Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)

The University of Cambridge and Cambridge City Council have worked in partnership on the preparation of the Old Press/Mill Lane Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) “to ensure that any future development safeguards the architectural, historic, cultural and archaeological importance of the site, and takes advantage of its setting on the river frontage within the historic city centre.”

Development will support the creation of a more attractive, accessible, safe and sustainable environment.

The entire site lies within Cambridge’s Central Conservation Area, which includes the historic core of the city and surrounding green spaces including Laundress Green. There are a number of Listed Buildings and Buildings of Local Interest (BLI) within and around the site.


The Old Press/Mill Lane site lies in the historic core of the city. The challenge of this development will be to create continuity by retaining the qualities unique to Mill Lane and Cambridge, while enabling substantial new development to unlock the value of the site. The site is part of the Cambridge Central Conservation Area and densely occupied with buildings dating from the 16th to 20th centuries, a number are Grade II listed, including the University Centre which dates from 1967.

This part of Cambridge has been a centre of activity for over a thousand years. Old Press/Mill Lane has undergone significant change from its origins as a hub of industrial and commercial activity. Historically, Mill Lane was an access route from the main road to a working area dominated by river trade and industry (the base and waterwheels of the King’s Mill, demolished in 1928, are still evident today). The arrival of the railway in the 19th century drew milling away from the riverfront and the area developed a new, more mixed identity. Together with the University Press, the University also began to occupy more of the site as it relocated administrative and academic facilities.

The Old Press/Mill Lane site contains some of the few remaining vestiges of Cambridge’s industrial and commercial past. It contains former warehouses and traces of watercourses as well as the old watermills. Currently, the site is a focus for University activity, serves as an entrance into the centre of the city from the west and is populated with several punting stations, restaurants and pubs.