PLANS to build a science building on greenbelt land that will study “humanity’s greatest challenges” have been unanimously approved by councillors.
Silwood Park Science Park at Buckhurst Road, Ascotwill see a new three-story “Life Sciences Building” that will examine plants, animals, microorganisms, disease and humans.
The 5,260 m² building, which will come with a café, will be divided into offices and laboratory space to help its science and research professions. It will host small and medium scientific enterprises and start-ups.
The plans are hoped to ‘kickstart’ the regeneration of the park, create 130 full-time jobs and new learning and training opportunities, help grow the life sciences profession in the UK and inject £27 million sterling in the UK economy.
Speaking on behalf of developer NSS IV (Real Estate) LLP at Windsor and Ascot development management meeting, Neil Rowley said the building will help “address humanity’s greatest challenges” and research malaria, food security, wildfires and tools to predict and mitigate the next pandemic.
It will however be a question of demolishing the existing business center and developing on the green belt. The park will also have to increase its current 211 parking spaces by 13 bays, 45 of which will have charging stations for electric vehicles.
Ascot and Sunninghill Parish Council opposed the plans and had ‘serious concerns’ the increased height of the building will affect the opening of the green belt and the small increase in parking spaces is ‘totally inadequate” given that the site has “poor” public transport networks, leading to an increase in the number of employees traveling there.
Cllr Julian Sharpe (Con: Ascot & Sunninghill) said: “This is a very good app on a very good site.
“It’s a site that I identified about 11 years ago when we were doing the neighborhood plan as absolutely the right site for a development of this type.
“I’m really glad he showed up. It seems to be very suitable in the area and is absolutely the right development. It is absolutely an integral part of Imperial College, which is opposite.
“The problem I think I identify is the potential increase in car travel on Buckhurst Road and I hope we find a solution to that.”
Royal Borough planning officers believed that the economic benefits and proposed landscaping, tree planting and environmentally friendly features, such as heat pumps, outweighed the damage to the greenbelt.
They also found its impact on the highway, its appearance on the character of the area and its parking options acceptable.
Councilors on the planning committee gave the plans their unanimous support on Wednesday, March 2.