This is the third part of a history of the Chaucer Road and Latham Road area of Trumpington, partly based on information in Rus In Urbe. Chaucer Road and Latham Road: the History of Two Rural Roads in Cambridge . For an introduction, see Chaucer Road and Latham Road Area .
There were other, more controversial, changes. By the 1980s, 1 and 3 Chaucer Road had became derelict and were occupied by squatters, with the driveway of 1 Chaucer Road being used by dustbin men and by an undertaker’s firm. Eventually, 1 Chaucer Road was burnt down by vagrants and both houses were demolished by the University. The junction with Trumpington Road was substantially realigned to cope with extra traffic, detracting from a small area that had been rich in wild flowers.
The University demolished Southacre House and Southacre Park was sold to raise money for redeveloping the Old Addenbrooke’s site.
As well as these small scale developments, the area came under considerable pressure for larger scale expansion in the 1970s and 1980s. Proposals included a caravan site, hotel complex and a high-density residential development. Plans for a road linking Trumpington Road to the proposed Western Relief Road through the common land between the gardens of Chaucer Road and the Leys school playing fields were dropped when the line of the M11 was approved. Residents’ hackles were raised when the City Council announced plans to use land at River Farm, adjacent to Latham Road gardens, to accommodate many of the show people and others who took part in the annual Midsummer Fair. Local residents formed the River Farm Action Committee to oppose this, producing a petition with 2000 signatures. The Council finally gave way in 1983, banning such sites within the City boundary.
The University sought lucrative plans for the empty site of 1 and 3 Chaucer Road. Proposals for a 150-bedroom hotel and a retirement home were rejected. A scheme for 12 houses was eventually accepted and building began in 1985. Meanwhile, there was a succession of controversial plans to develop the large open Southacre Park site. The pressure continued throughout the 1980s, prompting residents to unite in opposition and form the Southacre, Latham and Chaucer Residents’ Association (SOLACHRA). The Association quickly became respected by everyone involved in the planning process, rather like the Trumpington Environmental Action Group (TEAG), formed in 1986, and the Trumpington Residents’ Association (TRA), formed in 1993.
In 1996, the Association published Rus In Urbe. Chaucer Road and Latham Road: the History of Two Rural Roads in Cambridge . With contributions from many local people, this provides an illustrated social history of the area, its residents and its buildings.
An unpopular plan to develop the Southacre site was successfully opposed by SOLACHRA, which submitted an alternative plan for 42 flats that was approved in 1987.
There was further development in 1989, with four houses in Chaucer Close, three in Southacre Drive and five in Southacre Close. Since 1990, three new houses have been approved in Chaucer Road and Latham Road. From 2003 to 2008, 14a Chaucer Road has been demolished and replaced with a Georgian-style property called Vicarsbrook.
Ownership of the area having passed to the university, a new situation arose in 1967, when the Leasehold Reform Act was passed, allowing tenants the option of converting to freehold. This resulted in a complex situation which will affect the future of the remaining fine individual older houses, which are still in a leafy setting close to the city centre.
to add: 1950s Ordnance Survey map.
The western part of Latham Road. Photo: Andrew Roberts, July 2008.
The Joint Colleges’ Nursery, 6b Chaucer Road. Photo: Andrew Roberts, August 2008.
9 Chaucer Road (Edwinstowe). Photo: Andrew Roberts, August 2008.
The Medical Research Council’s Applied Psychology Unit, 15 Chaucer Road. Photo: Andrew Roberts, August 2008.
The residence of the University Vice Chancellor, 5 Latham Road. Photo: Andrew Roberts, August 2008.
Modern houses in place of 1 and 3 Chaucer Road. Photo: Andrew Roberts, August 2008.
The realigned Chaucer Road, Trumpington Road and Brooklands Avenue junction. Photo: Andrew Roberts, March 2008.
Cows and cyclists on the path through Coe Fen, the other side of Vicar’s Brook from Chaucer Road. Photo: Andrew Roberts, July 2008.