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      What we do/ Our Projects/ Betjemen House, Cambridge

      Cambridge’s first new-build BREEAM Outstanding office

      Client
      Pace Limited

      Size
      56,000 sq m

      Location
      Cambridge

      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.

      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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