Work has begun on site to transform Hereford’s Shell Store into a flagship business incubation and innovation centre.

The £7.3m redevelopment of the derelict building on Skylon Park, Rotherwas, will deliver more than 2,000 sq metres of employment space, with room for new and growing businesses to set up and expand alongside facilities for development and innovation.

It will also create the opportunity for NMiTE to interact with businesses and space for students to develop their practical projects.

The Shell Store will provide employment space for up to 25 dynamic and innovative businesses, driving economic growth through the generation of around 128 new jobs by 2023 – rising to more than 450 by 2031.

Chairman of the Hereford Enterprise Zone, Andrew Manning Cox, said: “The transformation of the Shell Store will create exactly the sort of high-quality start-up and grow-on space which Hereford so urgently needs and for which there is a proven demand. New, innovative and growing enterprises will benefit from being part of Skylon Park’s thriving business community and its national reputation for excellence in cyber and defence technologies.”

The project is being funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Herefordshire Council and a loan from the Marches LEP’s Marches Investment Fund.

Graham Wynn, chairman of the Marches LEP, said: “The Marches Investment Fund is specifically designed to inject funding into schemes which can help bring economic growth and prosperity to the region, and the Shell Store project will do just that. If we are to maintain our proven track record of growth it is vital we encourage and nurture enterprising young businesses.”

Councillor Harry Bramer, Herefordshire Council Cabinet member for contracts and assets, welcomed the beginning of works. “I am delighted to see work begin on site at the Shell Store, which I am confident will add great value not only to our regional economy but also to the flourishing Hereford Enterprise Zone. The scheme will create a bustling hub of ideas and innovation, home to new and growing businesses, and help to develop sector-leading skills and expertise in the students of the new NMiTE, who will be the business, engineering and technological leaders of the future.

“It will be fantastic to see new life breathed back into the Shell Store, which has played such a significant role in the history of Hereford, and I look forward to seeing works progress over the coming months.”

Councillor David Harlow, Cabinet member for economy and communications, spoke of the boost to the local economy that will be generated by the Shell Store project: “Herefordshire is a vibrant and dynamic county, and our priority is to ensure our local economy continues to thrive and make sure our local communities remain great places to live, work and study. The exciting transformation of the Shell Store will provide a home for innovative new and young enterprises, creating high value jobs, helping to build local skills and expertise, and driving economic growth across the county.”

The Shell Store, which is not a listed building, was built in the First World War and used as an ordnance site during the Second World War. The project will see commercial space created within the existing building footprint, retaining much of the original factory including its steel roof structure.

Simon Carey, Managing Director of Barnwood Construction, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this prestigious project and to be constructing this important part of the Hereford Enterprise Zone. This innovative design and retention of the historic building frame sets this apart from other construction projects and our team are relishing the challenge”

The centre is due to be completed in spring 2020.

Posted in LEP News, News and tagged , , , , , , on 7th March 2019

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