The objections to the EF Language School development begin

It’s hardly surprising that so many unpleasant developments appear in our city, if the procedure on the proposed EF Language School development are anything to go by. Firstly, notice is directly given to just a tiny number of close neighbours (just 25 in this case, and don’t forget that includes the nearest neighbour, an entire block of flats). Secondly, there’s just three weeks from the date on the notifications to the deadline for public comments. Most people appear to have received them after about 5 days, and with the long holiday weekend included, I make it just 10 working days for local residents to discover what’s happening and to make their thoughts known.

The first of what I suspect will be many objections has appeared on the Council website. I shan’t reproduce them all on this blog, naturally, but I’ve done so with this one (and with the commenter’s permission), as it covers many of the issues which I expect will be raised. The comments come from the owners of the house directly opposite the EF Language School on Cavendish Avenue, who will be directly overlooked by the development.

“We are writing to object in the strongest terms to the proposed development of the EF Language School on the northeast corner of the junction of Cavendish Avenue and Hills Road in Cambridge. As the household living in closest proximity to the proposed new building (our house is directly opposite on the southeast corner of the junction) we would lose virtually all of our privacy in both our front and rear gardens, and we would lose a very significant portion of our light during the day. As such, we object to the development in its entirety.

There are many further considerations which make this development unacceptable, and in the remainder of this letter we elaborate on those considerations and provide more detail about our primary objections. Specifically, we object to this development for the following reasons:

1. The height of the proposed building and its proximity to our gardens (especially to our back garden where our young children play) would substantially reduce the amount of sunlight in our gardens during the day. In particular, the late afternoon sun would be entirely blocked and this is the time when our children are typically outside during the school term.

2. Our back garden is directly overlooked by the windows and balcony of the residential units in the proposed building. The existing trees will not provide sufficient cover to ameliorate this gross invasion of our privacy.

3. Our front garden (which is shared by our neighbours at 2a and 2b) is also overlooked by the windows and balcony of the proposed residential units.

4. The proposed building is to house 90 students, most of them having windows facing Cavendish Avenue directly opposite our house. There is also a balcony terrace on that side which will encourage the students to gather there socially, as they will also certainly do on the street outside their residence. We are very concerned about the noise which will be created by having so many students on such a small site and so close to our property. We have young children with bedrooms facing the site.

5. At the moment the site is a daytime educational establishment with regular office hours. The introduction of large scale residential student accommodation is not consistent with the existing residential use of the area. If there is to be any student accommodation on site, it should be on a much smaller scale (perhaps 20 students, with no communal balcony) and it should be located on the northwest side where there are no private houses that can be affected.

6. At the moment, there is no access from Cavendish Avenue to the site of the proposed building. If a pedestrian entrance is introduced it could become a gathering point day and night for students on what is now a quiet residential road.

7. The large scale bin store proposed for the corner of the site and its new service road from Cavendish Avenue are directly opposite our entrance. This will create additional traffic and unpleasant smells immediately adjacent to our house.

8. There appears to be a very small number of parking spaces for the students and staff which will encourage visitors, students and staff to park on Cavendish Avenue. Our street is already very congested and at times dangerous for entering and exiting our property, so the additional pressure from the proposed development would make the danger and inconvenience unacceptable.

For all of these reasons, we do not think that the proposed development should be allowed to proceed. Any development on that site will have to be much more sensitive to the needs and rights of the residents of Cavendish Avenue, especially those like us who live very near the site.”

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