Creation of the proposed new Peterborough Innovation Centre moved a
step closer this week as Greater Peterborough Investment Agency (GPIA)
announced that it is fund a study into likely demand for space.
Initial plans for the development of
an innovation centre to encourage the growth of knowledge-based
companies in Peterborough were revealed last year. It will provide
young high-tech firms with premises and a range of support services,
helping them to grow and provide more high-quality jobs.
The steering group behind the project
is in detailed negotiations about finance to build and run the centre
and the purchase of a site.
Steering group chairman John Durance
said: "Right at the outset, we undertook a study which led us to
the view that we should aim for a building of between 30,000 and
40,000 square feet. This would allow us to offer accommodation to
between 60 and 70 small companies with shared access to meeting rooms,
a restaurant, reception and post and photocopying facilities.
"Now we are in the final stages
of planning it is time to conduct a more detailed analysis of the
potential market in order to ensure that we provide a facility which
truly meet the needs of growing companies."
The contract to undertake the study
has been awarded to St John's Innovation Centre in Cambridge which is
due to report its findings within weeks.
Mr Durance said: "St John's is
one of the best and longest-established innovation centres in the UK.
Its experience will enable it to identify potential tenants and their
The study will produce updated
estimates of current and future likely demand, identify the sizes of
units most likely to be required, and examine issues such as rents,
preferred locations and the provision of support services.
Gloria Milne, chief executive of GPIA,
said: "The Innovation Centre will be a major force for economic
growth in Peterborough, creating high-quality jobs in high-tech
businesses. The steering group needs to make sure that it gets the
plans right from the outset and GPIA has therefore offered to assist
the steering group by meeting the costs of this study."
Armed with the results of the report,
the steering group will finalise negotiations for grants from the
public sector bodies and loans from commercial sources.