The owner of a cafe that has been in business for 13 years has spoken of his shock after finding out Cambridge City Council was planning to demolish the building.
The City Council announced this week that it hopes to demolish the existing building at 47-51 Norfolk Street – which houses the Box Cafe and other businesses – and create around four new commercial units, including a cafe and an improved local centre, and about seven new homes.
Ozy Ozcam runs the Box Cafe which, according to the proposal, would be toppled to make way for development.
Ozy rents the unit and knew the lease was due to be renewed in August next year, but was stunned when neighbors showed him a leaflet about the council’s development proposal.
He said: “We went through all the emotions about it. We are sad and worried. We’ve been here a long time and ours is a kind of business that’s hard to transport to another place. It’s not like an office. We couldn’t manage from home for a few weeks or something. Our customers are local and we have become part of our local community.
“We will go to the consultation meeting on Tuesday and try to better understand what is going to happen.
“We knew the lease was coming to an end, but in previous years it was just renewed. I don’t know what we’re going to do – we have no plan in place. I don’t know if my wife and I could open up elsewhere or if we had to completely change careers. We have kids at school in Cambridge so we need to stay in that area.
“The flyer says there will be a cafe in the new development. Maybe that could be us, but it depends on how long the construction works are and how viable our stay will be. We don’t know. People locals were very nice to us about this and we are all shocked I think as we have been here a long time it would have been nice if someone had talked to us so we didn’t have to inquire with our neighbors.”
A consultation event on the Norfolk Street plans will take place on Tuesday November 8, hosted by Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP).
Residents who turn up will also be able to see proposals for a separate site at East Road where there are proposals to build 40 homes on a site in Cambridge where high winds have caused structural damage to a block of garages.
The walk-in event will take place from 3-7pm at St Matthew’s Church in St Matthew Street, where the project team will be on site.
A survey allowing residents to give their opinion will be posted after the event on a dedicated website at https://eastroadandnorfolkstreet.co.uk.
Storm Eunice caused a wall to collapse at the Staffordshire Street block of garages, adjacent to East Road, on February 18, leaving it structurally unstable.
CIP, a partnership between Hill Development and Cambridge City Council, offers up to 40 homes with ‘high sustainability standards’, as well as new public realm, commercial units, new roads to improve connectivity and wider real estate improvements.
Cllr Gerri Bird, Executive Adviser for Housing at Cambridge City Council and CIP Board Member, said: ‘We hope to see as many residents as possible at our in-person event to give them the opportunity to meet our project team and to discuss the proposals as well as the answers to your questions.
“We know that any redevelopment project in an area can be disruptive, but our teams are committed to working with the local community to support and minimize this as much as possible.”
Tom Hill, Hill’s Regional Manager, said: “As part of our ongoing program as a partnership, we are committed to providing sustainable, affordable and private high quality homes, as well as improving the public realm and to create new commercial and community facilities. We look forward to hearing the local community’s views on these proposals and will work together to build on the success of our previous projects across the city. »