£12m start-up business units project takes step forward

West Suffolk House

West Suffolk Council's cabinet has given its backing to proposals for the £12.1m business start-up plans - Credit: Jason Noble LDRS

Plans to create a £12.1million development of 16 ‘incubator’ business units near the A14 has received the backing of community leaders - with the project described as a "win, win, win".

West Suffolk Council’s cabinet on Tuesday night voiced its support to buy 6.8 acres of land at Suffolk Business Park to develop for 40,000 square feet of employment space and construction could start in 2024.

That backing paves the way for full council approval on December 14.

The project, which already has the backing of Suffolk County Council and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, will see homes for 16 start-up or small-scale businesses in the advanced manufacturing and engineering space, and funded with the help of retained business rates.

Susan Glossop, Conservative cabinet member for economic growth at West Suffolk Council, said: “It’s about employment, growth, training and new skills for the advanced manufacturing and engineering industry, which is very important.

“It’s very important we have these kind of jobs because they are skilled jobs, and we need to have skilled jobs in the future for our young people. They can be trained and go on to good jobs.

“We have got Suffolk Business Park, which is wonderful, and this site is going to be close to the A14, it will be very prominent so can be seen from the A14. It is a win, win, win.

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“The council is thinking about the future and the future for our young people. We are showing that we are commercially minded and also getting the funding in to help us do it.”

If approval is given for a business case, land purchase and funding arrangements by full council next month, the process of drawing up a planning application can begin, with the authority expecting construction to start sometime in 2024.

A second phase, which would be subject to a separate business case and funding streams, envisages a further 20 units being developed in the enterprise zone space.

The aim is to foster collaboration between businesses and education partners that will then provide skilled jobs, as well as boosting economic growth.

Heads of terms have already been signed for the land, subject to final approval from full council.

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