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Planning approval granted for £1bn Cambridge development

9 Aug 12 The University of Cambridge has been granted planning permission for its £1bn development in northwest Cambridge and is now seeking development partners.

Local planning authorities have given outline planning permission for the 150 hectare site which will include 1,500 homes for university and college employees, 1,500 homes for sale, accommodation for 2,000 students, 100,000 square metres of research facilities, including up to 40,000 square metres for research institutes and private research facilities linked to the university and a wide range of community facilities.  Around one third of the site will be used as public open space for sports, recreation and parkland.

“This development is a major part of the university’s long term future,” said vice-chancellor Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz. “It will provide much of the residential and research accommodation that the university needs as it grows over the next 20 years.”

Houses and flats will be built to Sustainable Homes Level 5, equivalent to zero carbon.  Non-residential buildings will be designed to BREEAM Level Excellent, making it one of the most sustainable developments of this scale in the UK.

The university has been working up the plans since 2003. Central to the proposal is a transport plan designed to minimise car use. The University has also developed a water management system for the entire site. This will ensure that the development does not add to flood risk and, it is claimed, will actually improve the flood situation downstream in Girton.

Phase one of the development will be subject to approval from the university’s Regent House, which will be sought in early 2013.  This will comprise around 530 homes for university staff, some 426 homes for sale, accommodation for 300 students and the local centre.

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Project director Roger Taylor said: “It is really important for the success of this development that we create a strong and healthy community right from the start.  That’s why we are building the local centre and community facilities in the first stage, not at the end.”

The university is now seeking residential and commercial development partners for the different elements of phase one.

The university recently announced the results of an architectural competition to select practices for the design of the eight lots that make up much of phase one.  The competition attracted entries from 158 national and international practices.

The aim is to start phase one in early 2013 and be completed by mid-2015.

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