Cambridge Town & Gown speak out in defence of our art deco cinema building on Hobson Street

Residents from across our city complain about the potential loss of yet another unique civic building

TL/DR? Watch my video below, then tell the developers your views via here. (Actually, look at their proposals first at

Above – me with the ancient St Edward’s Church behind.

I am wearing a white rosette because someone on the internet said it meant you’re an independent candidate.

Why I didn’t go into the consultation event myself

Sitting outside and sulking with a placard turned out to be more productive

Or rather I got to meet many more people and passers-by

I might have to do this more often!

The two main takeaways?
  1. Pressure from academics who have done their background reading on the planning system matters
  2. Pressure from town people who have worked in and around the sites concerned matter just as much as well

Some of the academics who went into the consultation told me they extracted responses from the developers and their consultants that the aim of this proposal is to extract the maximum financial value of the site that the cinema is on. Basically ‘sod local history and sod civic heritage: money trumps all’

There were a couple of local people who have/still do work around the site of the cinema, and told me that there is no way the grim Hobson’s Passage (used as a public toilet sadly!) will be improved by the proposals for the glass-fronted ‘community space’ – when the place is closed it will still be a passage and used as a public toilet and general dump.

Both views matter – the challenge for the city council is how to ensure with planning applications that raise huge concerns for both town and gown are publicised to what are two still largely polarised communities making up much of our city.

A discussion item for the City Council’s Planning & Transport Scrutiny Committee at the end of June 2023?

Cambridge residents, let your city councillor know what you think – find them via

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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