Enterprise Zone funding boost paves way for construction

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A £5m funding package, which paves the way for the start of construction work on a world-class, state-of-the-art data centre campus and business park in Harlow Enterprise Zone, has been agreed as part of a public-private sector partnership.

The announcement was made on Wednesday 2 July 2014 by Local Growth Minister, Kris Hopkins MP as part of a number of developments signaling progress is being made at Harlow Enterprise Zone. The minister, who is responsible for Enterprise Zones, was in Harlow to find out more about the project and met with members of the Harlow Enterprise Zone Board.

The £5m funding will be used to help transform the former Nortel head offices on the London Road South site. The development will be led by Goldacre Ventures, the advisory firm developing and managing the site.

The financial package is made up of a £2.5m loan from Homes & Communities Agency’s Local Infrastructure Fund matched by a loan from Harlow Council. The money enables the implementation of infrastructure works on the 20-acre site and will be backed up by major investment from the private sector to be announced later this year.

This funding combined with an injection of private finance will see the demolition of some unusable buildings, the refurbishment of others and bring in new power and telecommunications supplies. The funding will then clear the way for the large-scale investment of private money to see the creation of a new data centre campus and business park.

Construction work will start in the fourth quarter of this year, heralding the renewal of an important site in the town that will create new jobs and restore its former glory by creating a world class twenty-first century data centre campus and business park.

Press conference 1Local Growth Minister Kris Hopkins said:

“This country is internationally renowned for its expertise in life sciences and biotechnology and the Government is determined to support these important sectors everywhere possible.

“Enterprise Zones are proving to be great news for these sectors by bringing complementary companies together in an environment where they can work closely with each other and thrive.

“This investment in Harlow is showing that our long term economic plan to secure a better future by spreading businesses, jobs and skills across the country is working.”

Kevin, Kris, David with modelDavid Bloom, Chief Executive of Goldacre Ventures, said:

“We are delighted to have agreed this finance package after working closely with the HCA and Harlow Council to support a project that is so important to the long term economic growth of Harlow.

“This land has been largely unoccupied for a long time so it’s great news that a successful public-private sector partnership has unlocked investment to help drive economic growth and create jobs for local people. Our plans to create a business park and data centre campus will ensure the preservation of the site’s rich telecommunications, media and technology heritage.”

John Keddie, Vice-Chairman of the Harlow Enterprise Zone Board, said :

“The Enterprise Zone is now making great progress and we will see significant activity on the site over the next year, with a new road connection starting in November. This new announcement today of infrastructure funding will start the transformation of the Nortel site, once at the vanguard of innovation with the invention of fibre optic cable. We also look forward to welcoming Anglia Ruskin University’s Med Tech Campus to the Enterprise Zone since this will provide a strong interface between business innovation and academic expertise.”

Councillor Tony Durcan, Harlow Council’s Portfolio Holder for Resources & Enterprise, said:

“HCA’s money matched by a loan from Harlow Council gives the private sector confidence in the future of the Enterprise Zone. Not only does it pave the way for the start of construction work on the site it also clears the way for major investment from the private sector which will help create new jobs and new opportunities for local people.”

Essex County Council and Anglia Ruskin University are finalising details of a funding package to enable the development of a new Medical Technology Innovation Centre at the Harlow Enterprise Zone London Road site. The innovation centre would be the location for start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs as well as international companies in the initial stages of locating to the MedTech Campus.

Councillor  Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Infrastructure said:

“Essex County Council has pumped £6 million into supporting the Enterprise Zone in infrastructure investment, including major road improvements in Harlow. Our specialist highways and Invest Essex teams have given support to unlock other financial bids that have secured in the region of £13 million. We are continuing to work with businesses and education providers in Harlow to make sure the local population has the skills needed by the businesses we are hoping to attract. We are also taking a strategic look at housing in the region to make sure we have everything in place to attract companies that will bring high quality and sustainable jobs to Harlow.”

“We are in final discussions with Anglia Ruskin University on the funding package that will support the delivery of the MedTech innovation centre. The opening of the innovation centre would be the first presence on the Enterprise Zone of the MedTech Campus which will deliver high-skilled jobs in Harlow and make a significant contribution to the economy of Essex. ”

 

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