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Options Appraisal

Following the public consultation and completion of the analysis of the responses received, and with the benefit of that analysis, the project team commenced a new phase of work on the consideration of the future of the three sites. This involved establishing a number of options that were representative of the wide range of potential options that exist for the future of sites. Five options, ranging from doing nothing to comprehensive redevelopment, were identified.


The purpose of narrowing down what is a wide range of possibilities into a handful of realistic representative options was to limit them to a manageable number for the purpose of a comparative assessment. The project team wanted to undertake a comparative assessment (options appraisal) of the options in order to identify which option or options (i.e. what kind of proposals) would best meet the various objectives and aspirations for the future of the sites.


The options appraisal is intended to inform future work on a detailed pre-planning application advice request which will be submitted to Cambridge City Council.

Options Appraisal Report

A report that details and explains the options assessment work carried out, and its findings can be downloaded here.

Appraisal Report

Options Drawings

Drawings illustrating Options 2 – 5 can downloaded here. Because Option 1 is the ‘do nothing’ scenario (i.e. the sites stay as they are now) no drawings have been prepared.



The options assessed are set out in the table below.

Options Appraisal Table.png

In order to ascertain the relative performance of each of the options they needed to be considered against the objectives for the future of the sites. The objectives reflect, as far as is possible, the various aspirations for the sites. These include the local community’s aspirations for the sites, and those of stakeholders, as expressed through the public consultation earlier this year.


To allow the options to be assessed against the objectives the objectives had to be translated into a series of discrete criteria. The criteria were:



  • Leisure / community space

  • Accessibility



  • Built heritage (Building of Local Interest and other non-designated heritage assets (buildings))

  • Improvement of Hobson’s Passage

  • Improvement of Hobson Street (and Conservation Area)

  • Environmental credentials / energy performance / energy efficiency



  • Viability (factoring in GDV and build cost)

  • Ongoing / maintenance costs

  • Impact on local / city centre economy



  • Marriage value /synergies

  • Quality of accommodation


The options were scored against the criteria. Each option’s scores across all 11 criteria were tallied to give a single score for that option, which enabled the performance of each option relative to the others to be seen. The inclusion of Option 1 (the ‘do nothing’ scenario) enabled the remaining four options to be assessed against the status quo.


The assessment showed that Option 5 (comprehensive redevelopment with Sidney Street facades retained) was the best performing of the five options. It was most closely followed by Option 4 (comprehensive redevelopment (pared back) with Sidney Street facades retained) which scored only one point less.


Options 1 (Do nothing) and 2 (Refurbishment and infill) scored very poorly, which has confirmed the project team’s feeling that neither was likely to be a realistic option.


Option 3 (comprehensive redevelopment (pared back) with Sidney Street and 21 Hobson Street facades retained) performed relatively well but still scored 28% lower than Option 5. This five point difference is significant in the context of Options 1 and 2 not proving to be realistic comparisons. Of the more realistic options, Options 4 and 5 perform significantly better than the Option 3 against the project objectives.


The assessment exercise was designed to identify the best option for meeting the objectives for the future of the sites. In view of it having scored highest, the project team feel that Option 5 (or something similar to it) is likely to represent the optimal future use of the sites.

For a more detailed look at the options appraisal you can download the document here.

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