London Road North provides a significant development opportunity – 14 hectares of greenfield land with planning consent to create a new Science Park. In March 2016, Harlow Council appointed Vinci UK Developments as its preferred development partner to take this forward. Our focus is on the creation of a Science Park, working with Anglia Ruskin University to create a Med Tech Campus, bringing together research, innovation and manufacturing. Vinci Developments, one of the UK’s largest construction companies, will be working in partnership with Discovery Park Ltd, the owners and developers of the former Pfizer site in Sandwich, Kent where a thriving Science Park has been created with more than 120 businesses now located there.
Harlow Council acquired 10 hectares of the London Road North site in 2015 and will now proceed to bring forward a development on this land with our selected development partner, Vinci. Public funding has been secured to put in place the necessary site infrastructure to make it ‘development ready’ – new roads, power and water supplies, as well as communications technology. This will be delivered from the spring of 2016 to provide a fully serviced site by summer 2017. It is expected that this will enable Vinci to commence the first buildings on the site in the first half of 2017.
We are seeking the development of a high quality science park, capitalising upon the already extensive life science and medical technology cluster in the London Stansted Cambridge Corridor. The site will be developed to a campus style, in an attractive setting, providing space for large companies as well as smaller incubation and ‘move on’ units. There will also be a requirement for some secondary retail and restaurant/café provision.
It is expected that much of the development will be of a ‘design and build’ nature, given the very precise requirements of much of the target sectors. However, consideration will also be given to proposals for the speculative building of incubation units. We are in discussions with Anglia Ruskin University about their proposal to establish Med Tech Innovation Centre on the site, which will provide the potential for the commercialisation of spin off projects from research programmes into new small businesses.
The development will capitalise on the growing Med Tech economy in this region, providing affordable space for start up businesses, access to R & D facilities and resources, access to ARU’s extensive clinical trials programme, market intelligence and access to a wide industry network. Further information about the Med Tech Campus can be found here.
Harlow Council has already put in place the planning framework for London Road North through the production and adoption of the Local Development Order (LDO). This framework essentially means that permitted development rights are granted within the Enterprise Zone. Providing that proposed developments are within the target industrial sectors, and comply with the broad requirements of the LDO, planning consent is deemed to have been provided and there is no requirement to submit a planning application. This will have significant cost and time savings for developers and occupiers, reducing risk and creating greater certainty.