CEEQUAL Excellent (86%) – Interim Client & Outline Design Award
Client: Devon County Council
Funder, site purchase and infrastructure: South West RDA
Masterplanning, landscape and urban design: LDA Design
Engineering & environmental consultant: Parsons Brinckerhoff
Assessor: Andrew Shepard
The vision of a Science Park for Exeter came into prominence during the development and examination of the Structure Plan “Devon to 2016” which was eventually adopted in October 2004. Following responses to a public consultation, East Devon District Council published a Supplementary Planning Document that covered a range of issues affecting the development of the Science Park, including guidelines and principles for masterplanning of the site, quality of the design, transport, access, and movement to and across the site.
The Exeter Science Park Masterplan was completed in the summer of 2008 by LDA Design. The outline planning application for Exeter Science Park was submitted in June 2009, by Devon County Council, and the planning decision notice was issued in March 2010.
The site is located on 24 hectares of land to the east of the M5 at Junction 29. This prime location will give Exeter Science Park excellent access to the City Centre, which is 4 miles away and Exeter International Airport only a short distance from the development.
The partners in the Science Park project, Devon County Council, the South West RDA, Exeter City Council, East Devon District Council, The Met Office, and the University of Exeter, have agreed to work together to ensure the success of the development.
Exeter Science Park is a significant element of the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point, which also includes the new residential community of Cranbrook and a high-quality business park, Skypark, a distribution and inter-modal freight terminal and an extension of Exeter Airport. Phase 1 infrastructure costs are estimated at £6.6m.
Environmental Impact Assessment
The production of the Environment Statement has involved specialists investigating a range of topics and was submitted with the outline planning application. The areas of investigation included:
- Air quality/climate change
- Archeology/cultural heritage
- Geology, soil/land contamination, water resources
- Land use, arboriculture, landscape and visual impact
- Noise and vibration
- Traffic and transportation
- Sustainability and waste
- Energy – renewable and sustainable sources.
Virtually all the investigations have been completed and the main points the masterplan needed to address in the development were:
- Protection and enhancement of ecology
- Respond positively to landscape character and visual prominence
- Protection and enhancement of trees
- Management of surface water drainage on site.
The access strategy for the East of Exeter developments, including the Science Park, contains an emphasis on the sustainable transport modes of walking, cycling and public transport. The strategy includes a new railway station at Cranbrook and a high-quality public transport system that will link the new developments to Exeter and will pass through the Science Park.
Pedestrian and cycle access to the site will be dramatically enhanced with a new landmark bridge across the M5 motorway. This is being constructed in 2010 with funding from the government’s Community Infrastructure Fund.
As part of the masterplan development process, separate energy and architectural studies have been undertaken to look at the ways Exeter Science Park can be planned now to ensure it is able to meet the sustainable energy targets likely to be in force in the future.
Proposals are being developed for the use of technology to provide both heat and electricity from renewable sources including consideration of combined heat and power. However, the demanding carbon emissions targets are not going to be met by technology alone. In response to this, the design process for the outline planning proposals looked at how buildings might be designed to minimise the demand for energy.
All buildings on the development will be designed to meet BREEAM Excellent ratings.