Developing links

Construction has begun on a multi-million pound business park designed to attract high-tech businesses into Kent.

Construction has begun on a multi-million pound business park designed to attract high-tech businesses into Kent.

Funded by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), the £7.3m Canterbury Innovation Centre aims to provide a support network for local and international start-up companies.

SEEDA has worked in partnership with the East Kent Spatial Development Company (EKSDC), Canterbury Enterprise Hub, KentUniversity and Canterbury City Council to provide the centre as part of an economic strategy aimed at making Canterbury a hub for technology and innovation.

Lee Amor, executive director of development at SEEDA, said: ‘The Canterbury Innovation Centre is a real opportunity to develop the links between the east Kent economy and the University of Kent.

‘It will provide an ideal environment for businesses to establish themselves and grow, making the most of the knowledge and skills that the local universities are generating.’

A pilot scheme was run by the university in 2005 to determine demand for the Innovation Centre.

This scheme proved successful, with tenants including award-winning company Oil Drum.

The new centre hopes to attract businesses aligned to the university’s work in security applications, medical devices, ICT, life sciences and biotechnical.

The building, which is being constructed by the East Kent Spatial Development Company, includes the use of a biomass boiler for heating, photovoltaics, rainwater harvesting and strategic urban drainage.

The development is being project-managed by Basepoint, with RH Partnership acting as the architect.

The 25,000ft2 facility is scheduled for completion in October 2009.

KentUniversity hopes that in addition to providing support for businesses, the centre will encourage more graduates to work within the local area.