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11 May, 2017 - 12:57 By Kate Sweeney

Agri-Tech site near Cambridge gathers momentum

AgriTech SmithsonHill

SmithsonHill is inviting interested parties to a public exhibition in May to share proposals for a site for AgriTech on land to the South-East of Cambridge.

The exhibition follows ongoing engagement with the local community and key stakeholders including meetings with parish councils, county infrastructure workshops and a public exhibition in June last year. The emerging proposals feature the land, east of the A1301 and south of the A505 – between the main villages of Hinxton and Whittlesford. 

An update on details of the recent investigations into the environment on and surrounding the site including transport, local infrastructure, ecology and cultural heritage, will be provided in addition to further details regarding the overall proposal.

Green infrastructure and the provision of publicly accessible open spaces are key prioritises for the development, in-keeping with the existing surrounding landscape.

The development looks to build on the crop and technology trials currently taking place on the site, meeting a specific need for a dedicated space for AgriTech establishments to develop innovative agriculture solutions, furthering the extensive research undertaken in the region.  Located beyond the green belt, the site is ideally situated to facilitate the growth of the AgriTech sector by providing a dedicated site to host companies in the industry, with direct links to the proven research base within Cambridge.

Cambridge is located at the heart of the most productive agricultural region in the UK. A number of world-class food science establishments are based here including Cambridge University’s Global Food Security Group, AstraZeneca, National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB). 

As a new and emerging sector, a number of industries (including non-agricultural) are lending their expertise to develop much needed new technologies to assist crop production and yields, minimise input and costs (both to the consumer and farmer) and reduce global food waste.

The AgriTech sector lies between agriculture and the food chain, tackling global challenges including demand and productivity. Global projections suggest we need to grow up to 100 per cent more food per annum, before 2050 to meet increasing populations, wealth and healthier appetites.

As a result AgriTech is seen by the Government as being central to the UK’s future knowledge led growth.

“The only way to deliver the food needed without harming the planet is through more efficient food production and improvements to food supply chains,” says Emma Fletcher, SmithsonHill managing director. The view is shared by many others including wider interest groups such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

SmithsonHill is promoting a site for AgriTech with an intention to continue the UK’s reputation as a world leader in agricultural technologies, innovation and sustainability.

Emma Fletcher, explains: “We have had dialogue with a number of potential occupiers and interested parties who focus on developing new technologies to improve efficiency in agriculture and the food chain. These technologies include precision agriculture, data analysis, sensor technologies and more.”

SmithsonHill is a joint venture between Russell Smith Farms – a local large-scale food producer and member of Agri-tech East that understands the important synergy of farming, science and technology, and Hill Commercial Investments Ltd, a proven successful team offering essential expertise in development.

“Our hope is that our project contributes to the ongoing economic growth of Cambridge and its surrounding areas; including through key relationships and contributions to infrastructure and connectivity schemes across the county,” says Emma.

“For example a transport interchange beside the A505/A1301 ‘McDonalds’ roundabout is included as part of the proposals to help counter local transport issues and contribute to public transport improvements and connectivity in the area.”

Public Exhibition Details
Hinxton Village Hall, 
51 High Street, Hinxton, CB10 1QY
Tuesday 16th May 2017 11:30am – 9pm
Wednesday 17th May 2017 7:30am – 12:30pm 
2pm – 8pm.

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