Science corridor ‘can drive Cheshire growth’
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The Cheshire Science Corridor’s potential to drive the region’s economy has been hailed during a panel discussion which kicked off Cheshire and Warrington LEP’s programme of events at the international property festival, MIPIM today (Tuesday, March 14).
John Adlen, growth director of the Corridor chaired the debate, and highlighted the opportunity for the 100-hectare enterprise zone to attract international investment, and with it 20,000 new jobs and 500 businesses.
He said: “We want to put Cheshire on the map with its outstanding science and technology assets. Our aspiration is to create a new golden triangle in the North. We are willing to be innovative to support business growth and kick-start developments by using gap funding thanks to our ability to borrow against retained business rates.”
He was joined by Thomas Renn, managing director of Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) – part of Bruntwood, which owns the cluster’s landmark 400-acre asset, Alderley Park – who added: “We support the Cheshire Science Corridor’s aspirations and see a golden opportunity here to create something world class here in Cheshire.
“At Alderley Park we have one of the best-invested life science parks in the country with 2,000 people on site and a real focus on developing out that cluster of companies and delivering one of the UK’s leading science campuses that supports both the Cheshire economy and the wider Northern Powerhouse.
“We have science assets to in Greater Manchester and we see that joint campus approach as really attractive. A lot of the companies looking to Alderley Park are internationally based and they appreciate the connectivity with the wider region. The sum of the parts is always going to be greater than an individual site.”
The pair were accompanied on the panel by Cheshire & Warrington LEP chief executive Phillip Cox, Tatton Estates executive director Henry Brooks, partner and national head of infrastructure, projects and energy at law firm Addleshaw Goddard, Mike O’Connor, and Peel Group’s Victoria Merton.
Cox said: “We are really excited to be here in MIPIM, Cheshire has a hugely compelling, globally attractive story to tell, particularly in terms of its science and technology assets, from Jodrell Bank to Birchwood Park, home of the UK nuclear industry. We have true strength and diversity of assets and a willingness to work with land owners to make things happen here.”
Renn went on to outline that Alderley Park has had £650m invested in it over the last 15 years, but we also have two investment funds on site to support company formation and also further growth. It’s also good for us to be part of a coherent brand within Cheshire Science Corridor.”
Brooks, director of Tatton Estates Management, and Cheshire’s largest private landowner. said Cheshire could offer “unparalleled” quality of life.
He said too, that it was a huge competitive advantage for Cheshire to have landowners like TEM, Bruntwood and Peel, which take a “patient, long-term and supportive approach to development.”
The Cheshire Science Corridor was awarded enterprise zone status in 2015 by then Chancellor – and current Cheshire MP – George Osborne. It stretches from Chester’s Capenhurst Technology Park in the west, which boasts international credentials in energy technologies, to Alderley Park’s flourishing multi-occupancy life science and biotech community in east.