St Modwen ‘unable’ to deliver Daresbury science building

Michael Hunt

The next phase of the Daresbury Science and Innovation campus in Cheshire will now be undertaken solely by North West Development Agency as St Modwen has stated it is "unable" to take the development any further.

St Modwen, which won the £25m contract to construct up to 200,000 sq ft of work and teaching accommodation, on a 9-acre site, in April last year, has said work on the scheme had been delayed due to the current financial environment.

The development featured Vanguard House, a building housing 35,000 sq ft of units ranging between 1,000 and 7,000 sq ft. Work was due to start on site last September.

Steven Broomhead, chief executive of the NWDA, said: "We have recently been advised by St Modwen that they are now unable to bring forward their proposed Vanguard House development at Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus. It is a disappointment, the Daresbury Campus is a huge success with 85 companies now bulging out of our Innovation Centre and sales turnover of these companies growing at an average of over 60% a year.

"There is the option of course for St Modwen to wait for an upturn in the economy, and they are working with us on a solution, but the Daresbury site needs the building now as we are aware of potential businesses waiting for this new space and we don't want to see the campus losing momentum. We are now investigating the possibility of the Agency carrying out further development on the site, it is early days but we hope to get the building back on track very soon."

St Modwen said they were due to meet with the NWDA to discuss a way forward for the "important project".

Michelle Taylor, North West regional director for St Modwen, said: ""We understand the North West Development Agency's imperative, however, due to the difficulties the economic climate presents we have had to review the timescales within which this project can be delivered."

The new development would adjoin the existing Daresbury Innovation Centre and the Cockcroft Institute, the National Centre for accelerator science, providing a home for companies already on the campus to grow into, as well as attracting established scientific and hi-tech companies from across the country.

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