State-of-the-art laboratories being built at Norwich Research Park will enhance the region’s growing reputation for scientific innovation in the agri-food sector.
A ‘topping out’ ceremony was held today (Thursday 27 August) to mark the progress being made on the £5m development, which is expected to unlock further investment at the Enterprise Zone site and could eventually create up to 150 jobs.
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.
South Norfolk Council has invested up to £2.75m in the 19,000 sq ft building in Zone 4 and more than £550,000 towards the road infrastructure. New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has contributed £2.5m towards the building and £1.5m to the road 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.
Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government Simon Clarke MP said: “The Government has invested £2.5 million through our Local Growth Fund in this important project which, once complete, will attract investment, unlock new jobs and further cement Norwich’s reputation for research and innovation in the agri-food sector.
“Norwich Research Park already has an international reputation as a key centre of expertise in food, health and life sciences, and so I am delighted to see this ambitious development is making good progress.”
Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said Norwich Research Park was a Priority Area and this development represented an excellent opportunity to unlock further investment there.
“If the region is to recover in the long-term from the devastating effects of Covid-19, we must continue to attract investment and build on our strengths,” he said.
“Some of the most exciting new technologies around agri-food sector are being discovered here in Norfolk and Suffolk and this development will create another centre of excellence and enhance our growing international reputation.”
John Fuller, Leader of South Norfolk Council, said: “As we support the recovery of our local economy, following our initial battle with Covid-19, this is an example of how we are supplying much-needed investment in our commercial infrastructure.
“I’m pleased that we are playing our part in ensuring our local economy does not miss a beat and the construction of this building, during these challenging times, has provided direct employment and we have used local suppliers for much of the building materials.”
Trevor Holden, Managing Director of Big Sky Living, said: “It’s really fantastic to see the new building coming out of the ground. Over the recent months our team has worked very hard to get us to this stage, ensuring that everyone has remained safe while delivering this project to our client’s requirements and deadlines.”
David Parfrey, its Executive Chair, said: “Norwich Research Park has proved itself to be a hugely valuable resource in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. And it’s highlighted the scale of global challenges that are being addressed here, whether that’s to do with the world’s future food supply, healthier ageing or dealing with climate change.
“Science has become a mainstream topic and it is now recognised as a vital cog in the country’s ability to cope with health-related issues and also its economy. Having more space for research on the Park is very welcome and very much needed. Not only does our Park host four world-leading research institutes, the UEA and the hospital, who all need more facilities, we also have a thriving business community that translates the science into real-life applications that will positively change people’s lives both in the UK and across the globe.”
Mario Rackham, Director and General Manager at construction firm RG Carter, said: “We are delighted to be working with South Norfolk Council and Norwich Research Park on another state-of-the art research facility and celebrating this exciting stage in its development. It’s great to be able to provide the wider research community with a new home for discoveries and innovation that will benefit pioneering companies for generations to come.”