Developers sought for Knowledge Park

The search for the development partner to bring a 30,000 sq ft incubation centre for Burnley College and UCLan to Princess Way will begin in the next couple of months, according to Steve Rumbelow, chief executive of Burnley Council.

The enterprise and education centre will be the first of a set of new buildings on a five-acre site to be known as Knowledge Park next to the campus that could total 130,000 sq ft aimed at the private sector.

Rumbelow said: "The enterprise and education centre will be focused on the advanced manufacturing sector and will provide space for spin-out companies from the campus right next door."

The terms of the deal between the council, Burnley College and UCLan to bring the 30,000 sq ft to fruition are close to being finalised, said Rumbelow, and he declined to go into details at this stage.

He added: "We are in the process of establishing Burnley's reputation as an area of educational excellence, having completed our Building Schools for the Future programme [five new high schools, the last of which will be completed in September 2011] successfully whilst other local authorities around the country had theirs cancelled before even starting.

"What we are very much trying to do at Knowledge Park is link the university to space for businesses to develop. There will be workshop and office space built out in a flexible way to be adaptable for different uses."

The remaining plots on the five-acre site will be reserved for pre-let design-and-build occupiers and Rumbelow was confident the proximity to the university would be attractive to graduate employers.

Site assembly included relocating a waste disposal facility for Lancashire County Council which will be completed shortly.

There is also a £1.2m public realm scheme under way to dress the Knowledge Park area including public art.

The development partner is due to be appointed by the autumn with the first phase of Knowledge Park scheduled to be on site in 2012.

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