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Inspector turns down Robinson College's plans for Romsey Terrace


Planning Inspectorate Appeal Decision


 Appeal Decision 

Hearing held on 23 August 2016 

Site visit made on 23 August 2016 

by Roy Merrett BSc(Hons) DipTP MRTPI 

an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 

Decision date: 27 October 2016 


 Appeal Ref: APP/Q0505/W/16/3145912 

Land to the rear of 27 - 37 Romsey Terrace, Cambridge CB1 3NH 


 The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a failure to give notice within the prescribed period of a decision on an application for planning permission. 



 The appeal is made by Robinson College against Cambridge City Council. 



 The application Ref 15/2355/FUL, is dated 1 August 2014. 

 The development proposed is four dwellings – two semi-detached three bedroom dwellings and two semi-detached two bedroom dwellings and associated amenity space and facilitating development. 




1. The appeal is dismissed.



Romsey Labour shared residents’ disbelief this week on hearing that the central government inspectors are ignoring local requests for a hearing in Cambridge.

Having already seen the developers decide to exploit a loophole in order to take matters out of local hands (http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Decision-Robinson-College-8216-garden-grab-8217/story-29159898-detail/story.html), we had hoped that at least the government inspectors would come to Cambridge to hear submissions from residents, councillors and officers. This was especially the case since East Area Committee (made up of all councillors from Romsey, Abbey, Petersfield and Coleridge) fully supported residents’ request for the inspectors to come to Cambridge, and officers made this known to the inspectors. We are therefore disappointed that there is currently a danger that the case will be decided by written submissions only.

Sophie Barnett, Romsey Labour’s City Council candidate for May 2016, has taken a keen interest in this issue, and is fully supportive of residents’ concerns. She says, “Just like when the external inspector overturned the Council’s decision on the McClaren’s development, this is another example of a planning decision being made by a centrally-appointed inspector rather than democratically-elected councillors. Local residents, in Romsey Terrace and across the City, have many concerns about this development and should be given the chance to present these to the inspector, especially since they have been denied the chance to have their views heard at a Development Control Forum.”

Romsey Labour councillors are working with residents to persuade the inspectorate to change their mind. We will keep you informed on this page.


The Development Control Forum planned for today has been cancelled by Robinson College and they have gone straight to appeal.

In doing this they have first stopped the negotiations taking place with Cambridge City Council Planners.

Second, they have cancelled discussions aimed to find a joint solution by the Development Control Forum which was to take place between them and the residents association in Romsey Terrace.

Third, I hope this is not how the elected representatives on the City Council and the Officers are going to treated in the future? 


This proposal by Robinson College continues with another plan due to go to the Development Control Forum on 9-3-16.  Local councillors are supporting the residents association in this.


We have again met with the residents association and advised them on how they may continue to challenge the development.


"Well I suppose we never really thought this planning application would reflect the view of residents - but we are disappointed that it ignored our views completely"

A quote from a local resident about the 'new' plans by Robinson College for Romsey Terrace sums it all up.  Robinson College's latest PR exercise was hardly glitzy but it was a charm offensive with four very pleasant people helping visitors to 'understand'.

The new plans though were little different to the earlier plans that were withdrawn and represent a gross overdevelopment.  The best thing really is for Robinson College to sit down with residents and try to talk this through.



Cllr. Dave Baigent signed the petition against this development on Saturday.



Plans have now been submitted for the proposed development of five dwellings - two semi-detached three-bedroom dwellings and three terraces two-bedroom dwellings and associated amenity space and facilitating development.


It is likely that this application will be amongst the first to go to the new centralised planning arrangements that were a feature of Labours May 2014 Manifesto.  

I WILL, as promised, be asking for this development to be rejected.


More details can be found by going to the council's planning pages at https://idox.cambridge.gov.uk/online-applications// and entering Romsey Terrace



For a moment it appeared that Robinson College's plans to develop accommodation the car park in Romsey Terrace were on hold, but now the issue has come alive again after residents discovered that agents were resubmitting plans and trying to limit the amount of time for objections. 

A meeting was quickly called by residents and Dave attended along with 10 other local people.

Serious concerns were raised at the meeting about some of the communications between council officers and the agents and these can be found at https://idox.cambridge.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=N33RA8DX3E000 .  There is a lot of documentation here, but people who are involved in objecting may find it beneficial to take the time to read through all of them.

Dave was able to suggest that the campaigners should

  1. try to step up their public campaign,  
  2. ask to meet with the Master and Fellows of Robinson College
  3. take their concerns to East Area Committee.

Roy Stamp is coordinating the action plan and your labour councillors remain ready to help.


IMG_3365.jpg Two of the three residents I met with (23-4-14) 

Round One to the residents of Romsey Terrace  (9-5-14)

There were over 20 objections, by letter, by email or online to the planning application by Robinson College for Romsey Terrace.  They came from concerned residents, mainly in Romsey Terrace and Coleridge Road.

Clearly, residents have made an impact and achieved a great result as the planning officer is going to recommend refusal of this application, which is a great result.



Dave was appalled at the lack of consideration shown by Robinson College for you and the impact on your lives by their proposal.  On the other hand it was impressive to see the way your community acted together, to register complaints and attend the meeting on the 24-4-14 to make your voices heard.

I will continue to keep watch on developments in case there is an appeal, or if other applications are made on this site. If this happens, I will meet with residents again to get your opinions.

I must add that it was impressive to see the way your community acted together to make your voices heard by attending the meeting on the 24-4-14 and registering objections.  I was equally appalled at the lack of consideration shown by Robinson College for you and the impact on your lives by their proposal.  

If I get elected on May 22nd I will continue to stand alongside you in your campaign and under Labour's proposed arrangements for planning I all be able to represent your views.

My campaigns against inappropriate and over-development on Cromwell and Mill Road are both very visible examples of what I am capable of achieving. I am a doer, which is something I've learned from a lifetime of public service.

Politics needs some new faces and I hope you can recognise my sincerity in wanting to be one of those.  If elected I will continue to listen and to represent the voice of Romsey because only by doing that will I fulfil my pledge, which is to work hard to make the ‘town’ where I live a better place.



Dave was invited to an open meeting on Monday (28-4-14) at the Deaf Centre in Romsey Terrace by residents concerned about plans by Robinson College to build 10 flats on a car park and a grassed area.

"I am so glad that I went because there were 40 plus people there who all were very concerned about their loss of car parking space and the extra housing in a road already full." 

This looks like another one of those land grabbing projects that will make money for the owners and fill in another small open space.  How long will it be before the council actually wake up to the fact that these sort of planning applications are not just for 2014 but taking away important spaces in Romsey for ever with all the loss that means for us and our environment? 



The owner of the land is actually Robinson College and they are just acting like speculators - where is their moral compass?

Why is it that Robinson College thinks its OK to take away a car park and a green space to put in more accommodation?  I don't think it is to house their students. I am told that the college want to get planning permission and then sell the land.  If this is right then its about profit and the market is not taking care of residents needs but putting money in developers and Robinson College's pockets.

The LibDem manifesto talks about 'ensuring the city retains its compact character surrounded by green belt' but at what stage will they call a halt?  When will enough be enough? 

I share the residents concerns and will support them. 




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