Cambridge Water PLC – Planning

Successful planning application and community relations


Cambridge Water made the decision to sell for housing development the long-occupied site of their offices and depot located on Rustat Road in a residential area close to the centre of Cambridge, and relocate to premises in their ownership on Fulbourn Road, a main artery into Cambridge. This site, a 1930’s building previously occupied by Acorn (now ARM), overlooked private houses and formed the boundary to a small science park at its rear.




Copywriting, Design and print management, Event management, Media Relations, Public affairs, Stakeholder relations


  1. To present clearly to local residents and the wider Cambridge community the departure from Rustat Road, the sale of the land and its future purpose to provide much-needed housing appropriate to the area, with the objective of containing and minimising complaint and opposition.
  2. To present clearly to the second community the arrival at Fulbourn Road, the plans for the refurbishment of the site to create a landmark building in Cambridge, again with the objective of minimising and containing complaint and opposition. In addition, Cambridge Water wished to make local residents and the wider Cambridge community aware of the striking design and sustainability of the proposed premises and for the new office building to be seen as a welcome addition architecturally to the city and the neighbourhood.

An award-winning Cambridge architectural practice had designed the restructured premises at Fulbourn Road and liaised directly with the City planners on behalf of Cambridge Water throughout.


Phillips Profile advised the client that key to achieving the objectives of the brief were:

  • the chronology of the communications programme
  • the attitude of Cambridge Water to the various stakeholders and influencers

Phillips Profile worked alongside the managing director of Cambridge Water throughout two separate consultations, Rustat Road and Fulbourn Road, over several weeks. This was followed by a further PR communications programme which commenced with the topping out ceremony through to the formal opening of the newly refurbished office building. The consultancy was involved in all aspects including organising the celebration events for VIP visitors and staff.


Significant interest from the Cambridge community, including the City Council which gave the architects, Barber Casenovas Ruffles, an award for “an outstanding contribution to the townscape of Cambridge”.

Real understanding by local residents of the reasons for the move.

The Cambridge community’s appreciation of Cambridge Water’s commitment to sustainable architecture.

Planning permission achieved – not a single complaint or objection was received.