State-of-the-art laboratories and office spaces are being built at Norwich Research Park in a scheme that could deliver up to 150 jobs and generate more development.
Despite the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, Walker Construction has continued to operate within Government guidelines and started work on the first phase of the infrastructure scheme.
This work will see the completion of the James Watson Road, up to Hethersett Lane and this will be followed by a new roundabout at Hethersett Lane to provide access to Quadram Institute and new developments on the Enterprise Zone site.
South Norfolk Council has invested up to £2.75m in the 19,000 sq ft building scheme and more than £550,000 towards the infrastructure. New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has contributed £2.5m towards the building and £1.5m to the infrastructure work.
Some of the LEP’s investment has been drawn from its Enterprise Zone Accelerator Fund, which in turn is funded through its £290m Growth Deal from Government.
The Space to Innovate Enterprise Zone comprises 10 key sites across Norfolk and Suffolk, including part of Norwich Research Park. This multi-site zone will help to create 18,500 jobs over the next 25 years.
Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of the LEP, said: “This is an important opportunity to unlock further sites for development and it will be another flagship scheme for Norwich Research Park.
“It is in one of our Priority Places and Enterprise Zones and directly supports our economic strategy theme of driving business growth and productivity. This is an excellent opportunity to unlock the development of the site.”
John Fuller, Leader of South Norfolk Council, said: “As we start thinking about the recovery phase that will follow our battle with COVID-19, there has never been a greater need to invest in our commercial infrastructure like offices and laboratories to drive the economy forward.
“I’m pleased that we are playing our part in ensuring our local economy does not miss a beat and making a start on a new phase of Norwich Research Park to make it easier for others to follow behind.”
Norwich Research Park has one of the largest single-site concentrations of research in food, health and life sciences in Europe and is internationally renowned.
David Parfrey, executive chair of Anglia Innovation Partnership (the body that runs Norwich Research Park), said: “A core part of the Norwich Research Park Vision is to deliver regional growth. That means attracting inward investment, building career and employment prospects, and creating an environment for spin-out and supply-chain companies to flourish.
“This new development and supporting infrastructure are great opportunities that complement our Vision and will contribute to the success of the Park.”