Funding sought for 'innovation hub'

A COMPANY is being sought to join and give funding to a �6 million-plus project to build an “innovation hub” at BT's Martlesham Heath complex.

Richard Cornwell

A COMPANY is being sought to join and give funding to a �6 million-plus project to build an “innovation hub” at BT's Martlesham Heath complex.

So far �5.95m has been raised for the scheme but those behind it say a bit more is still needed to secure a top quality project.

BT, the county council and Suffolk Coastal, who are masterminding the development, are now hoping to attract a company to provide a further cash injection - in exchange for a long lease on the scheme.


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However, they are having to work quickly because some of the cash already promised by various bodies has to be spent within a set time, and the aim is to award the contract next March and open the centre in June 2011.

The project would feature a new three- or four-storey building of about 28,000 sq ft of space for let to create accommodation to kick-start up to 30 to 40 new small businesses, strengthening the Adastral Park site as a regional centre of excellence for information and communications technology.

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It is expected to create 200 new jobs.

The scheme is part of the proposed development of Adastral Park, which will eventually see 2,000 new homes, schools, medical and sports facilities, and extra employment sites, to create a new community.

Suffolk County Council is giving �500,000 to the project. In a report economic development manager Mike Dowdall says this money may now be used upfront to help pay for design costs to get the venture under way.

“We are proposing to offer the opportunity for another party to inject extra capital in exchange for a long lease on the development,” said Mr Dowdall.

“We are confident that there are suitable organisations ready to bid for such an opportunity.”

A management operator is to be set up for the innovation centre to run the facility, manage the tenants, collect the rent and provide start up and innovation support, taking the risk of revenues not meeting outgoings.

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