Cedric’s site as a Centre for Wivenhoe?

edited April 2015 in General Wivenhoe Talk

Nick Denny, Property Manager of the East of England
Co-operative Society, recently addressed the Wivenhoe Society AGM. He said the
Co-op had bought the Cedric’s site as a long term strategic opportunity earlier
this year and that site assessment and evaluation could take until the end of
2015. They have agreed the Garage and the separate car-valeting service could
stay there for the time being. In the meantime they would welcome suggestions for
its future use from Wivenhoe residents.

Many people have suggested it would be a better place for
the new Surgery than Phillip Road Centre but it is too late to consider
changing it as a lease has already been signed with ECC locking the doctors
into Phillip Road, and in any case the Cedric’s site would be far more
expensive to develop than to refurbish the old school building.

I would like to see this space become a real centre for
Wivenhoe.  A place which would include:

The Wivenhoe Garage and the car valeting service

A Coffee Bar with wifi where people could sit
and meet other people and for it to be a Reception also for a gym and small one-person
studio offices that could be rented to people as an alternative to
working from home.

I think Wivenhoe also needs another large meeting
room that might be used by the Youth Club in the evenings and for gatherings of
whatever sort in the daytime. Again, use the Coffee Bar as the entrance to this
community facility.

This could become a busy place with a little imagination by
creating reasons for people to go there. Have a coffee whilst you get your car
washed, or your tyres checked. Pick up a croissant on your way through to do
some work in a quiet space, or an energy drink after a work-out in the

And upstairs, may be two storeys (like the Park Hotel and
the flats in De Vere Lane) with homes for rent by both young and older people.

I see the existing old Gatehouse building incorporated into
a scheme based around a central courtyard with adequate car parking at the rear
for not just the residents but users of these various facilities and, of course,
the Co-op store across the road.  

We have got to think about making the site viable for it to
stand a chance of succeeding, otherwise it will just become more housing ‘cos
the Co-op has bought the site with existing planning consent for 24 houses.

I have put this proposal in the Wivenhoe Society newsletter.
I would like to know people’s thoughts. 
I know people have different ideas and I think it would be helpful if we
could achieve a consensus.



  • If the Co-op will are happy to agree in principle then I am happy to offer design services for nothing to get in to the planning stage.

  • Thanks Andrea. Very good of you.
    I like the idea about using the courtyard area for daytime activities. We would obviously need to think about people living in the apartments above, so no late night events. But having a place which would attract people.......
  • The sale of the gatehouse for it be returned to residential use, along with a small garden, would potentially aid funding to the redevelopment of the rest. The gatehouse is an important building and should have been listed. Apart from the old gardeners cottage, it is the only other remaining original building of the Wivenhoe Hall Estate.
  • can we use the old "gatehouse" as a pub, we are sorely missing a pub in mid town, maybe styling it on the old park hotel.
  • I'm in. And that is actually a commercially viable idea.
  • edited April 2015
    [Post deleted at the request of the original user]
  • Problem Rosalind, there is no where else for the garage to go in Wivenhoe. Garages no longer need to be "dirty" businesses. They just need good management. And we certainly need the facility in the centre of Wivenhoe, as evidenced by the volume of business they appear to be doing.

    So far as a pub is concerned, still tough to make these pay, as witnessed by the closing of so many locally. Adding another just takes away business from the other established ones. And planning permission would not be easy, I suspect.

  • i agree with you regarding the garage Woodsy, the park hotel was a successful pub when it closed, so cannot really see it being a non viable idea to put forward.
  • edited April 2015

    "Many people have suggested it would be a better place for
    the new Surgery than Phillip Road Centre but it is too late to consider
    changing it as a lease has already been signed with ECC locking the doctors
    into Phillip Road,"

    I would have thought signing this lease would be subject to gaining Highways approval etc. Has this been done already or going to be nodded through ?

  • Good question, ckwiv

  • Whatever happens we need that garage. Those of us who use it know we get excellent service and good value without main agent rip offs.  I would not go anywhere else to have my car fixed. There is absolutely no reason why it can't continue alongside anything else. Sorry Rosalind but you are a bit out of touch there.  The garage has been a part of our town for years and lets face it, if you look at the food and convenience products sold in service stations there is no reason why it can't exist alongside anything else these days. Look at Brightlingsea.

