Proposals will deliver 291 homes on the site of the former National Institute of Agricultural Botany

Architect and masterplanner JTP has won planning permission for a development of 291 built-to-rent flats and a 202-room apartment hotel on the site of the former National Institute of Agricultural Botany in Cambridge.

The proposals, for Howes Green – on Huntingdon Road, north-west of Cambridge city centre – involve the demolition of all structures but the NIAB’s former headquarters building on the 2.85ha site.

The structure, designed by P R Morley Horder in the 1920s, is currently being converted to provide 68 new homes under separate proposals. NIAB moved to a new headquarters in Cambridge designed by Paul Evans Architects in 2020.

Earlier this month, members of Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council’s joint developent control committee approved the JTP plans for the seven residential blocks and the new hotel, which were drawn up for Vertex Living.

Huntingdon Road 1 ©JTP and Atelier78

Source: JTP and Atelier 78

JTP’s proposals for the former NIAB site in Cambridge

JTP associate Emma Armstrong said the proposals had taken cues from the form, massing and detail of the existing NIAB building, with brick chosen as the predominant material for the scheme.

She said Howes Green would be Cambridge’s first “large-scale build-to-rent community” and would support the city council’s net-zero carbon emission ambitions by promoting active travel, circular economy principles and climate resilience.

“The scheme demonstrates a commitment to enhance the former NIAB site,” she said. “New homes, landscaped open space and valuable new amenities will create a truly walkable neighbourhood where residents have access to their daily necessities right on their doorstep.”

The apartment hotel element of the scheme includes a “small” microbrewery, while the housing part includes a management office, community rooms and designated space for a café or shop.