A NEW innovation centre is set to be created after a pledge of £20million in Government funding.
The announcement of funding for the centre, on the site of Airport Business Park Southend, was made by Local Growth Minister Andrew Percy.
It makes up almost a fifth of the money allocated for the south east across the South East Local Enterprise Partnership area.
Southend Council leader Cllr John Lamb confirmed that the funding also included investment to complete the road infrastructure and to improve the cycling and walking network around the business park, located to the north west of Southend Airport.
Cllr Lamb said: “For the borough to receive nearly one-fifth of all available funding for the south east of England is a great achievement and testament to the hard work that we have been doing to make this development a reality.
“More importantly this will help us to deliver the Innovation Centre at Airport Business Park and the final enabling infrastructure works with our partners Henry Boot Developments.”
Cllr Lamb claimed the Innovation Centre would be the heart of the business park and would create an exciting modern environment for young and growing businesses.
He added: “Our overall plans will generate thousands of new jobs in attractive, modern business space around London Southend Airport and are absolutely are crucial to the area’s future prosperity. “There is a great deal of work already going on at the site with replacement rugby pitches constructed and the first phase of road and services infrastructure all well underway and scheduled for completion in the summer.”
Rochford District Council welcomed the funding announcement.
The council’s deputy leader, Cllr Mike Steptoe said: “This is great news for the business park, it is an exciting project which will really put the Rochford district on the map.
“This funding will help to provide over one million square feet of new floor space available for businesses wanting to locate to the area, and thousands of new jobs accessible to local communities.
“It is envisaged that the new business park will become renowned as a leading regional centre for the science, medical and technology sectors and deliver benefits for both our local businesses and local communities.”