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Plans for Skills and Innovation Centre at Gateway 14 unveiled

Posted by Communications on 6 March 2023 | Comments

Local businesses, students and workers could all benefit from modern, collaborative working and learning spaces at Gateway 14, following the approval of an initial business case by Mid Suffolk District Council’s Cabinet.

The early design and operational concept seek to create a unique space - blurring the boundaries between education and the world of work. It includes a range of workspaces, meeting/ training rooms and collaboration spaces within an approximately 30,000 sq ft high quality and sustainable facility with innovation cluster plots on the site meeting a minimum BREAAM standard of Excellent.

A full business case and further flexible purpose design can now be developed, potentially for consideration by the Council and Gateway 14 board during the summer of 2023.

Gateway 14 is the new state-of- the-art business, innovation and logistics park in Stowmarket which will provide up to 2.36 million sq ft of development opportunities for R&D, manufacturing, and logistics businesses in Mid Suffolk.

A Skills and Innovation centre would provide a dedicated space for start-ups and businesses looking at innovative ways to grow – including through upskilling of the local workforce. Development of the centre would kickstart the wider innovation cluster development envisaged for the site.

In addition, the Skills and Innovation centre will allow education and training partners to work in collaboration with business, using the flexible space for learning and training where people can upskill or learn new skills for career development or change.

Commenting on the initial business case, Cllr Harry Richardson, deputy leader and cabinet member for economic growth, Mid Suffolk District Council said:

“The Skills and Innovation Centre provides an exciting opportunity for small businesses, start-ups and those looking for grow-on spaces. There is a huge demand for innovative workspace solutions and the new centre will help attract new investment to the region and in turn boost the local economy.”

The initial business case has been developed in collaboration with key local partners including Gateway 14 Ltd, Jaynic, Freeport East, local universities, and West Suffolk College to help address skills gaps in the region.

Cllr Suzie Morley, leader, Mid Suffolk District Council commented:

“Almost 90% of businesses in Mid Suffolk are categorised as micro – employing up to 9 people. The flexible workspace will provide a unique opportunity for those small businesses – as well as offering conference and training spaces for a wide range of businesses.”

The Gateway 14 development will offer high specification buildings with sustainability a central feature of the site with low carbon and net zero solutions where possible.

Gateway 14 benefits from being part of Freeport East, one of only eight Freeports in the UK. The Freeport status will provide many businesses on Gateway 14 with a range of benefits including a suite of tax reliefs and simplified customs arrangements.