Haverhill: 2,000 jobs and 150 homes on their way

A PROJECT that will provide 2,000 jobs and 150 new homes in Suffolk will begin in the next two months, it has been revealed.

Business and council leaders last night said the Haverhill Research Park scheme, which will home companies from start-ups to corporate giants, would provide an “economic boost” for the entire county.

The property development company behind the 30-acre park, Carisbrooke Investments yesterday confirmed they had sold 9.17 acres of land for a residential scheme to help finance the infrastructure of the �100million site.

The sale of the land to Taylor Wimpey East Anglia, which already has outline planning consent for houses ranging from starter units, affordable housing, through to executive homes, is viewed as an important milestone in the delivery of the scheme and would allow work to begin almost immediately.

The news has already led to several large companies expressing a serious interest in the Park.

Justin Friend, Chairman of Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are very excited about what the new Research Park will do for Haverhill. Aside from creating more jobs and attracting more businesses to the town, we think the Park will put Haverhill on the map and will go a long way to helping us become more closely associated with business in Cambridge.

“I know that it is hoped Haverhill will attract more bio-technology companies to the town and with it some higher calibre positions, which up until now people in Haverhill have been travelling out of the town to places like Cambridge to pursue.”

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He added: “Employment costs in the town are much lower than cities such as London and Cambridge which really makes Haverhill a very attractive place to move to. We are also very pleased that the residential aspect of the development will include executive housing, something that we as a Chamber have been pushing for in the town for some time. By increasing the amount of executive housing we are helping people to live and spend money in Haverhill which can only be a good thing for the town.”

Nic Rumsey, a director of Carisbrooke Investments said the residential element of the site, along with �2million of funding from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), was vital to the Park’s success.

“If you go back to the original scheme years ago, it was just for a strategic employment centre, but with the credit crunch and the economy as it is, such a project is just not viable.

“By selling the residential land subject to getting approval to their (Taylor Wimpey’s) layout on our site it allows us to start implementing the infrastructure. Basically they are saying we will get the money for this, which in turn gives banks the confidence to see they will get their money back too.”

He added: “Now we have exchanged these contracts, we will be putting together a corporate marketing programme to get companies to consider Haverhill instead of Cambridge or Bury St Edmunds.

“In the last couple of weeks we have been asked by two large companies to put proposals together for them.”

Mr Rumsey said that the sales pitch will be promising the facilities and high standards of any south Cambridge site with the lower cost of a Haverhill postcode.

“Over time it is possible, applying ratio of square footage of site, that there will be 2,000 people working at the Haverhill Research Park, therefore increasing the size of the local economy and hopefully will also act as another plank in the improving reputation of Haverhill.”

Andrew Anderson, Development Manager at Carisbrooke Investments, said: “The scheme will provide a high quality new residential area at the gateway to the town and forms part of a sustainable mix of uses that will be delivered on the park.

“We are delighted to have contracted with a major developer such as Taylor Wimpey, and look forward to working with them in delivering their development.”

Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, “The Research Park is an important piece of the future of Haverhill. It has the widespread support across the whole community and it’s very good news that it’s moved ahead. The town is on the up.”

Councillor Judy Terry, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “I’m delighted that the Haverhill Research Park scheme has secured this much needed funding. This project is of key strategic importance and will help create jobs and provide a much needed economic boost for Suffolk.”

Councillor John Griffiths, Leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “I am delighted that the Haverhill Research Park project is progressing and that we are well on our way to securing 2,000 new jobs for the town. This is an excellent example of people and organisations working well together and without the enabling housing that St Edmundsbury approved in the master plan, the project would have been difficult to bring forward. The funds from this sale will help meet the project’s considerable infrastructure costs and we await Taylor Wimpey’s detailed planning application with interest. “

Planned amenities at the site include a day nursery, family pub/restaurant and hotel.

The scheme will include up to 450,000 sq ft of office/laboratory/technology and supporting accommodation. Bespoke buildings will be available on a leasehold or freehold basis with what developers have described as a high quality ‘science park’ environment.