New high-end hostel for Cambridge city centre as Central Backpackers applies for planning permission

49 Sidney Street Cambridge

Cheffins has submitted a planning application for the creation of a high-end hostel in place of a vacant office on Sidney Street, central Cambridge.

The Grade II listed building is set within a conservation area and potentially could provide a 44-bed hostel on its first and second floors. The plans also encompass large common areas and a roof garden. The building, 49 Sidney Street, has been vacant since 2017, having previously been occupied by a bank on the ground floor (not part of this application) and offices on the upper floors.

The application has been submitted on behalf of Mapleroo Limited, a hostel provider, which already runs another hostel called Central Backpackers in Oxford. Should the application be successful, the hostel will operate under the ‘Central Backpackers’ brand and could be open by summer 2022.

Claire Shannon, Associate at Cheffins who handled the application says: “This high-end hostel is set right in the heart of the city centre and has the ability to strengthen and diversify the range of short stay visitor accommodation in Cambridge. There is an increasing demand for visitor accommodation in the city to meet growing tourism levels and although there have been new hotels opened over the past few years, there is a significant lack of options to suit young and solo travellers. The proposed development will provide high quality, yet affordable accommodation, close to the colleges, River Cam and other tourist attractions. Projects such as this are much needed in the current climate, to help increase footfall throughout city centres and provide increasing trade for Cambridge’s restaurants, cafes, bars and shops. The applicants have significant experience in the development and management of this type of tourist accommodation, having successfully operated Oxford Central Backpackers since 2005.”

Greg Mulligan, Director at Mapleroo comments: “Cambridge is top of the list for many tourists visiting the U.K. therefore Central Backpackers would like to participate in welcoming visitors to the city. Our goal is to provide really comfortable sleeping accommodation as well as offering a fantastic location for people of all backgrounds to meet, be social and share their experiences in a relaxed and safe atmosphere.”

The application was submitted to Cambridge City Council on 22nd September with a decision expected 24th November 2021.

For further information, contact Cheffins Planning team on 01223 271962 or visit


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