Demolition of Unit 23

  • Date 1 Nov 2019

Notice to Park members

Our contractors will be on site w/c 11 November to begin the demolition of the former Innovation Centre (unit 23). The site is being cleared now so that if/when planning consent is granted for the hotel and outdoor social area (known as the Hub), we can commence building works without delay.

The Hub has been designed to be a visually prominent gateway into the Park, and a social space within the estate. It will comprise a Village Hotel served by a multi-storey car park, offices and retail units plus a variety of spaces for outdoor activities and events. It will also act as a central hub and information point for visitors to the Park.

The development of a landscape strategy for the Hub was an integral part of the planning application which was submitted to the planning authority in December 2018. The landscape strategy included a detailed assessment of the current tree stock as well as provision for planting new trees. Each tree in this area was subject to a detailed survey by specialists to determine their condition and life expectancy as well as their suitability for a lakeside setting. Their ability to attract wildlife was also taken into account.

Most of the trees were found to be Category C which means their life expectancy is less than 10 years. Others were assessed as being unsuitable for a lakeside setting or had limited wildlife value (such as ornamental cherries and spruce). In some areas the trees have matured into blocks of canopies with densely shaded areas underneath supressing a potentially biodiverse ground flora.

Whilst tree removal goes against our typical design values, the final strategy (which was approved by the planning authority) involves the felling of 163 trees. Once the buildings are complete, 113 trees will be planted which are suitable for this new space and the lake setting. Appropriate tree species will be planted in strategic locations to frame views, and provide focal points whilst also benefitting biodiversity. We acknowledge that fewer trees will be planted than the number of trees felled. However we need to provide adequate space for the new trees to grow as well as allowing sufficient space between trees for sunlight to penetrate enabling ground flora to flourish and promoting biodiversity.

The landscape scheme also includes a swale close to the entrance of the site which will be seeded with a diverse meadow grass mixture and populated with plants tolerating wetter soils such as Flag iris, Marsh marigold and Purple Loosestrife. The swale has been included as part of the sustainability strategy and will help to naturally cleanse the site’s collected rainwater before it enters the lake.

The development of the new Park-wide masterplan includes a review of other trees across the Park as part of our strategy to ensure successional renewal of the current tree stock.

The removal of the trees will begin w/c 4 November 2019.

We apologise for the inconvenience caused during the demolition works and development of the Hub*. However we are confident any short term disruption will far out-weigh the longer term benefits of having a Village Hotel on the Park within a much improved landscape encompassing higher quality trees and enhanced biodiversity.

Thank you for your patience.

Jeanette Walker, Director, Cambridge Science Park

*assuming planning consent is granted

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