Carisbrooke Investments has agreed in principle to form a charitable trust with St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Haverhill Town Council and other public sector stakeholders as the vehicle to develop an innovation centre on the emerging £100m Haverhill Research Park located on the Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Essex Borders.
This vehicle has applied for a Regional Growth Fund Grant of £2.5m to help finance the proposed innovation centre.
The grant would finance part of the projected £5.9m cost of the 30,000 sq ft Haverhill Innovation Centre that aims to form and strengthen links between academia and business by creating a community for innovation in Haverhill.
University Campus Suffolk (UCS) has confirmed in a letter of support that it wishes to take space in the building. Professor Brendon Noble, said: “UCS requires vehicles for research outputs. The proposed development would represent one of those vehicles and UCS is in discussion regarding the possibility of developing a footprint on the proposed innovation centre,” he added.
This public/private partnership proposal, which would add 300 jobs to the envisaged 1,600 on the research park, has come about following discussions between Carisbrooke, St Edmundsbury Council, Suffolk County Council, UCS and West Suffolk College.
The centre will be operated on a not-for- profit basis with any surplus reinvested in the centre’s facilities.
And the innovation centre has received support from key figures in East Anglia. Matthew Hancock MP for West Suffolk said: “The centre will be a unique asset for the region and the UK more widely and will maximise the economic impact of the enormous scientific expertise in the surrounding area. “East Anglia has already produced many thriving, innovative start-up businesses. The proposed innovation centre will form the heart of the research park and will offer office space for a range of technology companies, from entrepreneurs and start-ups to larger companies looking to locate satellite offices in the area. This will be hugely valuable in ensuring high-tech growth in the area continues,” he added.
Ian Gallin, Chief Executive of the St Edmundsbury Borough Council, commented: “St Edmundsbury has suffered from a shortage of incubation space and the provision of such a centre at the Haverhill Research Park will provide the ideal infrastructure for forging links between academia and private enterprises.”
Infra-structure work is due to be completed this summer and if the grant is successful the innovation centre could be operational in 2015.
It is well placed to take advantage of other centres of excellence in the region. The site is less than 10 miles from the A11 cluster which incorporates Addenbrookes, Brabraham Research Campus, Granta Park, Chesterford Research Park and the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus.
Nic Rumsey, the director of Carisbrooke says: “The innovation centre will build on the successful model established by other Cambridge developments notably the St Johns Innovation Centre adjacent to the Cambridge Science Park. The grant will be of vital importance in helping to pump-prime the innovation centre which wouldn’t initially be viable otherwise."
The 450,000 sq ft Haverhill Research Park is Carisbrooke’s latest venture which has a strong business and research park track-record in East Anglia. Recent developments include Haverhill Business Park, the University of Essex Knowledge Gateway, Cambridge Research Park and Buckingway Business Park.
Visit www.haverhillresearchpark.com to see weekly vidoe updates of the progress being made with the Haverhill Research Park.
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