Developers confirm Art Deco cinema to be replaced by spreadsheet block…

…unless enough of us can persuade councillors that this would be a bad idea. (And ditto a planning inspector because I’d expect the developers would appeal given the £sums involved)

“What do they want to replace it with?”


Above – the proposals at

Don’t like the proposals? Have your say in their survey here.

Alternatively, Go and meet the project team behind the proposals. Apr 19, 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM, Cambridge, Corn Exchange St, Cambridge CB2, UK

Or go the whole way and make new building designs a local election issue by standing as an independent candidate (see the forms here – you’ve got until 4pm Tues 04 April 2023 to return the forms to Mandela House in Cambridge, (so…under 24 hours at the time of writing) to find two people to nominate and second your candidacy! Note because of the tight control ministers have on the planning system (the Tories accepting big donations) the main aim is to get local party candidates to commit to getting their senior politicians to overhaul the system – which needs to happen anyway following Grenfell & the inquiry hearings.

At the moment issues around our built environment are not being raised by the political parties.

“To quote Antony, Cambridge is currently “a small city, with a global brand, governed like a market town”. Yet I can’t see any discussion of the possibility of exploring such a rationalisation in the election literature now dropping through our doors.”

Cllr Sam Davies MBE (Ind – Queen Edith’s) 02 April 2023

Want to raise these issues? See – the one thing you can ask for is a public commitment that candidates will feed back your concerns to their national policy units in their political parties, and ensure you get a response back from them. After all, Labour is consulting on its general election manifesto – see here, esp if you are a Labour Party member as it covers how to have your say. (Cambridge Greens are here, Cambridge LibDems are here, and Cambridge Tories are here)

The initial designs for Hobson Street are not new – the proposals were first publicised in October 2021.

Above – from ‘Save Cambridge’s Art Deco Cinema‘ 06 October 2021

Before the proposals came out, I made a series of videos and tried to make the case for regenerating Hobson Street in favour of pedestrians. See my blogpost here. Also, it’s not like I didn’t ask public questions either.

Above – me in 2016

This is what we’re losing.

You can see more photos here

“What are they giving us instead?”

Bland s…tuff.

Above from the developers back in late 2021 – a huge missed opportunity to provide some large meeting space both for private and voluntary sector because of the bubbles in land and office space values.

The international property bubbles in land, housing, high grade office, and sci/tech lab sectors are breaking our city

And this will continue so long as our city is imprisoned within obsolete governance structures.

Above – why do Conservative ministers think this is a sensible structure to run a city with a globally-recognised name like Cambridge?

If you live in South Cambridgeshire or South East Cambridgeshire constituencies, you can ask your local MPs. See

With it being the run-up to the local elections, now is the time to make your views and presences known – whether to the candidates or within your communities. Given that this might be the last set of local elections before the general election, what’s the one small action or behaviour change you can undertake – or do differently with this set of elections? It could be as simple as buying and reading some books introducing you to politics & the law – ie things that ministers didn’t include on the curriculum when I was at school in South Cambridge in the 1980s & 1990s.

Above – by Usborne – suitable for adults too!

“Do noble deeds not dream them”

By the Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council, Cllr Stephen Ferguson (Ind – St Neots) at Octavia Hill’s hometown of Wisbech. (She founded the National Trust)

My take? We need to Dare to dream in the first place. As another famous local woman from our more recent past sang to the world in the Year 2000.

Above – the late Dame Olivia Newton-John (born Cambridge, 1948) at the Sydney 2000 Olympics opening ceremony. (Put headphones on or hook up to big speakers to get the full effect!)

Food for thought?

If you are interested in the longer term future of Cambridge, and on what happens at the local democracy meetings where decisions are made, feel free to:

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