Plans in for a world leading agri-tech research and innovation hub

July 14, 2018
Plans in for Ni-Park, a world leading agri-tech research and innovation hub

Plans have now been submitted for a new business innovation park in Newport which is set to be the international centre for the innovation of advanced agri-technologies.
The park will aim to attract companies at the cutting edge of developing ways to improve food production and help manage the environmental impact of farming. The initiative is part of a public-private partnership led by Telford & Wrekin Council and supported by Harper Adams University.
The application follows on from the Government’s Department of International Trade hailing Telford and Wrekin as an international focus for new foreign inward investment in this emerging sector. The proposed development will be known as Ni-Park if the application is successful.
It is seen as a key element of the Newport Innovation and Enterprise Package (NIE’) which recently secured £6.36m funding from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership under the Local Growth Fund. The delivery of Ni-Park aims to provide a significant economic boost to Newport and the local area.
The proposals for Ni-Park reflect Telford & Wrekin Council’s strategy for economic development, which is committed to supporting enterprise and growth across the whole Borough. The proximity of Ni-Park to Harper Adams, the UK’s leading University specialising in agri-food and land based technology, will give businesses locating on the park access to world leading research and development, a highly skilled workforce drawn from across the Borough and a launch location to access European and global markets.
The investment supports the Borough’s existing strengths in automotive and advanced manufacturing and food processing. The application proposes the development of up to 38,720 sq.m of floor space together with an internal road layout, the creation of two entrances on the south side of the A518, which will be upgraded, as well as parking spaces and landscaping works. Subject to planning, the site will be split into three phases with full planning permission sought for Phase One which will accommodate 24 units for established small businesses seeking to expand. Outline consent is sought for the rest of the site which will be released in response to occupier demand.
Pre-application public consultation on draft proposals late last year indicated support for the development from a majority of respondents, who welcomed the investment and new job generation.
Councillor Lee Carter, Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet member for Economic Development, said “There is pent up demand for business space in Newport and a significant lack of supply.  If approved, Ni-Park will deliver new high quality space at a scale to meet the needs of businesses looking to base their operations in the region.”
“Working in association with Harper Adams University, the park will be a world-leading agri-tech research and innovation hub, putting the UK at the forefront of high efficiency agriculture.”
“Interest has already been strong with enquiries coming from overseas companies wishing to be part of an industrial movement that will help put the UK at the forefront of the global move to high-efficiency agriculture.”
“Enabling employment land to be released will in turn unlock additional economic growth with the construction phase of the development estimated to deliver over 150 jobs alone.”
Telford & Wrekin Council has already enjoyed huge success in attracting some of the largest foreign direct investments that the UK has seen in 10 years, most notably with Magna Cosma and Polytec taking residence in the flagship T54 business park.

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

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