Cambridge’s Grafton Shopping Centre is to be redeveloped for laboratory and office space after the city council approved plans by Pioneer Group.

Almost 510,000 sq ft of life sciences space will occupy the central and eastern area of the existing centre across five floors while the western end of the shopping centre will be retained and refurbished.

A new hotel and leisure centre will also be created in the mixed-use scheme.

The development is expected to create around 2,000 jobs.

Richard O’Boyle, chief executive of Pioneer Group, said: “Cambridge is at the heart of the UK’s research industry, but new lab space is in short supply and desperately needed.

“By providing spaces suitable for international companies, small start-ups, and scale-ups in one building in the city centre, scientists here will be able to work together, as well as collaborate with mentors from Pioneer, researchers in the city’s amazing universities, and investors, to help them develop lifesaving new technologies.

“The scheme will also deliver new jobs near to where people live, encouraging more sustainable travel as well as helping local shops, cafes, and restaurants to thrive. We would like to thank all the neighbours, businesses, and local stakeholders who helped us refine and improve the designs to create an even better scheme.”​

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