The University of Cambridge owned West Cambridge Campus is a 65 hectare site with outline permission for 170,000 sq m of academic, residential and commercial research development. The site is already home to a number of University departments, including the Computer Laboratory, the Nanoscience Centre and the Cavendish Laboratory, which sit alongside commercial organisations such as Schlumberger. The University also owns a greenfield site on the north west side of Cambridge on which it has secured outline planning permission for 3,000 new residential dwellings and around 100,000 sq m of academic and commercial research space. The University are keen to ensure the campuses deliver environments that work for both the academic and business occupiers.
We have worked with the University for a number of years to support their ambitions for both sites – supporting the planning case and working as part of the masterplanning team at North West Cambridge. We have worked to understand what the University is seeking to achieve at West Cambridge, liaising in particular with the estates team and academics to build a vision for the site and work on updating the masterplan. We have sought to combine our knowledge of what R&D businesses are looking for with extensive consultation with the University to ensure all its objectives are met.
The University is delivering considerable new academic floorspace and has seen the development - with a private sector partner - of new accommodation for R&D businesses, which they have now re-acquired using pre-emption rights.