Plans for sustainable and intelligent workspace in Cambridge approved by City Council

November 1, 2023

Cambridge City Council planning committee have given the go ahead for design changes to plans for Botanic Place, a sustainable and intelligent workspace development in Cambridge. Included in the existing planning permission is the restoration and renovation of the Flying Pig pub, which remains unchanged.

The minor material amendments were submitted to the local planning authority by means of a Section 73 planning application in May 2023, and were intended to 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 new £500m, 500,000 sq. ft workspace scheme, located next to Cambridge University Botanic Garden on Hills Road, has been 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.

Richard Van Lente, Senior Asset and Development Manager, Railpen said: “The vision for Botanic Place has been shaped by valuable input from the community and a local authority that shares our dedication to sustainable progress. The development will create specific employment opportunities for disadvantaged people from the local community through the construction phase, and once built it is our ambition that the space will be a hub of innovation, community, and wellbeing”.

The amendments will reduce construction time and disruption, lower vehicle traffic, and provide more public green spaces upon completion. Reducing the basement depth and delivering both buildings in one phase will shorten construction time by 21 months, increasing the amount of publicly accessible green space to over 2000sqm and enhancing the 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.

Doug Higgins, Development Director, Socius said: “We’re delighted that the council are aligned with us on our vision to make Botanic Place the most sustainable and intelligent workplace in the city. We would like to thank everyone that we have engaged with so far for their constructive feedback and support, and we look forward to delivering a space that the city will be proud of over the coming years.”

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