    Pub idea is nice but ask any tenant landlord and they will tell you it is a struggle to make a living.  I know Black Buoy is a success but that is different.  Although....Wivenhoe did have 21 pubs when the population was about 2.5 to 3 thousand!!

    Well done Co op for securing the site.

  • We are talking to the Co-op about the scope of their plans, what can and can't be considered and therefore will be in a better position to represent the views of the majority of residents as this is clarified and communicated to everyone.
  • I think it is clear that people in Wivenhoe would like the garage to stay. Ian, and Brian before him, know a lot of people in Wivenhoe because they have always been friendly and provided a good service to their customers. I very much hope that they can be accommodated as part of the future use of the site. I heard what Pat said at the Neighbourhood Plan meeting at which I put forward this idea of a commercial centre for Wivenhoe. She suggested not mixing 'dirty' activities with 'clean' ones. In my sketch which I posted above, I put the garage workshop around the back of the development away from obvious view but with access to the front office via the Courtyard.
    I spoke with Andrea yesterday and she told me the WTC has been asked by the Co-op to consider ideas and to let the Co-op know. I am sure they will take all views into consideration in due course.
  • urge the public to respond to the coop directly as well as making your views know to your representatives.  
  • Sorry peter you misunderstood me - WTC are planning to make contact with the co-op. We haven't been invited to contact them in any formal way, we are just responding to the public notice.
  • Apologies Andrea.
  • I have been talking to Ian Grimwade of Wivenhoe Garage. Apparently some people have misinterpreted my comment regarding the use of Cedric's site in the future? I am not implying that the site is operated to any but the highest standards, only wondering if it fits in with cafes and housing proposed by Peter Hill - mixing oil and coffee? This is a mild speculation by myself in a personal capacity and I do not want the garage to move.  The garage and forecourt is clean and welcoming.
    I have apologised to Ian, who did understand very well what I was saying and I am sorry if it was not clear to other readers.
  • @Rosalind "mixing Oil and coffee". Don't you think people waiting for their cars might want a coffee?
  •  I am sure we will come up with a most innovative and creative proposal between us and will not lose sight of providing opportunity and community services for the benefit of all sectors.
  • I really hope the garage can stay, they provide a brilliant service.
  • When I started this post, my drawing showed the garage workshop at the rear of the scheme, away from street view, but still potentially providing the business with an office at the front. The Wivenhoe Garage has been a part of Wivenhoe since 1982 when set up by Brian and Ian. Before that it was part of Cedrics. Ian and his two colleagues look after 40 - 50 customers a week and so I suggest they are a valued business where they are. With so many people coming and going from that location, they also represent a key component in creating a vibrant hub for a future centre for Wivenhoe. I'm glad at least one other person likes the idea of having a coffee whilst visiting the garage. It is having businesses that are complementary that might make such a scheme as this viable.   
  • Coffee is a great idea - my other half's sister lives in the town too and currently goes over to Cava for a coffee when the car is being cleaned.
  • I'd stop for a coffee whilst waiting for my car. (And a slice of cake!)
  • Cake! Now why didn't I think of that ... coffee and walnut is always a winner.

    Coffee and cake could become a destination in itself, especially if the Deli tea room is already full as I keep finding every time I think to go in there to try it out.

  • Coffee and Cake sounds a good name for a coffee shop!
  • What if you want a cup of tea?
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Yes of course tea, chocolate too and whole range of drinks including wine perhaps providing a licence can be obtained. This needs to be commercial business attracting lots of customers. I think it should be possible to really make this place a 'centre' for Wivenhoe to include business studios, a large meeting room / hall, place for the Hub perhaps.
    How much support would there be for a properly kitted out gymnasium / fitness centre?  
  • Surely if Rosalind comment back about her original post was agreed to be deleted. then her reply to this post should also be deleted. 
  • @ckwiv ;Why?  Are you trying to censure the whole forum?
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