Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Rejected - AgriTech park, Hinxton

Friday, 16 March 2018 15:43

Proposed AgriTech park site Proposed AgriTech park site © Terence O’Rourke Ltd 2017

South Cambs District Council has refused outline planning permission for an AgriTech park near Hinxton.

Smithson-Hill Ltd applied for outline permission (S/4099/17/OL) to develop an AgriTech park for employment space. The main location of the proposed site is near Hinxton on land east of the A1301, south of the A505 and west of the A1301. The application also included a cycle path to connect to a proposed bus and cycle interchange next to Whittlesford rail station. The bus and cycle interchange site lies within the Green Belt.

The park would provide office and manufacturing space for businesses connected with agriculture but not for research and development. The site, for 4,000 or more employees, would be near the Wellcome Institute, who themselves are probably going to extend their estate. There seemed little evidence that any business wished to take up accommodation and therefore we considered the application speculative.

CPRE, along with the neighbouring parish councils and many individuals, put in a strong objection on the grounds that development in the countryside, outside the development framework, should be raised by review of the Local Plan. In addition, the proposed bus and cycle interchange would encroach on the Green Belt.

Other reasons for objection include:

  • Loss of arable and rural landscape
  • The generation of car journeys overwhelming the capacity of local roads
  • Added light pollution
  • Urbanisation and the potential for flood risk
  • The need for a business case

The planning officer report recommended refusal. The Councillors agreed and refused the application. 

Site of proposed AgriTech park

View of the site of the proposed AgriTech park

This matter will emerge in the future.  A Cambridge News report states the developer saying “...We are looking forward to pressing ahead and working with stakeholders and communities to bring the application to the next stage of the planning process...” 

So we haven’t heard the end of it. It looks likely that the next stage will be submission to the review of the Local Plan, expected to start in 2019.

You can view our objection letter under Downloads.




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