New business park on Cambs airfield granted planning permission

Planning permission has been granted for a new business park on the Bourn Airfield New Village site.

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

The business park will be called “Bourn Quarter,” and will be located on the former Gestamp factory site, in the northeast 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.

The first phase of the business park has been granted full planning permission, and the second phase was granted outline approval, meaning an additional planning application with further details will need to be brought back for the latter.

The permission also grants approval for the Bourn Quarter to include a gym, restaurant, café, and a day nursery and creche.

Aerial view outlining in red the site of the approved Bourn Quarter business park
(Image: Michael Sparks Associates/Google Maps)

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”.

Mr Aitchison said the concept has taken inspiration from 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 areas in the world.

Illustrative site map depicting Bourn Quarter business park
(Image: Michael Sparks Associates)

Technology and design company, the Cambridge Design Partnership, 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”.

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.

Illustrative GGI depicting approved Bourn Quarter business park
(Image: Michael Sparks Associates)

Councillor 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.”

He criticised the withdrawal of conditions which would have asked the developer to improve existing routes to the site which would make it more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists. Councillor 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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