A £1.8m development on Hereford’s Enterprise Zone, Skylon Park, has been officially opened by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Elizabeth Truss MP, accompanied by Jesse Norman, the MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, cut the ribbon at the development last Friday. It has been designed to offer flexible accommodation for growing companies, including offices and studio workspace.
The scheme was financed with more than £655,000 of European funding through the European Regional Development Fund. Herefordshire Council funded the remainder of the project, which consists of 10 104 sq m business units that are available to let individually or in groups.
The Secretary of State said: “It is fantastic to be opening this really exciting development. “Research recently has shown a 30 per cent increase in rural business start-ups and we’ve done a study to find out what we need to do to support these – which includes improving broadband connectivity and mobile phone coverage.
“We want the rural economy to be fired up and wired up, and this is exactly what is happening here in Herefordshire.”
Mr Norman added: “I’d like to thank the Secretary of State for coming to Skylon Park today, and would add that we are not only firing up the rural economy here but we are delivering on one of the first Enterprise Zones designated in the UK.”
Chairman of the Zone, Bill Jackson, said: “Skylon Court is an ambitious courtyard development which was created to help fill a gap in the market for ready to let, self contained business space.
“The investments from Herefordshire Council and the European Regional Development Fund have enabled us to create a state of the art development that will attract even more businesses to the Zone.
“We are delighted that Jesse and the Secretary of State could see the progress that has been made at Skylon Park and the high quality facilities we are building here.”
Skylon Court was designed by architects Howl Associates and is on the corner of the Straight Mile and Coldnose Road. Two of the ten units offer double height space to accommodate a mezzanine floor. All the ground floor units will have wide double height access doors.
One of the three buildings in the development will also be home to the University of Wolverhampton’s Business Solutions Centre, which will also be the base for the new Marches Growth Hub Herefordshire – offering businesses a single point of access to support services.
Skylon Park is the 72-hectare site designated as the Enterprise Zone of the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, the private sector-led organisation tasked with revitalising the economy of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. With a unique defence and security sector focus, the Zone is currently in discussions with a number of potential investors following a successful visit to the UK’s major expo for the sector, DSEI 2015.