Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ashwell's Goes Bust - what now for the Station Area redevelopment

The Cambridge Evening News is reporting that Ashwells, developer for the CB1 station area redevelopment, has gone bust. It is as yet unclear what impact this will have on the development plans, but it seems inconceivable that it won't delay things, if not changing the plans more radically.

I commented at the time the application was approved on how much faith the Councils had put in this application from an early stage, and how much they had at stake in terms of meeting their transport infrastructure objectives - so this is yet another fiasco for the Lib Dems running the planning system in Cambridge.

Now it has failed, we need answers to how this transport infrastructure will be provided - not least the very urgent problem of cycle parking which is an absolute disgrace (bike finally released after 3 days - no thanks to the station authorities or the police).

I have just written to the Director of Planning at the City Council:

"Following the financial collapse of Ashwell's reported in the CEN, I would appreciate an urgent update on the Council's current assessment of the impact this will have on the transport infrastructure elements of the project, and in particular the multi-storey car park and increase in cycle spaces. I would describe the latter situation as a crisis, and one that reflects very poorly on Cambridge as a cycling city. Cambridge Cycle Campaign are due to hold a meeting this week to discuss this problem and it really now needs urgent action."

UPDATE: Not sure what Council officers are doing answering emails from Councillors late on Sunday evening, but I've had a reply back already indicating that the latest news isn't expected to be a problem "I believe the announcement last week actually brings the prospect of the scheme forward rather than making it less likely." Have to say I'm a little sceptical at that suggestion...


Tim said...

It was obvious that Ashwell never had the finance or managerial firepower to run a project of this size. A glance at their published accounts and their web site showed that.

How much time and resources has the LibDem City Council wasted on this no-hope scheme? Does it give anyone any confidence at-all that they could direct a huge project like their plans for Cambridge East?

The people in whom the City Council places such confidence are basically the old management in a new guise.

Nick W said...


Another indictment of the incompetence of the Lib Dems economic policy for Cambridge

'Lets build an economy based on house price inflation and shopping'

Perhaps those half wits will finally realise that their Ponzi economic schemes for the City have failed.

Who knows they might even see the worth in real commercial organisations and stop trying to harass productive businesses like Marshalls out of the City.

IMO - good riddance to Ashwells - one less parasite developer building substandard paper mache houses which will be slums in 30-40 years time.