The Cambridge Union Society is excited to announce that planning has officially been approved for the dramatic redevelopment of its historic site by Cambridge City Council.
The plans include two new entrances, one from Round Church Street leading to an enlarged 1815 bar, with both public and members' spaces and the historic Footlights’ entertainment space.
The second entrance, from the car park into a new atrium, will have a new reception area offering a private entrance for conferences and weddings. Internal access will also be improved with a lift and new staircases.
The plans also include the demolition of ancillary buildings and removal of a 1930s façade on Round Church Street with a plan to reintroduce the original Victorian features as well as general repairs and upgrades of facilities throughout the site.
The Grade II listed site was designed by Sir Alfred Waterhouse who was best known for London’s National History Museum. Part of the building was destroyed by the Luftwaffe in World War II with significant damage to the Keynes Library.
In 2011, an extensive survey was carried out which revealed several major issues with the building. Following a comprehensive bidding process, a number of highly competitive offers were made from multiple local, national and international parties, the Union chose the proposal submitted by Trinity College. The contract was then signed by Trinity in 2014 and the development is due to start in summer 2018.
President, Jonah Surkes said: "We are very excited that the Union’s planning application was approved. The development plans will allow the Union to meet the needs of our growing membership and hold larger-scale events, without losing our proud history. Now that we have the crucial planning permission, it’s all-systems-go to deliver an outstanding project that our members, and all of Cambridge, can be proud of."