Amendments to plans for the most sustainable and intelligent workspace in Cambridge submitted to Council

Design changes have been submitted for Botanic Place, a new office scheme with planning permission being developed by Railpen and Socius, which will see the delivery of the most sustainable and intelligent workspace in the UK, outside of London. The amendments, which are currently under review by Cambridge City Council, will significantly reduce the carbon impact of construction, improve energy efficiency, promote active travel with greater accessibility and priority for cyclists over cars, and enhance the volume of accessible shared outdoor green space.

The minor material amendments were submitted to the local planning authority by means of a Section 73 planning application on Friday 26 May.

Botanic Place, located next to Cambridge University Botanic Garden on Hills Road, has an existing planning consent for a new £500m, 500,000 sq. ft workspace scheme, designed by award-winning architects, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM). The workspace prioritises energy efficiency to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer whilst using 70% less energy than traditional office buildings and will be powered using renewable energy sources.

Doug Higgins, Development Director, Socius said: “Through our conversations with the council and community over the past few years, it is clear that sustainability, green space and limiting vehicle congestion are of high importance in Cambridge. We are pleased to have submitted this Section 73 Application which we hope will position Botanic Place as the most sustainable and intelligent workplace in the city.

“We thank people who have taken the time to engage with us on these amendments and we look forward to the council determining our application in the next few months.”

The amendments to the plans will reduce construction time and disruption, lower vehicle traffic, and provide more public green spaces. The proposed changes include reducing the depth of the basement and delivering both buildings in one phase to shorten construction time by 21 months, increasing the amount of publicly accessible green space to over 2000sqm and an enhanced cyclist experience with two dedicated entrances placed in the centre of the scheme. In line with the City Council’s Climate Change Strategy, the new plans will also significantly reduce the number of car parking spaces available and increase the number of cycle parking spaces to over 1,500, encouraging active travel modes within the city.

Richard Van Lente, Senior Asset and Development Manager, Railpen said: “The plans for Botanic Place have incorporated feedback from the local community and will see over 200 local jobs created, the development of cafes, restaurants, a market hall promoting healthy and sustainable local food and drink, alongside the existing public house which will be renovated. It’s an exciting project, within a thriving knowledge-led economy and a supportive local authority who share our commitment to sustainable development.”

Botanic Place will drive economic and social value for the community by providing new amenities and employment opportunities, both in construction and operation. In addition, Railpen and Socius aim to contribute to the recovery of wildlife in the area by providing green spaces designed to nurture the natural habitats of native species.

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