Property consultant appointed to assist Berkshire herbarium building project

Carter Jonas has been selected to act as planning consultants in the preparation of a planning application for a new herbarium building at the Thames Valley Science Park (TVSP).

Estimated to cost around £100m, the new facility will maintain Kew’s preserved plant collection of over 7m dried plant specimens for future generations.

white lily with lotus pads

In addition, the development, of which the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew selected Carter Jonas to lead, will provide extra space for new plants to grow.

As a world-class herbarium, the building will ensure the usability of the collections for biodiversity research and provide the flexibility to respond to future needs. The move to the TVSP site will additionally enable the redevelopment of the Kew Gardens site for improved and expanded research, education, and public engagement facilities, enhancing the global impact of RBG Kew’s work.

Likewise, the project will also keep in line with green targets. Kew have recently established a sustainability strategy, otherwise known as ‘Positive by 2030: urgently tackling the climate and biodiversity crisis’, which is based on a commitment to achieve or better the Royal Institute of British Architects 2030 challenge – a project created to help architects design more climate-friendly buildings to help reach net zero.

Commenting on the news, Nicky Brock, Partner, Planning and Development, Carter Jonas Oxford, said: ‘We are extremely pleased to have been appointed by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to prepare this planning application. The new herbarium project will enable RBG Kew to continue its unparalleled work in botanical research and, importantly, increase accessibility to this wealth of knowledge. With the benefit of a comprehensive sustainability strategy, the new facility addresses significant global issues and we look forward to a positive resolution.’

Mark Rushworth, Project Director at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has also expressed his enthusiasm to begin working with Carter Jonas.

 ‘We are delighted to appoint Carter Jonas to join our project team to deliver our new Herbarium at Thames Valley Science Park in Reading, which is promoted by the University of Reading,’ Mark said. ‘The project is critical to support our mission to understand and protect plants and fungi for the well-being of people and the future of all life on earth.  We are very much looking forward to joining the British Museum and the National History Museum who are also located at the site.’

It is anticipated that the planning application will be submitted in December 2024. In the meantime, Carter Jonas is working with the project team in the preparation of the application, liaising with the council officers and local stakeholders, and public and stakeholder consultation later in the year. It is hoped that planning consent will be granted in May 2025.

Image: Jaleel Akbash

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