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CABE refuses support for Rogers in Cambridge - image

Richard Rogers' ambitious proposals to transform a key area around Cambridge Railway Station ( Rogers takes on huge Cambridge project) have been heavily criticised by CABE's design review panel.

The design watchdog said it was unable to support the £725 million regeneration scheme because of concerns about the height of the project and the possible overdevelopment of the site.

Drawn up for the Ashwell Property Group, the long-awaited scheme in south-east Cambridge is expected to deliver 1,000 new homes as well as a mass of office and retail space.

However, CABE has queried key elements of the initial plans, branding proposals for 10-storey office blocks 'too monumental' and condemning the location of the affordable housing units.

A report from the design review panel states: 'We are not convinced that the right building type has been chosen to provide high density at an appropriate scale.

'While we accept the premise that high-density development is desirable at major transport hubs, we consider that the quantum, scale and massing of the development is too great for the character of the area.'

The report continues: 'We are particularly concerned about the height of the proposed buildings opposite the station and feel the massing strategy of stepping up towards the station is not successful.'

It was not all bad news for Rogers. CABE admitted the scheme should be applauded for its approach to landscape design and its urban structure.

A spokesman for Richard Rogers said: 'We welcome CABE's commendation of our scheme for Cambridge, in particular the '...inherent strengths in its urban structure, landscape design and access strategy...'

'We are confident that we can achieve a scheme which reflects both the local authority's vision for Cambridge and Ashwell's own aspirations as a developer to transform an area which is clearly in need of significant regeneration.

by Richard Waite

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