Blow to Innovation Park as LJMU closes digital incubator

Liverpool John Moores University is in talks with Space Northwest, the joint venture between the North West Development Agency and Ashtenne, over scaling back its presence at Liverpool Innovation Park as it prepares to close Digital Inc, a business incubator for the digital industries.

Digital Inc is part of LJMU's £20m Digital Academy, which includes the International Centre for Digital Content backed by TV guru Phil Redmond. All parts of the Digital Academy are housed at the former Marconi premises on Edge Lane now called Liverpool Innovation Park.

Sources said funding had run out for Digital Inc, which offered workspace for around 40 small firms. The project was part-funded by the NWDA and partly by the European Regional Development Fund.

The park has 410,000 sq ft of existing premises, with permission for a similar amount again in six buildings on the neighbouring former Mersey Transport bus depot.

Mark Tock, innovation manager at the park, said more than half of the current space was let to a total of around 60 tenants.

Other firms were in talks with Space Northwest over expanding their presence, Tock added.

Drugs firm Baxters Healthcare recently announced plans for a new 38,000 sq ft manufacturing plant at the park.

Ashtenne was appointed two years ago to manage the NWDA property portfolio in a 50:50 JV.

LJMU declined to comment.

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