Planning Case Study 19

Wellcome Genome Campus, Cambridge Road, Hinxton, Cambridgeshire


Planning scenario(s)

1 - Pre-determination assessment/evaluation identified significant new heritage assets - Pre-determination assessment/evaluation identified significant archaeology on the development site (i.e. the results created significant new knowledge), especially where none was previously known in the HER.

Heritage assets affected

Undesignated heritage assets with archaeological and historic interest

Type of application & broad category

Major, commercial and residential

Local planning authority

Authority: South Cambridgeshire District Council
References: S/2209/18/E2 EIA Scoping, S/4329/18/OL

Development proposal

Up to 175,000 sq m of Gross External Area (GEA) of flexible employment space including research and development, office and workspace and associated uses. Land uses will comprise primarily B1 (office, labs, light industry); Up to 1,500 new residential dwellings; Supporting social infrastructure including a nursery and primary school and community uses; Ancillary retail and leisure uses including shops, restaurants, cafes and bars; Landscape and public realm, including areas for sustainable drainage and biodiversity enhancements; Energy centre and utilities; Site access, car and cycle parking and highways improvements; and Associated works. Expansion of Research Campus and associated accommodation.

Archaeological information known about the site before the planning application was made, or before the development commenced, as appropriate

There was very little evidence of heritage assets on the development site itself. However, it is located in an area where there is extensive evidence of prehistoric, Roman, Anglo-Saxon and medieval settlement and other activity, including from development of the nearby research centre itself over the last c.25 years.

Archaeological/planning processes

A baseline assessment for cultural heritage was presented at the start of the EIA process in the scoping document. The local authority archaeology adviser recommended a series of techniques to evaluate the proposal area, not all of which was available for evaluation at that stage because of crop trials taking place on the land.

Discussions between the archaeological adviser to the LPA and the developer’s archaeological consultants took place regarding techniques to be used in the EIA.

A desk-based assessment, geophysical survey and a field evaluation were subsequently undertaken. The desk-based assessment concluded that the site was considered to have a high potential to contain Roman remains, a high potential to contain Anglo-Saxon funerary remains, a moderate to high potential to contain Bronze Age remains, and a moderate potential to contain early prehistoric and Iron Age remains.

The geophysical survey identified a probable trackway and other linear features.

The evaluation comprised 159 trenches over an area of 63ha, a 2.5% sample of the site. The earliest material recovered comprised early prehistoric flint assemblages, and small amounts of Neolithic, early and later Bronze Age features and finds. Later Iron Age and early Roman remains consisted of ditches with associated pits and postholes along a formalised section of the Icknield Way. An early Roman or later trackway was associated with field boundaries.

Outcomes: archaeological

The case is ongoing. The EIA is under review and comments on the Environmental Statement have been supplied by the local authority adviser. Linear features will be referenced in the layout of the new development, and mitigation areas have been selected for excavation in advance of development should consent be granted.

Other outcomes/outputs e.g. other public benefit such as public engagement, research and new/changed work practices

Public benefit will ensue through management of impacts on the archaeological resource. All previous phases of archaeological work on the campus have resulted in outreach work both within the campus and in the local community. The S106 Heads of Terms will include the cultural heritage so that display and interpretation will take place.

References and links/bibliography

  • Quod 2018, Wellcome Genome Campus Development Project, EIA Scoping Report. Unpublished report.
  • Oxford Archaeology South 2018, Wellcome Genome Campus Development, Hinxton, Archaeological desk-based assessment. Unpublished report.
  • Magnitude Surveys 2018, Wellcome Genome Campus Development, Hinxton, Geophysical Survey report.
  • Oxford Archaeology East 2018, Wellcome Genome Campus Development Project, Hinxton, Cambridgeshire, Archaeological Evaluation. Unpublished report, OAE no 2266.