Construction has begun on the EpiCentre innovation centre at Haverhill Research Park, marked with a ground-breaking ceremony on site.
In attendance were councillor John Griffiths, the leader of West Suffolk Council, councillor David Roach, portfolio holder for Local Plan Development and Delivery at West Suffolk Council and Nic Rumsey, managing director of developer Jaynic.
Councillor Griffiths said: “We are delighted that the EpiCentre is now moving forward to further enable us to help new and existing local businesses grow in Haverhill.
“By building on our strengths such as advanced manufacturing, we will be helping to develop new skills to benefit not only Haverhill, West Suffolk and the Cambridge Sub-Region but also the national economy.
“I would like to thank our partners in the public and private sector who have worked so hard with us to bring millions of pounds of investment to Haverhill, an economic boost for our residents and businesses, and income to support council services. By investing, unlocking outside funding or providing loans we are bringing business, jobs and supporting infrastructure to assist our growing economy across the whole of West Suffolk.”
Mayor James Palmer of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority said: “Fantastic to get shovels on site. Thanks to our Local Growth Fund unlocking potential, this development shows how the Mayoral Combined Authority and Business Board can work with partners to make things happen, quickly and effectively.
“With the £ 2.7 million Combined Authority investment there’s no looking back for what will become a key growth hub, creating new jobs, new businesses, and widening prosperity, not just for Haverhill but for this important part of our whole regional economy.”
Nic Rumsey commented: “Starting work on the Epicentre fulfils our long-held ambition for a business centre at Haverhill’s gateway. We reiterate our appreciation of the financial assistance from the Combined Authority’s Business Board and West Suffolk Council without which it wouldn’t have been possible.”
The Epicentre building on the gateway site is directly adjacent to the ‘Spirit of Enterprise’ roundabout at the entrance to Haverhill and will hopefully help to attract further commercial investment and to support the creation of jobs for the area.
West Suffolk is part of the nationally important Cambridge Sub-Region and as such a driver of the UK economy. Haverhill is an important town for West Suffolk with plans for nearly 4,000 new houses and it continues to make a significant contribution to the wider Cambridgeshire economy. Haverhill Research Park is one of five sites within the Cambridge Compass Enterprise Zone.
Encouraging well-managed housing growth with local jobs, supporting innovation and inspiring and supporting start-ups is integral to good growth and the aims of both West Suffolk Council and the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority.
One of the reasons the new West Suffolk Council was created was to work better with regional and national partners on projects and funding while being small enough to work on tailored initiatives with the local communities.