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Decision details

14/1633/REM : Land To The West And South West Of Addenbrookes Campus

Decision Maker: Planning

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


The Committee received an application for reserved matters.


The application sought approval for the reserved matters pursuant to outline approval 06/0796/OUT for a total of 59,821sqm (Gross External Area excluding plant) Bitotech and Biomedical Research and Development floorspace, to include:


i) R&D Centre and Corporate Headquarters,

ii) R&D Enabling Building,

iii) Support Building and Energy Centre,

iv) Associated car, motorbike and cycle parking,

v) Hard and soft landscaping,

vi)Internal roads, supporting facilities and ancillary infrastructure.


The Planning Officer referred to the amendment sheet which had been circulated prior to the meeting. Three bullet points were identified with further objections to the application with officer responses to those three points. Also included was a summary of a letter circulated to the Committee from the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) in which there were three main points.


The Legal Advisor to the Committee explained on the first bullet point which was hazardous activities on the site.  The objection included concerns that the Council did not have enough information from the applicant, particularly on storage and disposal of sensitive materials such as chemical waste.  No one was disputing that public safety is a material consideration and officers had treated it as such. There were areas governed by separate legislation and there were areas where planning overlapped with other controls and other legislation.  The key point running through case law was that the Council needed to be satisfied that it had sufficient information on which to base its decision as the Local Planning Authority. Here, the Environmental Health Officer was content that the Council has received enough information on these issues as the Local Planning Authority. If that information had exposed an obvious risk to public safety which we believed could not be addressed, then that could form a reason to refuse an application - but this was not the case. There are other regimes for controlling the storage and disposal of sensitive materials administered by bodies such as, the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency. As part of making its decision, the Council is entitled to and should have regard to the existence of these regimes. There was nothing to suggest that those regulatory authorities could not or would not exercise adequate control on those issues and the Committee was entitled to assume that these other regulatory regimes would operate effectively.


In relation to the second point made by BUAV, the Planning Officer advised the Committee that the Council asked the question of the applicant through their agent whether the building design will enable compliance with the EU Directive, and it was confirmed to the Council that it would. This was to establish that EU Directive requirements had been part of the design process. The BUAV letter referred to the need for dog runs to comply with the Animals (Scientific) Procedures Act 1986. No dog runs had been proposed and there was nothing in the information provided by the applicant to suggest that dogs would be proposed to be brought on site. If this were to change in the future and dogs were brought onto the site which would require dog runs, this would need to form a new application and would need to be considered by the Council separately, including the noise impacts highlighted in the BUAV letter.


On the third point, concerning noise from protests, the Legal Advisor referred to paragraph 8.147 of the report, which acknowledged that noise was a material consideration and makes a point about the extent to which, in the officer’s view, noise from protests could reasonably form a ground for refusal of this application. The Legal Advisor stated that it was right to say that noise from peaceful protest was not a direct result of the development, in the way that noise made by visitors was, or noise made by machinery being operated on site, for example; rather than emanating from the development itself or its use, it was noise from third parties who might choose to protest against what would then be a lawful, permitted use of the site.  This was a grey area, but noise and other disturbance resulting from peaceful, lawful protest was capable of being a material consideration.  The fact that it doesn’t flow directly from the development is a factor that made it difficult to predict, in terms of the extent of noise and disturbance that could be caused by protests. The weight to be given to this was a matter for Committee. It should be noted that the police had not raised an objection to the application. As far as unlawful activities were concerned or unlawful breaches of the peace, it would be for the police to keep order.


The Committee received representations in objection to the application from Arron Mahthai, Vikki Semple and Lulu Agate.


The representation from Arron Mathai covered the following issues:


  i.  Expressed concern over the use of substances which could be used as chemical warfare agents. The officers had not received sufficient information from the applicants on such usage to properly advise the Committee.

  ii.  The issue of use of dog experimentation had not been properly addressed by the applicants or in the Officer report. There should be a condition put on the application so that dogs cannot be used.

  iii.  Protest was a material planning consideration that the officers had not advised the Committee properly of, so the Committee could not make an informed decision.


The representation from Vikki Semple covered the following issue:


  i.  The applicant’s degenerative experiments on animals were contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 s41, s42, s71, s72.  More information was needed on the proposed use of animals.


The representation from Lulu Agate covered the following issues:


  i.  There would be increased vehicular movements, leading to more noise and pollution. 

  ii.  There was concern about waste disposal, contaminated animal body waste and incineration was not ideal.

  iii.  The new road to Addenbrookes was not a positive contribution to the environment. 

  iv.  There was increased demand on the water supply because of all the development


The Committee received a representation in support to the application from Dr Osbourn (on behalf of the applicant).


The Committee:


Resolved (by 6-0 with 1 abstention) to grant the application for reserved matters in accordance with the officer recommendation, for the reasons set out in the officer report, and subject to the conditions recommended by the officers.


Publication date: 02/04/2015

Date of decision: 04/02/2015

Decided at meeting: 04/02/2015 - Planning

Accompanying Documents: