hills road

Betjemen House, Cambridge

Pace Limited
56,000 sq m

Working hand in glove with Pace Investments Ltd, we worked to secure consent for 56,000 sq m of new workspace in the heart of the emerging Cambridge CBD at Station Road.

Building upon Cambridge’s reputation as an inclusive city with a world class standing for vibrant and thriving education, research and knowledge-based industries, we led the development of a planning application to maximise the unique opportunities of the site whilst responding to market need.

In partnership with Stirling Prize winning Architect AHMM, Bidwells’ Commercial, Building and Planning divisions collaborated to balance the competing requirements of environmental, cultural and economic sustainability, facilitating a scheme which would lead by example to create a more sustainable and successful workplace.

The site, however, was not without its challenges. It is situated within the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, a Grade II* registered park and garden and home to the Flying Pig Public House, a building synonymous with the local community. The adoption of an exemplar approach to engaging with the community determined that the Flying Pig would be an important asset to retain within the proposed scheme.

Despite a recommendation to grant consent, the application was refused following a six-hour debate at planning committee. Christopher Katkowski QC was appointed to lead an appeal via Public Inquiry. Key to success at appeal was a no-nonsense review of the market and a systematic balancing exercise of benefit vs. harm. In plain English the pressing need for new floorspace in a highly constrained location was choking the economic potential of one of the most significant contributors to UK PLC. The delivery of new supply was a very significant benefit.

hills road

Whilst the scheme should not have required an appeal, there was no doubt that the work put in to the foundations of the case were fundamental in securing success. It is a great example of a clear planning narrative and strong and cohesive teamwork producing results.

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Jonathan Bainbridge

Partner, Planning

Jonathan leads our London planning team, focussing on technology clusters, large-scale residential, council headquarters and higher education – it’s an eclectic CV.

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Image of Dick Wise 2024

Dick Wise

Partner, Head of Business Space Agency

Dick leads our award-winning business space agency teams across the south of England and is one of Cambridgeshire’s best known and leading property advisors.

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James Abraham

Partner, Project Management

Over the course of his career, James has procured over £5bn of construction work.  Every scheme has been delivered without fail. That’s some track record.

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Martina Sechi

Associate, Head of Landscape & Townscape Assessment

Martina is passionate about townscape architecture, ensuring her clients’ visions are delivered in a way that complement their settings.

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