Council agrees investment to develop £1.1m innovation building at Exeter Science Park

Preliminary artist impression of the Open Innovation Building. Picture: LHC Design.

Preliminary artist impression of the Open Innovation Building. Picture: LHC Design. - Credit: Archant

More than £1million worth of investment will be ploughed into Exeter Science Park, near Cranbrook, in the shape of a new Open Innovation Building.

East Devon District Council’s Cabinet agreed to invest £1.1m in the development of a new Open Innovation Building at Exeter Science Park, in the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone.

The investment, agreed last week, will bring forward 20,000 square feet of space under one roof for growing small and medium sized enterprises in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) sectors. Funding has been raised against future business rates income from the growing list of businesses seeking to establish offices and laboratories alongside leading regional science and tech companies already based at Exeter Science Park.

Councillor Ian Thomas, district council leader, said: “The Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone is a significant and strategically important development site for the area, with the potential to create over 10,000 jobs.

“This investment will bring forward the opportunity for up to 158 high value jobs in the Open Innovation Building for local people as well as boosting the local economy.

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“The £1.1m grant is 15 per cent of the total cost of the building, providing an additional 20,000 square feet of employment space at the Science Park. It means the Open Innovation Building can be ready for occupation in the second half of 2020.”

The Enterprise Zone comprises Skypark, Exeter Science Park, Cranbrook Town Centre and Exeter Airport Business Park Expansion. Its investment will help fund the building, including the fitting-out.

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Dr Sally Basker, chief Executive of Exeter Science Park Ltd, said: “[The] Park is growing rapidly and is on-track to become a community of around 700 people by 2021. It helps innovative STEMM companies to deliver extraordinary growth and this Enterprise Zone grant will help us meet accommodation needs of STEMM businesses.”

In April 2018 EDDC agreed in principle to borrow up to £8m, with detailed approval for £3.4m of expenditure.

Projects include last year’s launch of an enhanced ConnEXions bus service, a park and change site near Exeter Science Park which will be delivered this year, and design work for an upgrade to Long Lane, adjacent to Exeter Airport.

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