Alconbury Enterprise Campus in Cambridgeshire is amongst twelve Enterprise Zone bids shortlisted to receive funding to deliver ‘nuts and bolts’ infrastructure that will attract new businesses and jobs.
The £5 million cash injection for the 150 hectare business Campus is part of a £400m package to back business, boost high streets, create jobs and help local economies thrive announced by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles today, as part of the Government’s long term economic plan.
The announcement comprises:
• £300 million to give 300,000 small retail firms £1000 off their next tax bill;
• £100 million to support critical business infrastructure in Enterprise Zones;
• £15 million to establish new University Enterprise Zones in the eight main UK cities.
Alconbury Enterprise Campus is supported by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership, Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council. It focusses on advanced manufacturing and engineering, low carbon industry, and ICT, as well as supporting the commercialisation of Research & Development. Since the Zone was established, five companies have moved on site including University of Cambridge spin-out Enval, Development company Mole Solutions, and Aquavent UK.
Grahame Nix, Chief Executive of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership, said: “Alconbury Enterprise Campus is one of the LEP’s top priorities, therefore further investment is welcome news. By investing in Alconbury the Government is accelerating delivery onsite, helping to bring forward building works and ultimately the creation of new jobs.”
The funding will be used for landscaping, demolition, infrastructure, and utility works. These vital improvements will lay the groundwork for high-quality office developments, expected to employ up to 600 people by 2016.
Nigel Hugill, Executive Chair of the site owners and developers, Urban&Civic, said:
“The intention is to invest monies immediately. The funding is further welcome demonstration of the commitment to Alconbury Weald shown at national, county and local level. All investment will be matched by Urban&Civic to secure the foundations for further growth by accelerating preparation of over 40 acres on the Enterprise campus, bringing forward the planning delivery by about three years.”
Jason Ablewhite, Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, who will oversee delivery of the funding, added:
“Today’s announcement by DCLG of the awarding of a £5 million grant for the Alconbury Enterprise Campus following a competitive bidding process is fantastic news, and will greatly enhance the significant strides the site has already undertaken in recent months.
On the back of the recent progress towards granting of outline application for the overall Alconbury Weald site and the imminent opening of the flagship Incubator Centre, this funding is an endorsement from Government and will further accelerate the development of this transformational site for the benefit of the whole region”
The Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, Councillor Martin Curtis, said: "I very much welcome this announcement which will be a boost for the work and progress that has already been made to develop the Alconbury site which will do much to boost jobs and prosperity in the area."
100 million funding to infrastructure 12 Enterprise Zones will create up to 3000 jobs for key industries by 2015. The funding for road building, refurbishment, utility supply and land clearance will mean that 3.5 million square metres of land is brought back into use and 124,000 square metres of new commercial floorspace will be created by 2015. In addition 10km of new road and two new bridges will be constructed, reducing congestion for residents and increasing the access to new Enterprise Zone sites for business. 1.1 billion of private sector investment and created over 7000 local jobs.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:
“As part of our long term economic plan, we are backing business and enterprise right across the country, helping town centres and local industries to prosper, and building a stronger economy.
"This money for infrastructure will transform acres of Enterprise Zone land and build a stronger, more competitive business environment that will create up to 3000 jobs for hardworking people across the country.
“While our fully funded £1000 retail discount will make a huge difference to 300,000 of the essential small shops and local traders we find in our town centres across the country.”