Councils To Invest In Former Nuclear Site At Winfrith

Business_News

Published at 7:37am 4th March 2015.

Purbeck District Council and Dorset County Council are to invest £927,000 each in the Dorset Green employment site at Winfrith Newburgh.

Purbeck District Council and Dorset County Council are to invest £927,000 each in the Dorset Green employment site at Winfrith Newburgh.

This will help to secure the future of one of Dorset's strategic employment sites.

Previously a nuclear facility, the site is now home to a range of businesses, including two key defence-related advanced engineering businesses.

The District Council and the County Council have been working with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which is the freehold owner of the site, to acquire 6.2 hectares of land on the 40 hectare site.  

The current leasehold owners of the site recently went into receivership so investment is needed in the site to provide reassurance to existing businesses and kick-start future employment development on the site to build further confidence.

This investment is in addition to successful Local Growth Deal funding of £600,000, which Purbeck District Council applied for through the Dorset Local Economic Partnership (LEP). The LEP had identified Dorset Green as a strategic employment site and a high priority for investment through the government funded growth deal.

Councillor Peter Wharf, Economy and Infrastructure Spokesperson for Purbeck District Council, said:  "Investment in Dorset Green is absolutely critical.  It is one of Dorset's strategic employment sites  so helping to secure its future is crucial to stimulating growth in Purbeck.

Councillor Wharf continued:  "Helping to secure this site is the right thing to do and helps to protect future employment in the area."

Colin Jamieson, Dorset County Council's Cabinet member for economy and growth, said:

"Economic growth is the number one priority for the Dorset County Council as it underpins the social needs of our communities and consequently reduces the pressure on other functions of the county council. By investing in local centres such as this, it is possible to create the framework needed for new business in the area with high-tech needs in a secure environment.  

"Our investment with other partners in this strategically important site will go a long way to ensure the sustainability of this former nuclear research park and this area as a strategic centre for local employment.   I look forward to seeing new businesses and new high skilled employment being generated here, and a stronger Dorset economy as a result of this joint investment."

Bruce Voss, Area Manager of the Homes and Communities Agency said: "The HCA is working tirelessly to bring new investment to Dorset Green.  We are delighted to support this public sector partnership approach to kick starting investment in the site, which will herald the first significant new building investment here for more than 20 years."

It is proposed that the first phase of development in the south eastern corner of the site will commence at the earliest opportunity. A planning application will be submitted by May 2015.  This would include building 1,800 square metres of modern functional workspace for small business use on 1.3 hectares of the land and a new site road to enable future sales of the remaining 4.9 hectares. Development could commence on site as early as October 2015.

In total, the site provides 40 hectares of strategic employment land.  A large part of the remainder is being marketed by the Receiver which aims to identify a private sector operator who will be required to invest in the employment future of the site.