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A plan for a huge AgriTech park near Hinxton that could have created almost 5,000 new jobs has been refused

A Park for AgriTech - Hinxton
A Park for AgriTech - Hinxton

Developers have said they will continue to press forward with the plans.

A huge new AgriTech park near Hinxton has been turned down by council planners at a meeting this morning.

SmithsonHill, proposing the plans for the AgriTech park know as ARC, said the development would have brought “economic benefits on a national level”. It would have been a base for research and development into improving food and agriculture production.

The application said the resaerch would take on the global challenges of hunger, malnutrition and sustainable production.

At a more local level it claimed to have the potential to provide 4,884 full time equivalent jobs and high-skill careers.

The plan was turned down as the development was not allocated for development in the local plan.

Planners, who recommended the application be refused prior to the planning committee’s meeting this morning, March 7, also said the park would “result in negative impacts in terms of substantial and significant landscape and visual harm, adversely affecting the curtilage and wider setting of the Grade II listed building Hinxton Grange and the loss of high grade agricultural land”.

Planners also said the application failed to provide a “satisfactory” transport assessment and flood risk assessment.

Emma Fletcher, managing director, at SmithsonHill, said: “We understand that significant proposals take time.

“Wellcome was initially declined. Planning for the biomedical campus was granted 5 years before AstraZeneca became its significant tenant.

“ARC can be as significant as both of these sites in the field of AgriTech, a sector highlighted as key to the UK’s future economic success in the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

“This outline planning application was the first step forward, and as history suggests, it is something we expected to undergo a thorough review.

“We are looking forward to pressing ahead and working with stakeholders and communities to bring this application to the next stage of the planning process.”

Cllr Pippa Corney, chairman of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee, said: “South Cambridgeshire has a world-class reputation for scientific research in many fields, and rightly so.

“This council has a track-record of supporting economic development, through carefully planned growth, to help facilitate this research.

“However, everyone on the planning committee who voted unanimously agreed that this plan proposed an unsustainable development for many reasons. We heard and acknowledged significant local concerns relating to the impact it would have on roads, transport, the environment and countryside.

“The economic arguments for this very sizable scheme were outweighed by fundamental concerns about the negative impacts we felt it would have on the surrounding area.”

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