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Flagship innovation hub could create 130 jobs to help construction trades

PUBLISHED: 07:30 14 June 2019

The I-Construct Innovation Hub which would be built at Braintree if planners approve Picture: BRAINTREE DISTRICT COUNCIL/H BREEDEN

The I-Construct Innovation Hub which would be built at Braintree if planners approve Picture: BRAINTREE DISTRICT COUNCIL/H BREEDEN

Archant

Up to 130 new jobs could be created with the creation of a new innovation hub in north Essex.

Anita Thornberry,director at the Haven Gateway Partnership Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAnita Thornberry,director at the Haven Gateway Partnership Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The partnership project will create a new team housed in a purpose-built centre in Braintree to help small and medium sized firms connected to the construction industry.

The two-storey hub at Braintree Enterprise Centre, will consist of workshop and demonstration spaces, a technology lab, conference and networking facilities, café and meeting areas - and will help share innovative construction ideas, technology and techniques such as robotics, 3D printers and building information modelling software.

Braintree District Council (BDC) has submitted a planning application for the I-Construct Innovation Hub.

John McKee, cabinet member for corporate transformation at BDC, said: "We're delighted to be working with the Haven Gateway Partnership in promoting construction innovation and that Braintree will be home to this new flagship centre.

Councillor John McKee Picture: BRAINTREE DISTRICT COUNCILCouncillor John McKee Picture: BRAINTREE DISTRICT COUNCIL

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"This hub will provide a focal point for business support and product development opportunities.

"The impact of this on business growth, high quality job creation and prospects for people in and around Essex is huge. We want to make our district an attractive place to do business, creating more jobs for our residents which is why our investment into this project is so important."

Anita Thornberry, executive director at the Haven Gateway Partnership, said: "We're excited to be leading on this project supporting productivity in the construction sector and its supply chain.

"The construction industry is vital to our economy and quality of life, but it faces major structural challenges including labour shortages, lack of investment and low productivity.

"We want to help companies overcome these issues through grants, technology and support for innovation so they can secure new business, become more competitive and operate more efficiently. This project aims to launch 150 new products or services and has the potential to create up to 130 new jobs."

This project will be funded by the Council and by a grant from the European Regional Development Fund. If planning permission is granted, construction work is expected to start towards the end of 2019.

The I-Construct project will be led by Haven Gateway Partnership with delivery partners Braintree District Council, Building Research Establishment, Colchester Institute and Daedalus Ltd.

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