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Bourn Quarter business park approved - and Cambridge Design Partnership plans to move there



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A new business park on the Bourn Airfield development, inspired by a high-tech European campus, has been granted planning permission - and already has its first committed tenant.

Councillors on South Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee voted seven to two last Wednesday (January 13) to approve the application, submitted by Diageo Pension Trust Ltd, for the business park on land between Cambourne and Cambridge.

An illustrative CGI depicting Bourn Quarter business park. Picture: Michael Sparks Associates
An illustrative CGI depicting Bourn Quarter business park. Picture: Michael Sparks Associates

The business park, called Bourn Quarter, will be located on the former Gestamp factory site, in the north east of the Bourn Airfield area, the rest of which is subject to a separate planning application submitted by Countryside Properties for a new 3,500-home development, which is due to be decided in the early part of this year, although the principal of development on the site is established via an approved supplementary planning document.

The first phase of the business park has been granted full planning permission. It includes a gym, restaurant, café, and a day nursery and creche.

The second phase was granted outline approval, meaning an additional planning application with further details will be required.

An illustrative CGI depicting Bourn Quarter business park. Picture: Michael Sparks Associates
An illustrative CGI depicting Bourn Quarter business park. Picture: Michael Sparks Associates

Speaking on behalf of the developer, Jeremy Aitchison told the committee: “The vision was to create a development that would exceed what the standard industrial estate offers in every possible way. We wanted to create a place that would attract both local industrial businesses and larger technology companies.

“We wanted a highly sustainable development that looked amazing and that would attract high-quality companies and their staff.”

He said it will “deliver much-needed commercial space on what is currently a brownfield site, and will deliver over 800 jobs to the area”.

An illustrative site map depicting Bourn Quarter business park. Picture: Michael Sparks Associates
An illustrative site map depicting Bourn Quarter business park. Picture: Michael Sparks Associates

Mr Aitchison said the concept has been inspired by the High Tech Campus Eindhoven in the Netherlands, which hosts a large number of technology companies and has been referred to as one of the most inventive of its kind.

Technology and design consultancy Cambridge Design Partnership, currently based in Toft, spoke in favour of the application, saying it has signed on to be a tenant in the new development.

Speaking for Bourn Parish Council, Des O’Brien said the parish council does not oppose the development in principle, but said “we object on the basis of issues to do with transport”.

An illustrative CGI depicting Bourn Quarter business park. Picture: Michael Sparks Associates
An illustrative CGI depicting Bourn Quarter business park. Picture: Michael Sparks Associates

He questioned the plans for discouraging private car use, and said “we have an issue around public transport,” noting the delays to the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Cambourne to Cambridge busway project.

Cllr Richard Williams told his fellow members of the planning committee that he would vote against the plans on the basis of “inadequate public transport connectivity”.

An aerial view of Bourn Quarter business park. Picture: Michael Sparks Associates/Google Maps
An aerial view of Bourn Quarter business park. Picture: Michael Sparks Associates/Google Maps

He criticised the withdrawal of conditions that would have asked the developer to improve existing routes to the site to make it more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists. Cllr Heather Williams also voted against approval.

According to the planning officer report, the application is the “third attempt” to redevelop the brownfield site.

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