Council teams up with uni to buy science park
SOUTH Gloucestershire Council has teamed up with a nearby university to buy the Bristol & Bath Science Park for £18 million.
The 36-acre park, on Dirac Crescent, Emersons Green, includes the National Composites Centre and Forum exhibition and conference facility and has been open since 2011 - but still has large areas yet to be developed.
South Gloucestershire has bought the site jointly with Bath University, which has already been awarded £38.9m towards the £60m cost of building a new hi-tech development, the Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems, at the park. The IAAPS is expected to eventually create 1,900 new jobs.
A council spokesperson said that, of the authority’s £14.2m share of the cost, almost £5.8m was coming from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership’s Economic Development Fund. The £8.4m balance, he said, would come from “prudential borrowing”, with the repayments expected to be met from income generated by the park.
The park was previously owned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Since it was first proposed in 1986, £300m is believed to have been spent on it.
Council leader Toby Savage said the park was already a “world-class centre for science and technology businesses."
He added: “Having purchased we will give it a new lease of life and ensure that it is fully developed. Not only will we grow the opportunities for growth, we will also generate a commercial return that will feed into Council coffers, which will support our ongoing efforts to deliver a balanced budget as well as the value for money services that our residents demand.”