Plans for the future of The Grafton Centre and surrounding areas have been unveiled.

The Pioneer Group says it will deliver a new research hub for the life science sector, new retail, food and beverage units, as well as a new Premier Inn hotel.

Consultations have started on the Premier Inn hotel to the site off East Road, with plans also showing space for three restaurants around a new public square, with outdoor restaurant seating and new plants and trees. The cinema and gym would be retained.

A ‘screening report’ prepared for Cambridge City Council ahead of a planning application gives more details about the proposals, which include demolishing part of the shopping centre, including the former Debenhams.

The demolition of 11-12 Burleigh Street and Abbeygate House is also proposed.

Subjit Jassy, from site owner Pioneer Group, said: “It is obvious to everyone that The Grafton centre has a growing number of empty retail units. People also recognise we need to give the building and area a new ambition.

“Our proposals focus on regenerating the centre and the immediate area, creating new public spaces as well as a repurposed building converted into laboratory space for the city’s science businesses, including start-ups, whilst providing the convenient and affordable shops that people value at The Grafton in a more attractive setting.

“A hotel already has planning permission here, but by incorporating it into our wider aspirations, we can create a pleasant public square by East Road with restaurants to create a destination centred around the cinema. We are inviting the public to comment by visiting our consultation website.”

Image source: Pioneer Group

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