Archive of the month: King Street redevelopment
In April of this year King Street Housing Society successfully merged with Aldwyck Housing Group.
It, therefore, seems an appropriate time to reflect upon the influence Jesus College has had on local affordable housing.
In 1962 a proposal made by the City to build a multi-storey car-park on the north side of King Street was defeated by the determinations of many, including Jesus College. The decision not to build the car-park resulted in Jesus College bringing forward other proposals for the degenerated area.
Ivor Smith was contracted to draw up a plan for the redevelopment of the area bounded by King Street, Belmont Place, Jesus Lane (excluding the sites of All Saints Church and Westcott House) and Malcolm Street, and the south side of King street between Milton’s and Pike’s Walk.
As the above model and following plan show, early ideas for the development of King Street included an aborted proposal to build over the east end of King Street and the construction of an underground car-park for 200 vehicles.
The development finally settled on three distinct phases:
Phase One became a development of 46 flats, shops, a restaurant and a public house (with ground-level parking for residents, out of sight beneath a deck), later named Malcolm Place.
Phase Two was a development of 69 flats (with ground-level parking for residents, out of sight beneath a deck), now known as Manor Place.
Phase Three of the development never materialized but would have occupied the site of the present Cromwell Court.
The multi-phase scheme presented by Smith met many of the prerequisites for the rehabilitation of King Street required by Jesus College: a substantial increase in the number of residences and a rationalisation of the scattered and dilapidated commercial properties.
However, even though Jesus College wished to retain long-term control of an important site close to the College they already had significant capital invested in residential property in Cambridge. With this in mind, Ivor Smith suggested that Jesus College consider forming a Housing Society to assume responsibility for the dwellings, with the College retaining the small commercial component.
An approach was made to the Housing Corporation, which had been set up in 1964 to encourage and assist Housing Associations to develop new and rehabilitated dwellings on a Cost-Rent or Co-ownership basis, and the King Street Housing Society was registered on 11 March 1966.
The first meeting of the founder-members of the Society took place on 24 May 1966, seven of them being Fellows of the College, with work on the site for the first stage of construction beginning in October 1968.
Although construction had begun upon the site in October 1968 a building lease between the College and King Street Housing Society was not in place until Christmas 1969.
By the end of May 1970 the show flats were ready, with all of the apartments occupied by the middle of September. ‘Malcolm Place’ was officially opened by the Master of Jesus College, Denys Lionel Page, on 16 May 1972 by drawing (and consuming) the first pint in the King’s Arms public house at the corner of Malcolm Street.
Phase Two of the development received Outline Planning Permission in September 1972, with Full Planning Permission obtained early in 1974.
King Street Housing Society had been struggling with the financial viability of the project, with income derived from Fair Rents only meeting a small fraction of the outgoings. However, the Housing Act of 1974 allowed the Society to become a Registered Housing Association in February 1976 and have the project subsidized by way of the new Housing Association Grant. This allowed Manor Place to go ahead on a 99 year building lease of the site from Jesus College to King Street Housing Society.
A major complication associated with Phase Two of the redevelopment of King Street was the realignment of Manor Street to the west of its previous location.
Work began early in in January 1976 and was completed just before Christmas 1977. The Archives at Jesus College hold the Estate Papers (deeds, maps and plans, minutes of meetings, and correspondence) of the College and King Street Housing Society associated with this project, as well as a personal photographic account of the construction of Manor Place undertaken by Denis Griffiths who was Head Porter of Jesus College during this period.