The new accommodation will particularly benefit students and staff with familiesLucas Maddalena

Plans to build new accommodation for St. John’s College could be approved by Cambridge City Council next week (12/01).

The 245 new rooms will be housed in 39 townhouses on the Grange Lane development, to the south of Wilberforce Road. The plans aim to meet an increasing demand for accommodation from John’s students and staff.

Eight houses will be set aside for “larger ‘family accommodation’ with gardens, which the college struggles to provide from existing stock”, according to the application to Cambridge City Council.

John’s further cited the “increasing difficulties” facing fellows looking to buy a house as another reason for the expansion, adding that many newcomers ask to live in college housing “for a few years [...] while they find their feet in the Cambridge property market.”


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Lucy Cavendish and Clare Hall have also expressed interest in leasing accommodation on the development.

If approved, the new housing will be adjacent to the University Sports Ground, and will consist of “clusters” of townhouses arranged around shared gardens, set along a new lane connecting Wilberforce Road and Herschel Road.

The plans aim to create a “garden sanctuary” of “high quality and sustainable buildings”, with “environmental considerations” having “underpinned every decision” made by the developers.

Discussions on whether to approve the plans will be held by the Cambridge City Council Planning Committee next Wednesday (12/01).

When asked about how the proposed accommodation would benefit the St. John’s community, the College’s JCR presidents Maryam Khan and Sarah Adegbite told Varsity that they hope it will encourage people from “all backgrounds” to study at St. John’s, and that it is an example of how “the College is working to make Cambridge more accessible to all types of students - whether that be undergrads new to the city or postgrads who require space for their families.”

They acknowledged that students and staff often find it difficult to “find the time and funding for affordable housing when first joining the university” and said that the new development would “allow both students and staff to feel comfortable and supported by the college when entering this new environment.”

St John’s is one of several colleges looking to expand their student accommodation, after Princess Anne inaugurated new housing at St Edmund’s last May, and with Lucy Cavendish building a development due for Michaelmas 2022.

This article was updated on 06/01 to add comment from the St John's College JCR presidents