New evidence supports releasing land to help Biomedical Campus expand

31 October 2016

New evidence by leading experts has confirmed that land to help the Cambridge Biomedical Campus expand could be developed without impacting on a nearby nature reserve.

The new information was published today (Monday 31 October) after South Cambridgeshire District Council planners and councillors called for extra work to be done before they could make a final decision on the proposal.

Information submitted by developers, which was assessed by Council experts, has addressed concerns that surface water from the development could affect the springs at the nearby Nine Wells nature reserve.

The new information submitted has shown that the springs are fed from the opposite side to the proposed area for development and that water from the planned site also drains away from the springs.

Other concerns from councillors included making sure that the nature reserve is not damaged by an influx of visitors who work at expanded Biomedical Campus in the future. To address the concerns, policies are suggested to make sure no direct access from the site to the nature reserve is allowed. Green areas could also be created at the Campus for people to enjoy on their lunch breaks.

The land proposed to be released would help the Biomedical Campus at Addenbrooke’s expand by around 10% to the south while still protecting the bulk of the green belt around Cambridge.

The recommendation to include the site in the Council’s Local Plan – the top level local policy that guides development up until 2031 – will now be considered by the planning portfolio holder at his meeting next Tuesday (8 November).

Recommendations from the planning portfolio holder will be presented to a meeting of Council on Thursday 17 November. If agreed, the modifications suggested and supporting evidence will then be submitted to the Government inspectors currently examining the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan.

The report also covers other modifications suggested to the Plan. These include small revisions to the area that could be developed at the proposed new village at Bourn Airfield.

Since the site was suggested, promoters have done additional work and have put forward to the Council a number of parcels that could be developed to make best use of the land available.

The extra parcels include land near to the existing employment area within the main body of the Airfield and some around the entrance to the new village and near Highfields Caldecote.

Council planners are recommending the new pieces of land can be included to give more flexibility to create a better flow and feel for the proposed new village and at the same time making sure there is appropriate separation from neighbouring villages.

New evidence on the future accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers is also included in the report. This shows that no new sites are needed. Eleven plots for Travelling Showpeople are needed to meet their needs up to 2031 with officers suggesting existing planning policies remain in place to deal with any applications for new plots in the future.

The Council’s Local Plan includes creating 22,000 new jobs and 19,500 new homes. New homes would mainly be at the new town north of Waterbeach, new village at Bourn Airfield and an expansion to Cambourne. These are in addition to homes already being planned or built at Northstowe and on the edge of Cambridge.

Cllr Robert Turner, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for planning, said: “I am pleased that our planners are able to recommend including an extension to the Biomedical Campus. Some really good challenges were laid down by councillors and officers earlier this year to make sure allocating the land for the expansion was viable without harming the nearby springs and nature reserve. The experts have robustly checked the new evidence and good policies have been suggested to allow the Campus to expand in the future if necessary.

“There is a pressing demand for high quality and well-connected new homes and we must make sure we make the best use of the land available. Once I have weighed up the evidence at my portfolio holder’s meeting all councillors will have the opportunity to debate and vote on the recommendations we put forward to councillors.”

To view the report to be presented to the planning portfolio holder’s meeting visit http://scambs.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=1059&MId=6771&Ver=4

Summary of main areas homes were proposed in the Local Plan submitted to Government in March 2014:

Larger strategic sites:

  • North of Waterbeach (new town) – 8,000-9,000 homes, 1,400 of which by 2031.
  • Bourn airfield new village – 3,500 homes, 1,700 of which by 2031.
  • Cambourne West – 1,200 homes, all by 2031.

    Edge of Cambridge:
  • Near ARM, Fulbourn Road – a small area of employment land as an extension to Peterhouse Technology Park (along with 2 other small areas in City      Council’s area).
  • Cambridge Northern Fringe East/proposed Cambridge Science Park Station area – redevelopment following joint area action plan being developed (SCDC and City Council).

    Cambridge Airport site:

Airport itself not planned for development during the plan period. Held in reserve for possible development after 2031 if it becomes available (SCDC and City Council).

Two parts of the original Cambridge East site coming forward as planned;

  • Marshall’s Wing development north of Newmarket road – 1,200 homes (SCDC), and
  • North of Cherry Hinton for 110 homes

 Smaller local sites:

  • A total of around 900 homes proposed to be split over the villages of      Comberton, Gamlingay, Histon & Impington, Melbourn, Sawston and      Willingham

 Parish council led proposals:

  • Great and Little Abington Parish Councils: 53 homes on three small sites
  • Graveley Parish Council: six homes on Toseland Road

 The sites listed are in addition to the 14,000 homes already committed to in locations such as the edge of Cambridge and the new town of Northstowe.