Planning application submitted for £9.5 million Innovation Centre
30th January 2019
A planning application has been submitted by Maidstone Borough Council to develop a £9.5 million Innovation Centre at Kent Medical Campus, part of the North Kent Enterprise Zone.
The four storey, 37,000ft2 Innovation Centre will provide office space, facilities and support for small and medium-sized enterprises working in the life science, healthcare and med-tech sectors, complementing Kent Medical Campus’ existing offer to the medical sector.
With excellent access to Junction 7 of the M20, the proposed Innovation Centre would offer flexible office spaces, meeting rooms and break-out areas, hot desking space and a state-of-the-art conference facility with roof terrace, if approved.
The Reserved Matters planning application is currently being considered by the Council’s Planning Department, and a decision is expected early in April 2019. If approved, construction of the new Innovation Centre will commence in autumn 2019.
Councillor Martin Cox, Leader of Maidstone Borough Council, said: “The proposed Innovation Centre is an exciting, high-quality development. It will put Maidstone and the Kent Medical Campus firmly on the map and attract inward investment from new businesses in the medical, healthcare and life sciences sectors.
“By providing high-quality office accommodation, business support and a nurturing environment for start-ups and growing businesses, the Innovation Centre demonstrates the Council’s commitment to encouraging entrepreneurship, supporting business growth and creating high wage employment opportunities within the borough.”
Designed by Bond Bryan Architects and project-managed by construction consultancy CalfordSeaden, the project is expected to support around 270 jobs once complete and will generate a further £120m of additional gross value added to the local economy over the next decade.
Tony Collins, Chairman of Kent Medical Campus, said: “Once again Maidstone Borough Council has demonstrated its belief in the Campus as a major employment and economic driver for the borough.
“Our existing planning permission for 98,000m2 of commercial space, combined with Enterprise Zone status and the arrival of Cygnet and with work under way on Care UK, means the campus is already delivering on its potential for Maidstone.”
As part of the North Kent Enterprise Zone, businesses located at the Kent Medical Campus are entitled to business rates relief. Maidstone Borough Council is investing in the site using the retained business rates that will be generated from the site for the next 25 years.
The Council recently secured more than £150,000 from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership in October 2018 to help fund the design of the Innovation Centre.
South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has backed the development of an Innovation Centre at Kent Medical Campus after approving a £156,000 bid from Maidstone Borough Council towards the cost of design work.
The success highlights the importance of Kent Medical Campus as it was one of four bids which SELEP endorsed for its Sector Support Fund, a fund designed to help bring forward projects that help grow specific industries, in this case innovation and healthcare businesses.
Christian Brodie, Chairman of SELEP, said: “Supporting specific projects that can help unlock the growth potential of businesses in those sectors that are going to drive our economy forward is a key to the success of the LEP.
“The Innovation Centre project builds upon the Government’s support for the North Kent Enterprise Zone, which includes Kent Medical Campus, identified by Maidstone Borough Council as a key place for employment growth in the area.”
In addition, Maidstone Borough Council has applied for a substantial grant from the European Regional Development Fund to help finance the delivery of the project.