Additional coverage: Hannah Brown, local correspondent for Democracy
A large new science and technology building will be built on the site of a brown field in Suwston, after council members have granted planning permission.
The South Cambridge Science Centre, which includes a 140,00 square foot, three-storey research and development building and decorated car park, with 286 parking spaces and bike storage, will be operational in early 2025.
Abstract (Mid Tech) Ltd, part of Abstract Securities, said its plans for the site at Dales Manor Business Park in Grove Road will help meet the growing demand for laboratory space in the Cambridge life science group, and the building will be operationally net zero carbon.
The company is also preparing an order for a second building of approximately 40,000 square feet, which is expected to be submitted in the coming weeks.
Mark Glatman, CEO of Abstract, said: “We saw an amazing opportunity to acquire and relocate around five acres of land, to create new, much-needed science and technology lab space at reasonable and affordable leasing.
“The scheme is situated on an established site in the Cambridge market where the availability of quality laboratories is virtually zero against an unprecedented demand for this type of space. The tight supply of land and the very challenging planning regime means there are significant barriers to providing the type of housing that is in high demand. We are pleased That we have the ability to move forward and implement and we will start soon.
”We can offer quality laboratory accommodation to a wide range of different types of users. The building has been designed to provide maximum flexibility in a landscaped setting, which will eventually lie alongside the proposed Cambridge South East Transport Route, linking the neighboring science and research parks. and the vital medical campus and Cambridge city centre.
“Potential end users in the market are currently facing rents of £60 per sq ft but we have positioned the project to offer the best quality flexible lab space, with a target for rents under £50 per sq ft. We feel that businesses focused on growth will be looking for more affordable accommodation cost and we’ve been able to put together a blueprint for achieving that pricing point.”
As the application was debated, members of South Cambridgeshire Borough Council heard that the site was part of a wider area of land set aside for up to 200 homes in the County Council’s 2018 Local Plan, but permission had previously been granted for part of the site to be redeveloped for commercial use.
Emma Woods, a representative of the developer, told the Planning Commission on March 8 that rainwater recycling of water would be used to flush toilets and to plant trees and hedges, as well as changes to the color of the building’s cladding that would mitigate the impact of the views from the greenbelt.
“The landscape proposals include significant habitat and biodiversity improvements that are reflected in a net biodiversity gain measure of 761 per cent that will be achieved on site,” said Ms. Woods.
Sarah Nicholas, principal planning officer at Cambridge Past Present and Future, said the charity had concerns about the impact of distant views, particularly from the higher ground in the Gog Magog hills, where the building would be taller than the trees and hedges.
Cllr Heather Williams (Con, The Mordens) said it was “reasonable” to change plans for the area from residential to commercial, and noted that it was an unlisted site. She appreciated the concerns raised about the impact on broader views, but believes “reasonable steps” have been taken with the proposed landscaping.
Cllr Dr Martin Cahn (Lib Dem, Histon, Impington) said: “This site is clearly unsuitable for habitation at its present site which is surrounded on three sides by existing industrial buildings. This is in fact a change to a more research-oriented use and there is a lot of Other upcoming research developments in the area.”
He added that the “only real concern” was the effect on distant views, but said he thought the building looked better than others on the site, and said he didn’t think it would be “particularly oppressive”.
Cllr Dr Lisa Redrup (Lib Dem, Harston and Comberton) said it was good to see the redevelopment of the Brownfield site, and said he was “glad to hear about the environmental credentials” of the developer.
The committee voted unanimously to approve the plans.
Christopher McPherson, Director of Development at Abstract Securities, said afterwards: “We believe there is no other building in the Cambridge market with a better carbon footprint than SCSC. A great deal of thought has gone into designing the space to meet the stringent requirements of many different types of occupiers whether they be biased biological or chemical, and we have a high degree of flexibility in how we accommodate different users.
Given the supply-demand imbalance and the more expensive pricing of our scheme, it will come as no surprise that we are already in phase one discussions with a number of parties. ”
Peterhouse College, University of Cambridge retains freehold title to the land and has granted a ground lease of 175 years, which will attract a ground lease after the buildings are completed and leased.
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