Wrenbridge are bringing a new hotel and urban park to Grafton after plans were approved by the council

A new 153-room Premier Inn hotel and urban park has been approved by Cambridge City Council planning committee. The site, positioned along East Road adjacent to The Grafton, was acquired by L&G in the summer of 2015, and has been project managed by Wrenbridge.

Since acquiring the site, L&G and Wrenbridge have invested £28m in a major refurbishment programme to improve the visitor experience of the centre and increase footfall. In partnership with the City Council, they have developed a Masterplan for the Grafton Area (also known as the Grafton Area SPD) which was adopted in December 2018. The masterplan sets out the principle for the future development of the area and includes all of The Grafton (including its car parks, service area), Fitzroy Street and Burleigh Street.

As well as providing a modern, high quality 153-room hotel in an accessible city centre location, the plans will deliver significant public realm improvements including a new urban park adjacent to the existing cinema and improvements to transport routes acting as a catalyst for the greening and visual improvement of this part of the city centre.

Tom Williams, Fund Manager at L&G said: Since our purchase of the Grafton in 2015, we have been working tirelessly with Wrenbridge to improve the retail and leisure offering of the shopping centre. Building on the completed refurbishment works and the improved retail offering at the centre, achieving this planning consent for a 153-bed hotel is a major mile stone in the improvement of the site. The creation of a new urban park complements this and will be an exciting new focal point for the cinema, the hotel, and Grafton customers.”

John McHale, Director at Wrenbridge, said: “We are delighted that Cambridge City Council’s planning committee could see the benefits this development will bring to the area. Not only does it represent a significant step in the implementation of the Grafton Area Masterplan, the scheme will also provide a boost for The Grafton, supporting existing and future retailers as well as businesses in and around the area.”

“The development will also redefine the site’s frontage along East Road, redeveloping the existing bus turning head and disused service area to create a new urban park next to the hotel, allowing a green buffer between the urban park and East Road to be formed.

The proposed development has been designed to comply with the Grafton Area Masterplan and is intended to satisfy an identified demand for additional rooms in Cambridge to serve visitors, local businesses, local tourism whilst creating a positive and attractive environment in the city. Corstorphine + Wright Architects were chosen to work on the project.

John McHale, Director at Wrenbridge, continued: “L&G and Wrenbridge take the sustainability aspects of the development very seriously and Premier Inn are one of the best achieving hotel chains for sustainability. Premier Inn’s focus on building design to reduce the long-term carbon footprint of the development aligns with our values at L&G and Wrenbridge.”

With the application now approved, work will begin as soon as possible.