The Daresbury enterprise zone is to enter the next phase of development after its joint venture owners bought a 12-acre site for a six-building office and lab scheme.
The site is next to the 225-acre Sci-Tech Daresbury main campus and is bounded by the A56, A558 and Keckwick Lane. The plot was acquired from Lord Daresbury estate for an undisclosed sum, with planning consent already granted for a development on the site.
The office and laboratory facilities will be spread across five or six buildings. Sci-Tech Daresbury has been awarded £3.6m of enterprise zone capital grant funding in order to prepare the site and deliver the first phase of infrastructure works. Construction is expected to begin later this year, although a contractor is yet to be appointed.
Sci-Tech Daresbury is a joint venture between Halton Council, Langtree and the Science & Technology Facilities Council. The universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester are all active on the site.
The campus was awarded enterprise zone status in April 2012, allowing occupiers business rate relief, as well as funding for infrastructure and more relaxed planning regulation.
John Downes, chief executive of Langtree and director of the Sci-Tech Daresbury joint venture board, said: "The announcement of this latest phase of development marks a key stage in our plans for the Sci-Tech Daresbury site. The campus is a key growth driver for the region and the fact we are proceeding with these ambitious site expansion plans and the speculative development of the office and laboratory complex speaks volumes for our commitment to Sci-Tech Daresbury and the demand for what we are proposing."
John Womersley, chief executive of the Science & Technology Facilities Council, added: "Sci-Tech Daresbury is a vibrant combination of enterprise and open innovation that is underpinned by scientific excellence on an international scale. Today's announcement is a welcome commitment to the long-term growth and success of the campus, and is of course excellent news to the strong pipeline of high-tech companies, from both within and outside of the region, looking to re-locate their businesses to Sci-Tech Daresbury."