Local Plan could 'support' better genomics research at Hinxton

The Genome Campus sign at Hinxton, Cambridgeshire

The Genome Campus in Cambridgeshire is home to world-class genomics research - Credit: Google Earth

A 1,500-home development could take shape near the A11 at Hinxton to support 4,300 new jobs at the Genome Campus.

The Greater Cambridge Shared Planning team is putting together its Local Plan and has earmarked space along the A11 for future Genome Campus expansion.

Expansion plans would coincide with The Wellcome Trust's aim to bolster the site's reputation as an "international centre for scientific, business, cultural and educational activities".

To do this, a Greater Cambridge Local Plan policy could "support development which relates to the campus and its role as a centre for genomics and associated bioinformatics industries".

South Cambridgeshire District Council already supports the principle of a mixed-use development which would provide an extra 150,000 square metres of research and translation floorspace.

This could create around 4,300 jobs and would be accompanied by 1,500 new homes, a school, nursery and community facilities.

A Local Plan policy would recognise a change of land use.

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Without a new policy, a Greater Cambridge Local Plan report suggests that the campus will struggle to grow.

It reads: "A new policy is needed."

It adds: "Without a policy designation, the area would be within countryside policies, which would not reflect the scale of change taking place in the area or provide a suitable context for future proposals within the site."

The campus already houses The Wellcome Trust's Sanger Institute, which helped record a complete human DNA sequence for the first time in 2003.

Wellcome Sanger tracks the location of Covid-19 variants throughout the UK.

An old carpark overrun with nature near the A11 at Fourwentways, Cambridgeshire

The Greater Cambridge Local Plan includes a raft of infill policies, and policies to support landowners build on brownfields sites, such as this one at Fourwentways - Credit: Google Earth

Throughout Greater Cambridge, Local Plan policies will focus on re-using brownfields sites, such as the former Comfort Café at Fourwentways, for start-ups and small businesses.

The report notes that there is an "affordability crisis" for first-time buyers, a need to combat homelessness, and a growing need for laboratory space.

It is independent of the Uttlesford Local Plan process south of the A11.

The Uttlesford Local Plan "Call for Sites" map at Great Chesterford, showing a suggested development area near the A11

Uttlesford District Council is going through its own Local Plan process and could decide to earmark land near the A11 at Great Chesterford for future housing - Credit: Uttlesford Local Plan/Ordnance Survey

In Uttlesford, a policy has been mooted to allow for up to 3,500 homes on the other side of the dual carriageway at Great Chesterford.

A consultation on the policies in Greater Cambridge is online until December 13: https://bit.ly/3oh8gg8