Cheshire Science Corridor’s potential to drive the region’s economy was central to the opening panel discussion in Cheshire & Warrington LEP’s programme of events at the property festival as it got underway on Tuesday.
John Adlen, growth director of the Corridor, chaired the debate. He highlighted the opportunity for the 250-acre enterprise zone to attract international investment, with targets of 20,000 new jobs and 500 businesses.
“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.”
Also on the panel was Thomas Renn, managing director of Manchester Science Partnerships, the Bruntwood subsidiary which owns 400 acres at Alderley Park. Renn 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 Philip Cox, chief executive of the LEP; 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: “Alderley Park has had £650m invested in it over the last 15 years, and there are two investment funds on site to support company formation and further growth. It’s also good for us to be part of a coherent brand within Cheshire Science Corridor.”
Tatton Estate’s Brooks said Cheshire could offer “unparalleled” quality of life. He added 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 former Chancellor, Tatton MP George Osborne. The corridor stretches from Capenhurst Technology Park in the west, boasting international credentials in energy technologies, to Alderley Park’s flourishing multi-occupancy life science and biotech community in the east.