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Sheppard Robson releases Melbourn Cambridge master-plan

Above: CGI aerial view of proposed master-plan for Melbourn Science Park, near Cambridge (Sheppard Robson)

Bruntwood SciTech, a Joint Venture partnership between Bruntwood and Legal & General, is scaling their support for the wider Cambridgeshire region as demand for specialist lab and office space soars, by investing over £250 million into a ten year masterplan to redevelop Melbourn Science Park and to include a village green for the local community to share.

Sheppard Robson's plans have been submitted to create 390,000 sq ft of world class laboratory and office workspace for approximately 75 life science and tech businesses, including new coworking space for start-up businesses, along with improvements to the facilities and amenities on the campus for both businesses based there and the local Melbourn community.

Following a 12 month Planning Performance Agreement with the Greater Cambridgeshire Planning Department and three public consultations, Bruntwood SciTech has revealed its vision and new artist’s impressions of the proposed masterplan, which will bolster Melbourn Science Park’s existing reputation within the world-renowned Cambridgeshire life science and tech cluster. Featuring biophilic, sustainable and wellbeing-orientated flexible design, the proposals include refurbishments of three existing buildings alongside six new builds which will offer coworking, leased, and managed lab and office space to accommodate the region’s burgeoning life science and tech sector from start-ups through to international R&D centres of excellence.

A new event space is proposed as well as all buildings including new breakout space, showers, lockers and sports kit drying rooms. Transport provision will be improved with a mobility hub featuring a large secure cycle store with repair and maintenance stations, cycle hire, and a car park with electric vehicle charging points. A new 18-bedroom hotel and a gastro pub are also planned.

All developments within the masterplan are targeted to be net zero carbon in construction and operation following a transformation project that will retain as much of the existing fabric of the Park’s buildings as possible. 3,450 tonnes of embodied carbon, the amount of carbon emitted during construction, will be saved by linking the heating and cooling network between the buildings in a state of the art 4th generation heat network connected to all electric air source heat pumps.

The Park will be 100% electric, targeting EPC A Ratings across its buildings, and 600sqm of solar panels will be installed across the Park’s roof space. Blue-green roofs will be installed on five of the new buildings, with an approximate size of almost 10 olympic-sized swimming pools, to ensure water drainage is sustainable and to support the campus’ biodiversity.

At a recent Future Cities Forum on science park development in Cambridge, Sheppard Robson's Lead Partner for Science Eugene Sayers, was asked whether science parks were genuinely keen to open out to the community and whether he felt the parks were better placed in our outside the city centre:

'I think science parks are genuine about bringing in the community. Some of our clients have practical security issues but generally there is a movement against being closed off. It is about activating places and allowing neighbours to feel they have a stake. You want to make these place attractive to the community and you want people to hang around longer throughout the day.

'Many science parks are on the outside of cities and they are not going away but have to fight with city-centre ones. It is no good sitting in a new research and development building unless you can get someone to sit with you. You have to find your USP and make the most of it. You have to have something else to offer, perhaps landscaping or a running track. There has been change after lockdown and the call for the softer stuff like higher quality interior design, something that is a bit closer to their homes and of course access to nature is very important.'


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