Go-ahead for £12m 'incubator' business units near Bury St Edmunds

West Suffolk House

West Suffolk House - Credit: Jason Noble

Backing has been given for £12 million of new ‘incubator’ business units to be established near Bury St Edmunds.

West Suffolk Council’s full council meeting on Tuesday evening agreed the business case and allocation of £12.1m for the first phase of plans to develop a 40,000 square feet portion of Suffolk Business Park.

That will be for 16 ‘incubator’ or start-up business units, largely in the advanced manufacturing and engineering industry.

The cash is likely to be from the Public Works Loan Board, with support from retained business rates from the enterprise zone.

Susan Glossop, Conservative cabinet member for economic growth, said: “This sector will support new and growing companies and provide opportunities for specialist jobs and careers.

“This proposal meets extensively against our priorities for growth and has been a long term aspiration.

“It will bring us a return on our investment and more importantly a return of our businesses and communities in securing jobs, economic growth and a more secure and prosperous future.”

Most Read

Councillor Glossop said it would also involve opportunities for collaboration between firms and provide link ups with colleges, and address the shortage of business units of that size in the district.

The scheme also has the backing of Suffolk County Council and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

Diane Hind from the Labour group, urged the authority to ensure the due diligence was sound, but added: “I am happy to support this project on the basis that it enables us to control what is built and avoid some of the issues we experienced in Haverhill with a similar site there.

“It does give possible high quality jobs for our residents, and it would be wonderful if local students benefited from jobs at the end of their studies.”

Approval from full council means the detailed planning application can now be drawn up and funding request with the PWLB can be submitted.

Construction is expected to begin in 2024 if there are no hold-ups, while a second phase could establish a further 20 units being built.

That would require a separate decision, business case and funding stream in future however, with Tuesday’s decision only covering the first phase.