SOG chases £400m for Heath Park vision

The owner and operator of The Heath, a 57-acre business park in Runcorn, is seeking funding to improve and expand the park, to deliver a “futuristic, multi-use and net carbon-free environment”.

The proposed scheme from SOG Group would provide 19 acres of employment space and 27 acres of mixed uses, including residential, along with a seven-acre retirement zone, targeted to complete in 2050.

The park currently houses around 120 businesses and 2,000 employees, but the proposed expansion could see the creation of up to 10,000 jobs in total and residential accommodation for up to 2,000 people, according to the project’s surveyor Rider Levett Bucknall.

SOG has sponsored a ‘Vision for Future Living’ competition in conjunction with the RIBA to generate conceptual ideas that could be adopted into the Heath Park project. A longlist of eight architectural practices has been drawn up with the announcement of a winner expected in July.

The full longlist is:

  • Atelier Cole, Cambodia
  • Ecoresponsive Environments, London
  • Harper Perry, Newcastle
  • Kimia Benam & Paul Treacy, London
  • Parallel Collective, London
  • Periscope Landscape & Architecture, London
  • Pixel, New York & Hong Kong
  • Tom Cookson & Sarah Carroll, London

SOG is a business park operator with its offices based at The Heath. It acquired The Heath for £6m from ICI in 2000, and in 2012 took over the Dagenham site of French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi, which it has since sold.

The company said it is seeking “ethical” investment to deliver the project, although it did not detail what this means.

John Lewis, SOG managing director, said: “The existing business accommodation at our thriving park is to be increased by way of more efficiently designed buildings on a revised smaller footprint that make way for new mixed-use development.

“The process of relocating the existing businesses onsite and site clearance has already commenced as we pave the way to ensure this attractive and unique investment opportunity is shovel ready, once we secure a deal with the ethical investors.”

“SOG is wholly owned by me. I am a committee of one and I want to see the site transformed by the very best, with funding raised from the very best, who l want to embrace our dynamic vision.

“We will seek those [partners] with a desire to create something very special.”



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