Work is ready to start on transforming the former Nortel Telecommunications site on the Harlow Enterprise Zone into a 21st century Business Park and Data Centre campus to be known as Kao Park.
The 35 acre site is to be developed by new owners who have appointed Goldacre Ventures to build upon the site’s heritage as the birthplace of fibre optic technology. It was on the site in 1966 that Sir Charles Kao first transmitted light over long distances via optical glass fibres making modern fibre optic communications possible.
The development moved forward this week with the appointment of Pryor, a Harlow-based civil engineering company employing more than 50 local people, as the main contractor. Pryor have already started on site to prepare for major enabling works to begin early in the New Year. The works will include the demolition of redundant buildings, new utilities supplies and new road access.
This is the first phase in a programme to create a premium data centre campus as well as 200,000 square feet of grade A office space set in a newly landscaped business park.
The Kao Park development will occupy the southern sector of the London Road Enterprise Zone with a further 35 acre northern sector being developed by Harlow Council for Med Tech, Life Science and ICT design and build opportunities.
The development is financed by the private sector alongside public sector loan funding of £2.5m from each of Harlow Council and the Homes and Communities Agency.
David Bloom of Goldacre Ventures said “Kao Park is a unique opportunity to leverage a legacy of cutting edge technology to develop a highly connected and secure, state of the art data centre campus that will attract and service a broad range of tenants for the Enterprise Zone.”
Graeme Howard, Managing Director of Pryor said “The Pryor Group are very pleased to have secured this prestigious contract in our home town, where we have been trading since 1947. We have been working closely with our supply chain, the majority of which is from Harlow and the surrounding area, to ensure the project will be run safely, to time and budget. We look forward to working with HPL to develop the site next year.
Councillor Jon Clempner, Leader of Harlow Council said “This year has seen a real acceleration in progress to start bringing the Enterprise Zone to life so I am delighted that work is ready to begin to transform this iconic site. The fact that HPL have appointed a local firm as the main contractor is also tremendous for the Harlow economy and is a key part of ensuring the Enterprise Zone provides opportunities for local people and local businesses. Harlow Council is very pleased to have played a significant role in helping to bring this development forward and we look forward to continuing to work with HPL in the coming years to ensure its success.”
John Keddie, Chairman of the Harlow Enterprise Zone Board said “This announcement heralds the first major development on the Harlow Enterprise Zone and two years of extensive background work have now borne fruit. This will pave the way for the creation of hundreds of new jobs on this site alone and provide the impetus for the development of the remainder of the Enterprise Zone at London Road. We expect very shortly to be able to announce further investment by companies bringing their business to Harlow and 2015 will be an exciting year for the Enterprise Zone.”