St John’s had hoped to provide more accommodation for students and staff with familiesLouis Ashworth/Varsity

A decision on plans for new St John’s accommodation has been delayed following a discussion by Cambridge City Council’s planning committee on Wednesday (12/01).

Plans had been proposed to build 245 new rooms on land south of Wilberforce Road to provide accommodation for both students and academic staff.

The delay comes as a result of concerns over who would be using the accommodation, both in and outside of term time.

120 of the rooms had been reserved for students in the local plan, but councillors raised concerns about the potential for the remaining 125 rooms to be occupied by academic staff. This would mean that half of the rooms could potentially be occupied by non-students, despite the plans being reviewed under student accommodation policy.

Questions were also raised regarding how the accommodation would be used outside of term time. A proposal put forward by planning officers stipulated that the rooms would only be occupied by “students studying at educational institutions within Cambridge, conference delegates or others attending such institutions for purposes linked with the education functions of those institutions” during these times. However, this led to further concerns about how letting the rooms to conference delegates would affect the local area.


Mountain View

Council to rule on new St John’s housing

Due to the increasing questions, councillors voted to defer the decision until they received more information from the University about how the rooms would be used.

According to the application to Cambridge City Council, the plans for the new development had proposed to build 245 rooms across 39 townhouses, with eight houses to be set aside for “larger ‘family accommodation’ with gardens, which the college struggles to provide from existing stock”.

In their application, St John’s had 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.”

Lucy Cavendish and Clare Hall had also expressed interest in occupying parts of the site.