£100m investment pot for new business innovation centres
PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:00 30 November 2018
Plans have been drawn up to boost business in North Essex with a host of new projects, including a business and innovation park.
Braintree District Council has exchanged contracts to buy a 65-acre site in Great Notley, for a new business and innovation park, Horizon 120.
The council’s vision for the park is to attract professional services companies, research, digital and development sectors and advanced manufacturing companies to join the new business community.
The site is likely to be of particular interest to companies working with Stansted Airport.
The project team claims to already have had several “prestigious names” enquiring about joining up and the council predicts that the site could create up to 2,000 jobs.
Cllr Tom Cunningham, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Braintree District Council, said that the level of interest in the site has “exceeded even the highest of our expectations.” “We are attracting businesses from outside the district to invest in Braintree and we have big ambitions for this site,” he added. “We want it to become the place to do business in the region. It’ll be modern and reflect the changing face of business and it’ll be future-proof, hence the name Horizon 120.
“Our vision for Horizon 120 is of a real business community where employees can have a drink, drop children off at childcare and enjoy a lunchtime run in the beautiful Great Notley Country Park. We want more jobs and opportunities for everyone who lives and works in our district. Horizon 120 will mean that residents have better access to skilled jobs in a great setting, close to home.”
One of the council’s other investments which has just been completed, for £1m, was for four ‘grow-on’ units to help up-and-coming local businesses expand.
The new units, at Braintree Enterprise Centre on Springwood Drive, will be home to Kemtron, which manufactures electromagnetic interference shielding components, Starmo Auto Electrical and Essex Towbars, a towbar fitting centre, auto electrical specialists MDG, a specialist sub-contractor in the construction industry, and Doggy Limited, a dog accessory company.
Building work on the industrial units started in January 2018 and was completed in September. A 40-space car park has also been built to provide more parking for the conference facilities at the Braintree Enterprise Centre, which can be hired by businesses across the region.
Victoria Tsoi, managing director at Kemtron, described the units as “a lifeline” to her business. “We’ve been looking to expand for quite some time but have not been able to find a suitably-sized unit locally. Our product range is developing and we need more space to allow us to continue to develop locally in Braintree. It’s important for us to stay in Braintree because we have a workforce of 44 people, most of who live close by.”
Other projects in the pipeline in the £100m investment pot include an enterprise centre in Witham, and a rural business hub in Sible Hedingham to support local businesses start-up and develop.
There are also plans for the creation of a construction research and innovation centre, I-Construct, on the Springwood Drive Industrial Estate, to showcase excellence in the construction industry. In a statement, the council said: “This exciting hub will serve the entire South East and it will become the place to celebrate new and innovative construction ideas, techniques and technologies.”