St Catharine’s secures planning permission at Chad’s to improve student living in the coming years


The College received planning permission from Cambridge City Council this week for future improvements to the accommodation and shared facilities available for students living at the St Chad’s site on Grange Road in Cambridge. This will complement the existing and very popular second-year accommodation and green space already on the site.

Professor Sir Mark Welland, Master of St Catharine’s, welcomed the decision: “The improvements for the St Chad’s site in the coming years will be an important part of our ambitious strategic vision, helping us achieve the rising standards and accessibility that are rightly expected of modern student living. Our accommodation already provides a backdrop to some of our students’ fondest memories. Thanks to the support of Cambridge City Council, we can continue to provide this positive living environment in buildings entirely owned by St Catharine’s.”

Planning permission requires the College to start this strategically important building project within 3 years. The College will embark on careful consultation with students, staff and Fellows to determine the final details about when and how the new facilities are built on existing land at the St Chad’s site.

Helen Hayward, Operations Director, explained: “I look forward to working with our students to identify a sensible and sensitive approach for building this much-needed accommodation and enhanced facilities. We are mindful of the upcoming works already scheduled to remodel spaces in the historical heart of the College’s Island site, and the significant disruption to life in College caused by Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). I am confident we can come together to fulfill the needs of current and future generations of students.”

About the approved improvements

Pictured: A plan and illustration of the St Chad’s site after the improvements.

  • Using existing land, the College will be able to build two new blocks of accommodation (shaded pink above) consisting of 23 modern student rooms, including two new accessible rooms.
  • There will be a generous communal space (shaded blue) on the ground floor of the Old House for all students to enjoy.
  • New, ample bike storage (shaded orange) will replace existing bike racks.
  • In addition, older structures used by the College’s gardeners will be replaced by a new outbuilding to support the continued maintenance of attractive and welcoming outdoor spaces.
  • Additional space on the site will be released through the demolition of 8 older rooms and a space known as the Octagon, which is currently under-used.

Pictured: An illustration and cross-section of two blocks of student accommodation.