Botanic Place development appoints inclusive design consultants Motionspot

Investors Railpen and development manager Socius have appointed Motionspot to embed inclusive and ergonomic design solutions throughout Botanic Place, the most sustainable speculative office scheme outside of London.

 Render of Botanic Place, Cambridge exterior

Set to be unique and first-in-class, Botanic Place aims to create approximately 915 jobs within its estate management team and through occupier companies. Located adjacent to Cambridge Botanic Gardens on Hills Road in Cambridge, Botanic Palace has planning permission for a new £500m, 500,000 sq. ft workspace scheme. Construction on the site is expected to begin in early 2024.


The appointment of Motionspot will ensure opportunities are as open as possible for potential future employees and visitors, creating what will be the most sustainable and inclusive workspace in Cambridge. We will minimise potential barriers within the built environment to create spaces that are more inclusive, accessible, and equitable through our evidence-based approach and working closely with Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) architects.  

 Render of Botanic Place, Cambridge exterior

Richard Van Lente, Senior Property Asset & Development Manager at Railpen, said: “We are committed to developing a space that benefits every member of its surrounding community, and we are delighted to be working alongside Motionspot to ensure that Botanic Place is a truly inclusive environment. Once completed, every section of the new office scheme development, from the offices, gardens, co-working spaces, public market-hall style dining space and beyond, will be truly accessible for all to enjoy.”


Doug Higgins, Development Director at Socius, welcomed the appointment, saying: “We embedded Motionspot within the design team to uphold inclusive design best-practice and raise the bar beyond minimum standards throughout the project. They will help up realise our ambitious goal of providing, not only the most sustainable office buildings of this scale in Cambridge, but also the most inclusive and accessible. One such example is the optional decision to commit to providing a fully compliant Changing Places facility for severely disabled people that can be reserved by any member of the public requiring the use of this facility and easily accessed on the ground floor.”


Motionspot’s CEO and Founder Ed Warner said: “The vision for Botanic Place presents an exciting opportunity for Motionspot to identify barriers and opportunities for improvement and help ensure that the development suits the widest range of diverse user needs. Our aim is to promote inclusion and accessibility for all, create an environment that enhances worker wellbeing and productivity, while also driving social value, for example through the provision of amenities that can also be enjoyed by local residents.”

 Render of Botanic Place, Cambridge interior

About Railpen

Railpen (formerly known as RPMI and RPMI Railpen) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It acts as the investment manager of the railways pensions schemes and is responsible for the management of around £35bn. Railpen runs the railways pensions schemes on behalf of its parent, the Railways Pension Trustee Company Limited (RPTCL).


About Socius

Socius is an impactful developer with a circa £1.5bn development pipeline across major UK towns and cities including Bristol, Brighton, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, and London. Privately-owned, Socius partners with global investors to balance profit alongside purpose whilst delivering inspiring and sustainable mixed-use places.


Current projects include the mixed-use redevelopment of Devonshire Gardens, Devonshire Road, Cambridge; the mixed-use redevelopment of the former AMEX House in Brighton; the £215m regeneration of Soapworks in central Bristol, a work/live campus in Cambridge city centre and MK Gateway, a future-focused development of workspace and homes in the centre of Milton Keynes. Socius is also partnering with senior living operator Amicala to bring forward an integrated extra care community in Bristol.


About Botanic Place

Botanic Place, which is adjacent to Cambridge Botanic Gardens, comprises an existing office building, Botanic House, the historic Flying Pig pub building, and an adjacent site with planning consent for a new £500m, 500,000 sq ft workspace scheme, designed by architects AHMM.


The vision for the office scheme is that it will become the most sustainable and intelligent workspace in Cambridge with sustainable designs that will help save up to 75% in energy compared to traditional office buildings when in operation.


The development’s minor design amendments have been recommended for approval by Council Officers and will be determined by Planning Committee Members on Wednesday 1 November 2023. The amendments to the plans will reduce construction time and disruption, lower vehicle traffic, and provide more public green spaces. The proposed changes include reducing the depth of the basement and delivering both buildings in one phase to shorten construction time by 21 months, increasing the amount of publicly accessible green space to over 2000sqm and an enhanced cyclist experience with two dedicated entrances placed in the centre of the scheme.


In line with the City Council’s Climate Change Strategy, the new plans will also significantly reduce the number of car parking spaces available and increase the number of cycle parking spaces to over 1,500, encouraging active travel modes within the city.


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