Research park could create 2,000 jobs

A HI-TECH research park which could create 2,000 jobs in an Essex town has been given the final go-ahead.The scheme, to be built on Essex University land, will include more than 400,000 square feet of office space, about 200 private houses and flats and space for a further 1,000 student bedrooms at the Wivenhoe Park campus.

A HI-TECH research park which could create 2,000 jobs in an Essex town has been given the final go-ahead.

The scheme, to be built on Essex University land, will include more than 400,000 square feet of office space, about 200 private houses and flats and space for a further 1,000 student bedrooms at the Wivenhoe Park campus.

However, some reservations were expressed by people living near to the development yesterday because of its location on green-field land and the possible impact of traffic in the area, which is already notorious for road congestion.

The 43-acre University of Essex Research Park has been recognised by the Colchester 2020 group - a local strategic partnership - as being vital to the economic development of the town.


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It will be created by a private firm and the university, operating under the name of the Carisbrooke-Essex Partnership.

Final agreements were reached yesterday relating to the planning application, granted by Colchester Borough Council, meaning the scheme can now go ahead.

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Tony Rich, registrar of the university, said: “It has been a longstanding ambition for the university to establish a research park, and it will act as a major boost to our collaboration with industry, as well as providing highly skilled jobs in Colchester to the benefit of our graduates.”

Nic Rumsey, a director of Carisbrooke Alliance Ltd, said: “We are eager to commence this prestigious development, and the sale of the private housing land is our priority in order to fund the substantial investment in infrastructure required to open up the site.”

Dee Evans, chair of Colchester 2020, added: “The University of Essex Research Park is the most significant regeneration project in the town in terms of future job creation.

“This project will act as a catalyst to bring new cutting edge businesses to the town.”

The park aims to accommodate new high technology businesses that will benefit from working closely with the academic and research expertise of the university, as well as a wide range of commercial companies with requirements for high quality office accommodation in the Colchester area.

Plans for the first phase of development include the site infrastructure - roads, landscaping and utilities - a 30,000 square foot office village, and a business innovation centre, catering for new start-up businesses.

As part of the planning agreement for the Research Park, the Carisbrooke-Essex partnership will contribute £1.2 million to Essex County Council for improvements to surrounding roads, including increasing the capacity of the Greenstead “Olympic” roundabout, and the upgrading of the Hythe railway station.

It will also lead to a new roundabout being built on the A133 at Clingoe Hill, which is regularly congested during the morning rush hour.

A further substantial contribution will be made towards enlarging and improving nearby schools.

Yesterday, however, county councillor Julie Young, who represents the area, said: “I can't see that the new roundabout is going to be terribly good news. I think it is unfortunate it will make journeys into Colchester slower and that there is no social housing.”

And Cyril Liddy, chairman of Wivenhoe Town Council's planning committee, said he too was concerned about the roundabout.

“Broadly speaking we welcome expansion of the university. However our main reservation about this is the roundabout on Clingoe Hill. We have been given lots of statistical information, but the case for that has not been made.

“It is going to require a lot of engineering work because you don't generally speaking have roundabouts on anything but flat land, and this is not flat land, it is a hill.”

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