Council urged to agree £17m support package to secure 5,000 job scheme

How SmartParc will look

Derby City Council’s Cabinet is being asked to agree a package of support, worth up to £17.5 million, to enable the development of a new food production campus, which could bring 5,000 jobs to Derby.

SmartParc wants to create the innovative £300m food manufacturing and distribution park on the former Celanese site, near the city centre.

The D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership has already allocated a provisional £12m towards the project from the Government’s Getting Building Fund.

Now, members of Derby City Council’s Cabinet are being recommended to present a full business case to the LEP to secure that funding and to agree to provide up to £5.5m in direct support from the authority.

SmartParc wants to bring food producers together to cluster knowledge and investment – reducing food waste, lowering carbon outputs, and increasing UK food security.

The campus would include a shared power plant, using renewable sources and designed to reduce energy consumption, and would harness the latest technology, such as vertical farming, to improve production and efficiency.

A central distribution facility will allow manufacturers to consolidate both raw materials and finished goods to lower food miles.

A report to the Council’s Cabinet meeting on Wednesday March 10 says the development has the potential to create up to 5,000 jobs on the 112-acre brownfield site and boost the local economy by between £250-£300m over ten years.

Councillor Chris Poulter, leader of Derby City Council, said: “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that whilst the city has a strength in the advanced manufacturing sector, our reliance upon this is a risk when external factors threaten this sector. The investment in SmartParc will support the diversification and resilience of Derby’s economy.”

Paul Old, chief eperating officer at Smartparc said: “We are delighted with the progress we have made to date in realising the SmartParc opportunity for the City of Derby. This funding will enable us to make a real difference to the way our food is produced in the UK.

“While the country emerges from the pandemic in the coming year, SmartParc will ensure the region and the city is in the best possible position to maximise its potential, attract new investment and create new jobs.”

Councillors will hear that SmartParc has agreed to purchase the site from Texas-based Celanese, subject to the securing of planning permission and an implementable development plan.

A hybrid planning application has already been submitted, with a decision expected in April. It is hoped that work can commence on the site during the summer, with phase one construction scheduled to begin before the end of the year.