A multi-million pound riverside development is being planned by Bath and North East Somerset Council which it hopes will create thousands of new jobs and provide a massive boost to the local economy.
It could get underway before the end of the decade if £65 million pounds worth of funding can be coaxed out of the Government purse and through the private sector.
Bath Innovation Quay – it says – would create a business location for the growing ICT, low-carbon and creative sectors within the city and link with the research and academic base in the city’s two universities.
The development, which the Council will be encouraging to come forward by around the start of 2019, would create:
- 2,500 new jobs;
- A £100 million boost to the local economy;
- Around 400,000 square feet of modern business space;
- Up to 170 low-carbon homes.
I spoke to the leader of the Council about it:
Councillor Crossley (Lib-Dem, Southdown) continued:
“The prospect of having hi-tech businesses, University research facilities, and places for people to live combining with the buzz of the city and World Heritage Site is simply mouth-watering in terms of opportunities for local people and prosperity for our area. A healthy, smart, zero carbon development will be created that will become the hub for imagination and creativity not just regionally, but worldwide as we take the area’s internationally respected reputation for digital expertise to the next level.”
The development costs for the plan would be around £65 million with the Council seeking a combination of Government money through the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and the private sector.
The University Innovation Centre is a core component of the plans. Dr Rob Head, Director of Research Development and Support at the University, said, “Our strong and successful programmes convinced us of the potential to build on these achievements and establish what we have termed our ‘Innovation Campus’. We have been working with the Council on these plans and I am delighted to see this important progress towards creating around 2,500 high technology related jobs within Bath.”
The main locations that would be used are Newark Works, Avon Street Car Park and Coach Park.
Investment worth £7.6 million has already been captured to tackle flood mitigation, highways works, and new footbridge over the river. The Council will also look to obtain £800,000 of funding to relocate the Coach Park.
No details are yet available about those private sector enterprises who would take workspace in Innovation Quay, although the Council is fielding considerable interest.
Bath Innovation Quay is one part of the Enterprise Area; the others are:
- Residential Quarter where the Council, Crest Nicholson, Homes and Communities Agency and Curo Group are working together to create new homes and commercial space;
- Commercial Quarter, of which Innovation Quay is the main part;
- City Gateway consisting of Bath Riverside East and Green Park Station offers the opportunity not only for Sainsbury’s to develop their proposals for a new retail store, but also around 160,000 square feet of office, creative, and bar/ restaurant space.
With 10 years of high technology business acceleration, the University of Bath Innovation Centre is a core component of the plans. The Centre, recently voted best business incubation organisation in Europe and 4th in the world, offers a world-class package including networking, mentoring and training in business skills, innovation and entrepreneurship which attracts significant numbers of attendees from overseas.