban on those who live there.
Mill road does not need more concentrated student accomodation.
Fewer dwelling should be proposed for family accomodation, in keeping with the area.
Lower rise building should be a priority, we already have the eyesore on the corner of Mill Road and Coleridge road.
commented 2014-03-04 17:37:20 +0000
POINTS MADE BY COLIN WILES (chair of East Mill Road Action Group.)
Colin has made his views clear in the Cambridge Evening News
commented 2014-03-01 10:47:15 +0000
This plan is not in keeping with what we need in Romsey.
Why do developers pretend they are catering for us when in reality they are only seeking to make more profit?
If the council turned down this development and insisted on affordable housing then the price of the site would go down and then a developer could produce houses local people can afford.

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