Huawei's £1bn research centre near Cambridge approved

image copyrightReuters
image captionHuawei plan to build a research and development centre near Cambridge

Chinese firm Huawei's plans for a £1bn research centre in the UK have been approved.

The tech giant, which is under a security review that could lead the UK government to ban use of its 5G network kit, has received backing for the site.

As "wider comments" could not be considered, the local council planning department gave the centre in Sawston, Cambridge, the go ahead.

Huawei said council officers were "content with the plans".

The firm has been criticised by the US government for alleged links to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Keith Krach, US under-secretary of state for economic growth, has been against the plans for the research centre, labelling it the "expansion of the surveillance state".

The US Defense Department has determined that 20 top Chinese firms, including Huawei, are either owned by or backed by the Chinese military.

The Trump administration brought fresh sanctions against the Chinese company, citing security fears, last month.

Huawei has contested US claims against it as "unsubstantiated allegations"

image copyrightHuawei Technologies UK
image captionThe plans include a new pavements and cycle paths and improvements to the junction leading to the site

South Cambridgeshire District Council said its decision was based on "material planning considerations".

Councillor Dr Tumi Hawkins said there had been "a lot of wider comment" on the proposal for the site, but that could not be taken into account.

The councillor, responsible for planning at the authority, said: "To the planning system, it does not matter who the applicant is."

The 50,000 sq m (538195 sq ft) site will create 400 jobs according to the company and will have a buffer around a nearby Iron Age hillfort known as Borough Hill.

Henk Koopmans, chief executive officer of Huawei Technologies Research and Development UK, said the firm had invested and operated in the UK for more than 20 years and already employed 1,600 people across 20 UK offices.

"Our application has been carefully considered for transport, ecology, heritage, visual impact, noise and air quality issues," he said.

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