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Huawei moves to quell fears over plans for Sawston site

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Chinese IT giant Huawei is encouraging residents from the villages of Sawston, Whittlesford, Little Shelford and further afield to attend a two-day public exhibition about the company’s exciting plans for the former Spicers site in Sawston, South Cambridgeshire.

The public exhibition will be held at the Walnut Gallery, Sawston Village College, New Road, Sawston, CB22 3BP on Friday, April 26, (4pm to 8pm) and Saturday, April 27 (10am to 2pm) and will give residents an opportunity to view the proposals for the site and share their views before an application is submitted to South Cambridgeshire District Council in May.

Huawei - An artist's impression of the planned R&D site on the old Spicers area (8830218)
Huawei - An artist's impression of the planned R&D site on the old Spicers area (8830218)

The proposals include a new research and development facility on unused shrubland to the west of the existing industrial units. The development will create circa 350 jobs, with a range of different roles envisaged to be created, and generate a significant boost for the local and national economy.

If residents are unable to attend the exhibition, from Monday, April 29, they will be able to view the proposals and complete an online feedback form on www.theformerspicerssite.co.uk.

Huawei met with parish councillors, district councillors and other local stakeholders recently to make sure the plans reflect the site’s heritage and history. Huawei is still keen to hear from as many people as possible about the proposals.

Last year, Huawei paid £37.5m for the 550-acre plot in what was considered to be the biggest industrial deal of the year. The company is crucial to the delivery of 5G mobile networks in the UK, but so far local residents had been unable to learn about Huawei’s plans.

Whittlesford Conservative councillor Peter Topping says Huawei should hold a proper consultation.

He told the Cambridge Independent: “The old site is a very big green area and it is pretty well known because the stationery company, Spicers, was there for about 100 years. It is hundreds of acres, even though the brownfield site in the middle is smaller, but Huawei has acquired the whole site.

“To be fair to them, they have announced they want to do some local consultation but one of my concerns is the speed. They say they want to have a public meeting at the end of April and put a planning application in shortly afterwards in early May.

“What I am saying is that we welcome the consultation, but do it properly. If it needs another month let’s make sure people’s views are heard.”

Huawei’s proposals would create 24,000 square metres of commercial floorspace, including 6,000 square metres of office space together with research and development areas.

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