Cambridge Retail Park park vision to create destination for shoppers and workers unveiled

The owner of Cambridge Retail Park has vowed to transform it into a “vibrant” destination for shoppers and workers as redevelopment plans are revealed.

Railpen has presented its investment vision for the future of Cambridge Retail Park on Newmarket Road, Cambridge Image: Keith Heppell

Changes in retail patterns and the need to respond to climate change are behind the plans for the Newmarket Road site.

They include the addition of new office space, created by eliminating 23 parking spaces, along with commercial units and more bike parking.

The redevelopment of 230 Newmarket Road will also include a new coffee pavilion on the corner of the site across from the Premier Inn and a mixed-use retail/office building.

The park is currently home to Lidl, Sports Direct, Homebase, Sofology, Dunelm and Boots, along with food and beverage outlets including Starbucks, Nando’s and Pizza Hut.

Matthew Howard, Railpen’s head of real estate asset management, said, “We will invest in the park to ensure it grows and develops as a retail destination, where good jobs are created and kept, and better complements its neighborhood.

Artist's impression of what 230 Newmarket Road would look like in Cambridge Retail Park Image: Railpen
Artist’s impression of what 230 Newmarket Road would look like in Cambridge Retail Park Image: Railpen

“This investment will ensure it remains vibrant and relevant in the face of global trends in retail and the shift to online shopping. The improvements will respond to climate challenges, making spaces more usable by people, not cars, and enhancing their biodiversity, addressing some of the key critical challenges Cambridge City Council has identified for the city.”

Railpen bought the 230,000 square foot retail park in 2020 for around £100 million. The Railways Pension Scheme, which is responsible for the safekeeping and investment of around £30 billion, also owns the Beehive Centre. Earlier this year, he announced plans to tear down the center and turn it into a landscaped science and technology site.

He has said that some of the Beehive’s stores and businesses could be located in the adjoining Cambridge Retail Park.

In September, Railpen purchased the 309,000-square-foot Botanic Place office development, which was owned by Pace Investments, and includes the Flying Pig Tavern. Railpen is also behind the development of Devonshire Gardens in Cambridge.

Mr. Howard continued, “Just as important, it complements our work to build The Beehive Center into a new destination and hub for science, technology and innovation. It underlines our commitment to this part of Cambridge and will help us deliver on our promise to maintain a wide and exciting range of shops to serve the community. Right now, we have launched a website where local people can learn about our vision.

“In the coming months we will present more detailed proposals for the future of Cambridge Retail Park and we hope to launch a consultation on our first phase of investment in the autumn.”

At least 300 new bike parking spaces for office workers and retail customers will be created in a dedicated hub under the Cambridge Retail Park plans along with landscaping improvements and tree planting.

Railpen says it is responding to the Newmarket Road opportunity area by “offering an office on the upper floors, with a variety of spaces for a variety of tenants creating a variety of employment opportunities.”

It says it will commit to “significant investment” over the next five years to build a “strong and resilient” retail park. Plans for 230 Newmarket Road are expected to be the start of broader plans to redevelop the site.

Ridgelift's Peter Beck, Railpen Development Manager, speaking to residents at a consultation event Tuesday. Photo: Keith Heppell Photo: Keith Heppell.  (60559820)
Ridgelift’s Peter Beck, Railpen Development Manager, speaking to residents at a consultation event Tuesday. Photo: Keith Heppell Photo: Keith Heppell. (60559820)

It adds: “The new vision will enhance the offering and experience for visitors by creating more reasons to visit Cambridge Retail Park, including an evolving mix of retail, food and drink, and leisure spaces.

“To achieve this, the investment will make the site work more efficiently and the area occupied by car parking will be used more intelligently. This will create space for new commercial buildings, green spaces, and landscaping.

“Railpen will enhance the character of the site through investment in the architectural quality of new buildings and improvements to existing buildings. In particular, the intention is to bring new life and more green and usable space to Newmarket Road.

“The vision also seeks to create better connections to the neighboring area with improved entrances to the site, improved pedestrian and bicycle routes through it.

“Fighting climate change will be achieved over time by moving the retail park to green energy, reducing car parking area, improving cycle routes, introducing climate adaptation measures, and building new buildings that are low or net carbon. zero”.

The plans for 230 Newmarket Road will go on display tonight (Thursday November 10) between 2:30pm and 5:30pm at City Church on Cheddars Lane, Cambridge.

For full details and to register, email [email protected]

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