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Successful Planning Outcome

Intelligent design rewarded by common-sense decision

Cambridge City planning committee has overturned a recommendation by the planning officer to refuse planning permission for a site on East Road, opening the way for development of the Motor ACE site as proposed by Cambridge architects, Freeland Rees Roberts.

The planning committee accepted the design put forward by Freeland Rees Roberts, of 11 two-bedroomed apartments above two commercial units at street level, as a workable, attractive and intelligent solution for the regeneration of a tired commercial site in a prominent, main-road position.

The site is not without its sensitivities. It sits within the envelope of the Eastern Gate Development Framework, itself no stranger to political and public controversy. There is a small terrace of houses behind the site which stands to be overlooked. Furthermore, it is a site within a site, constrained as it is on three sides by Mackays, another commercial presence, and on the fourth side by East Road itself.

A further complication and one  addressed neatly by the final design was how the development of the Motor ACE site might at some future time dovetail  with any development of the Mackays site to make a harmonious whole. In this, Freeland Rees Roberts was helped by having already created, in 2010, a proposed design for the development of the Mackays site, which, although not yet finalised, has shaped the thinking behind the design of its neighbour.

The decision by the planning committee to grant planning permission has been welcomed by Freeland Rees Roberts and its collaborative partner, Beacon Planning. Work is likely to begin in later in the year.

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