Cambridge to lose historical silo for bland block


English Heritage give consent for developers Brookgate not to rebuild a building of local historical interest, replacing it with a bland block. But there might be time to do something about it. (Or at least ensure that lessons are learnt from this case to ensure future historical buildings are not lost in similar circumstances).

Cambridge once had a mill by the railway station. I grew up in its neighbourhood. I remember being able to spot it from far away on Lime Kiln Hill. It looked like this.


The above from the Cambridgeshire Collection – the silo is on the right hand site. When the plans to redevelop the site were made, in 2005 we were told the redeveloped mill (from the other side) would look something like below.


This from the BBC in 2005 with an artist’s impression.

Then the silo got half burnt down in suspicious circumstances.

Today I discovered – accidentally while looking at another planning application, that the plans are to demolish what’s left of the mill (for which consent has been given), and to replace it with the bland brown block on the left of the picture below.


The darker grey-brown block is what Brookgate want to replace the old silo with. The architects for that building plan have a page about it at

The planning application at the time of writing (27 Oct 2016) is open

All 174 documents are under the ‘documents’ tab of

For reference the planning application reference is 15/1759/FUL.

You can comment directly on the application by registering for an account at and searching for the planning application reference above.

It seems Historical England’s David Grech has given the developers the OK.

Snapshots of Mr Grech’s email to Cambridge City Council – from the documents embedded here. (Please do not send Mr Grech – or anyone any hate correspondence. As angry as I am about what’s happening, he’s doing his job based on the framework he has to work with. We can though, scrutinise and challenge his judgement and that of the institution that he is part of – for which there is due process at  – which some of you may want to investigate. Note their guidance on historical crimes at – esp criminal damage.

“What can I do other than comment on the application?”

If you live in Cambridge, write to your local Cambridge City Councillor – type in your postcode into and follow the instructions – and cite the planning application reference 15/1759/FUL.

I hope it’s not too late and that we can have restored what I thought was a quite nice building that was part of Cambridge’s industrial heritage. The part we need advice on – and any historical or planning experts please comment, are on the *specific* grounds for opposing the plans and calling for the original mill structure to be rebuilt to the original plans that respected the integrity of the old silo.

Stay in touch with my various other finds on all things ‘Lost Cambridge’ on Facebook.



9 thoughts on “Cambridge to lose historical silo for bland block

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s