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Green Light for Exeter Science Park’s First Buildings

Two major planning applications for Exeter’s Science Park given the green light

Devon County Council’s planning application for the flagship building at Exeter Science Park has been approved by East Devon District Council.

The £7 million Science Park Centre will enable growing businesses to flourish, offering a unique collaborative environment for innovation and business support. It will provide a range of highly flexible accommodation for high growth, science-based organisations including managed desk space, offices, workshops and laboratories as well as other facilities such as seminar rooms and a cafe.

A further planning application submitted by  Eagle One, the developer for Phase One of the Science Park, has also been approved. The building will provide for 10,000 sq ft of net useable space arranged over two floors and where Eagle One will occupy one floor for its own office space. The remaining floor of 5,000sq ft, which can accommodate ‘science and knowledge’ based uses, will be available on occupational lease terms.’

Councillor Will Mumford, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy, Enterprise and Employment, said: “I am pleased to see these plans approved. The first buildings on the Science Park will act as a catalyst for progression despite the challenging economic conditions. The creation of this home for high tech, knowledge intensive jobs builds on our strategy for future economic growth, the objectives of the Local Enterprise Partnership and the shared vision of the East of Exeter Growth Point. This is a vital step in the delivery of this vision and a welcome endorsement of the partnership approach we are proud to be part of.”

Eagle One’s managing director, Paul Goodes added  “Naturally, we are delighted that these applications have been approved and where this gives a clear commitment to this vitally important first phase of development. We intend to fast-track construction of our own building to ensure early occupation which is not only crucial to the continued growth of Eagle One but also to provide space for other users requiring early occupation in this key location.”

The first phase also includes plans for a 150 bed business hotel and conference centre. In addition the first phase will have around 40,000 sq ft of other space for science-based organisations on the site.

The Science Park will play a key role in helping the economy of the Exeter and the wider area to grow and diversify through the development of knowledge-based businesses, capitalising on links with the University of Exeter, the University of Exeter Medical School, the Met Office and Rothamsted Research, North Wyke.

Councillor Graham Godbeer, Economy Portfolio Holder at East Devon District Council, said: “Exeter Science Park is one of the key schemes in the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point. Planning permission approval for the first two buildings marks the next stage in seeing these developments come to life. The Science Park will play a pivotal role in helping to diversify and reinforce the economy of Exeter and East Devon through the development of knowledge-based businesses and capitalising on links with the excellent technology base we already have in place.”

Organisations from any industrial sector can be located on the Science Park providing they meet the “Gateway Policy” which ensures that businesses are developing science and technology. Science parks usually help guide the growth of such companies through relationships with the local knowledge base and in Exeter there are considerable strengths in scientific research into climate change and sustainable futures, medicine and healthcare, biosciences, advanced materials and manufacturing, and food security.

Exeter Science Park has the potential to create up to 3,000 jobs and attract up to £200 million of private sector investment in its first 20 years. It is a partnership between Devon County Council, East Devon District Council, Exeter City Council, the Met Office, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and the University of Exeter.

Chairman of Exeter Science Park Limited, Sir William Wakeham said; “This takes us one more step closer to realising the full potential of the Exeter region has a hub for the growth of knowledge –based businesses feeding from and into the local and global knowledge base. In particular the Science Park Centre Building is to be the hub of incubation and growth for new knowledge-based businesses with a research-link with the University and the MET Office. The design of the building ensures we shall have the flexibility and facilities to attract science based businesses from nearby and far afield.”

Work is currently on-going to upgrade Junction 29 of the M5 in order to accommodate the additional traffic expected to be generated by the Science Park and the other developments proposed for the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point which include Cranbrook, Sky Park and expansion of the airport. The infrastructure works at Junction 29 are expected to be completed by the end of next month.

Posted by Devon News Centre on 18 September 2012