Students Staff

04 September 2013

Turf cutting at Parkside - the first Growing Places Fund backed project to start in Essex

Colchester Campus

Peter Jones CBE, Chairman of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership cuts the turf

Peter Jones CBE, Chairman of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership cuts the turf, with representatives from the other organisations present

Jobs and growth to be created by Parkside Office Village thanks to support
from South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SE LEP)

New SE LEP Chairman Peter Jones CBE visits University of Essex to see work begin on Parkside − the first Growing Places Fund backed project to get underway in Essex

Peter Jones CBE, the new Chairman of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SE LEP), today (Wednesday 4 September) undertook the official turf cutting at the new Parkside Office Village development at the University of Essex.

SE LEP is the business-led body responsible for co-ordinating economic growth across East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock. The new Parkside offices are a key part of its efforts to stimulate growth and create jobs in the area.

The project is the first in Essex to begin on site thanks to £2.4 million of support from SE LEP through the Growing Places Fund − a Government fund designed to boost the UK economy.

Parkside offers the potential to create more than 120 new jobs through the establishment of a new home for dynamic, knowledge based businesses as part of the first phase of the University’s planned 42-acre business research and development park known as the Knowledge Gateway. When complete the Knowledge Gateway could provide up to 2,000 new high value jobs.

The turf cutting ceremony was also attended by representatives from Colchester Borough Council and Essex County Council plus main contractor Manningtree-based building company Rose. The scheme is due to be completed in May 2014, with a show unit ready by March.
University Registrar Bryn Morris said: “The Parkside development reflects the University’s commitment to supporting businesses to deliver economic growth, providing a high quality base for innovative companies who see a close association with our University – which is one of the UK’s top ten universities for research quality – giving them a competitive edge.

“Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) at Parkside will be ideally located on our Colchester Campus to forge links with our world-leading researchers and with Essex Business School, which will be moving into a state-of-the-art new building close to the site.”

SELEP chairman, Peter Jones, said: “”I am delighted to be given the honour of breaking the turf for this great scheme which will help provide the opportunity for small and medium sized businesses to develop and grow.

”SE LEP’s core objectives are to help stimulate growth and create new jobs. To achieve this we need to provide the facilities and infrastructure to help businesses of all sizes flourish. It is schemes like this that will help us achieve this aim.”

Essex County Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Infrastructure, Cllr Kevin Bentley, said: “”It is great news that work on this project can now begin. It will make a real difference to businesses in the area when it is completed, they can benefit from the new facilities which could enable them to grow and develop. I am fully supportive of any project in Essex which boosts the county’s economic growth and I am looking forward to seeing Parkside Village develop and being open for business next year.”

Cllr Anne Turrell, Leader of Colchester Borough Council said: “It is fantastic news that the Parkside Office Development project can now get underway, providing both a fantastic opportunity for the University and a boost to the local economy. Small to medium sized businesses are a driving force in Colchester’s economy and we are committed to continue working hard to bring new businesses to the area, supporting them as they grow; helping keep Colchester’s economy thriving.”

The Parkside Office Village scheme is one of up to 20 schemes SE LEP is supporting with around £49 million GPF funding and the first to start on site in Essex. In total the schemes have the potential of creating more than 20,900 jobs directly and indirectly, and the potential for unlocking around 25,000 new homes.

For more information please contact the University of Essex Communications Office on 01206 874377 or e-mail: . Photos from the turf cutting are available from the University’s Flickr account at: . For more information on the Knowledge Gateway see

GPF is a government scheme which is designed to boost economic growth by getting the required infrastructure built to enable the creation of new homes and jobs and get stalled projects moving again.

SE LEP It is operating the fund as a revolving infrastructure fund allowing it to support additional schemes in the future. The majority of the GPF awards provided by SELEP are in the form of a loan which is repayable over an agreed period.
SE LEP is a partnership of private and public sector leaders working together to create the most enterprising economy in England. It covers East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock.
It is the largest strategic partnership of its kind outside London. It represents a combined population of 3.9 million people and is home to more than 130,000 businesses, which provide more than 1.3 million jobs. It is a critical port and gateway area in a strategic location between London, Europe and the global economy.
The area covered by the LEP an economic powerhouse contributing £63 billion a year to the national economy.
For more information on the South East LEP see here . You can also follow SELEP on Twitter @southeastlep

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