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Planning permission granted for Community Hub Development

"The Community Hub will enhance Second Court as the social centre of the College and encourage the opportunity for interdisciplinary interaction"

A plan to transform the social space around the 17th century Second Court at St John's College has been given the go-ahead by Cambridge City Council.

The Community Hub Development in Second Court has been granted planning permission and Listed Building Consent. It will mean the existing Buttery dining room, which was built in the 1970s, will be demolished and replaced with new dining facilities, a cafe, a new bar and an attractive outdoor patio area and seating. 

The Grade I Listed gate piers to the rear of the Buttery will be moved to the west end of the patio, in line with Kitchen Lane and Kitchen Bridge. 

The decision follows extensive consultation with Historic England and planning officers at the City Council.

The new look terrace
An artist's impression of the new look patio area 

Helen Murley, Domestic Bursar, said: “The Community Hub will enhance Second Court as the social centre of the College and encourage the opportunity for interdisciplinary interaction and engagement that is so much a feature of College life. We want it to be a hub for all members of the College community and I’m delighted that planning permission and Listed Building Consent has been granted.

"A lot of hard work, time and effort has been invested to get to this point and I’d like to thank everyone involved, including our professional team of MCW (architects), Turner & Townsend (project manager) and Turley (planning consultants). Special thanks must go to Dr Frank Salmon and Tim Waters, Head of College Buildings.

“Frank has not only expertly chaired the Working Group, but he also gave significant amounts of his own time and expertise to help us through some of our historic building challenges. 

“Tim  has been the overall Project Director and linchpin throughout.  He has spent countless hours providing oversight, management and guidance to the professional team, ensuring that standards and quality have never dropped and the interests of the College and all our members have been met.  It has been an amazing effort and we are extremely lucky to have him as our Head of College Buildings. This has been a tremendous journey so far and we are all looking forward to the next phase of development." 

The final designs will now be finalised and building contractors will be appointed by the spring of 2021, so that construction can begin next summer.  This will ensure the development is complete and ready to be used by the start of the 2022/23 academic year. 

New airy roof design near the cafe/restaurant
An artist's impression of the space where the current Buttery is located 

The Community Hub is part of a masterplan developed between June 2015 and June 2016 by members of the Estates Strategy Committee, working alongside a firm of masterplanners, Allies and Morrison. The committee also engaged a firm of landscape architects, J&L Gibbons, to assist in developing a vision for the College landscape in recognition of the inspirational role that its gardens and grounds play in the lives of all who live and work at St John’s.

Published: 6/11/2020

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