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Fowlmere Business to Expand!

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A “wildlife haven” could be under threat if plans to expand an international manufacturing firm get the go ahead in a South Cambridgeshire village.

Ion Science in Fowlmere are proposing to submit a planning application for a new 1,500 square metre building on land off Butts Lane, as their current site is “bursting at the seams”.

But district councillor Deborah Roberts says she is concerned about the affect the development, on land adjacent to Butts Farm Business Centre, would have on the village.

She said: “The site is a wildlife haven and a lot of local homes would be affected.

“Ion Science has been supported by parish councillors since it started in a small bungalow years ago but the proposed land is in conflict with South Cambridgeshire District Council’s development plan for the area.

“The land lies outside the village envelope on land classified as Important Countryside Frontage and was not identified as suitable in the very recent major local consultation process.”

The firm, which manufactures gas detectors, will hold a public meeting at their current premises in The Way, Fowlmere, from 5-7pm on Tuesday (26) to take comments from villagers.

Gary Johns, Ion Science’s architect who has designed the building, said: “We want to invite people to come along and see what we hope to do.

“At the moment the firm is bursting at the seams and over time Ion Science hope to double in size so it is quite an urgent problem.

“We have produced a very sensitive design, the building would be sustainable and would use solar panels.”

Mr Johns said the 1.7 acre site would include office accommodation, an area to research and develop future products and a car park.

He added: “We would encourage more wildlife as part of the scheme and would keep the trees.”

South Cambs confirmed a planning application has not yet been submitted.

Cllr Nick Wright, cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development, said: “Ion Science is a real success story and it is great to see the firm thriving as it is good for local employment and our economy.

“We can confirm we have not received a formal planning application from the company but welcome the fact they have decided to talk to local people to gather their views before making a submission.”

Cllr Roberts said she believes a proper public meeting should be called which is at a more convenient time and at an independent place.

She said: “All aspects of the development must be transparent and should be put forward at the meeting.

“Families are on their way home at 5pm so a later time would be more appropriate.”

Full Story HERE

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