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'Cautious optimism' about research park prospects

Thursday, 21st March 2013.

Town business people heard today the developer of Haverhill Research Park at Hanchet End is 'cautiously optimistic' that he can make a success of it.

Nic Rumsey of Carisbrooke Developments gave the assessment at the monthly meeting of thebestofHaverhill at Days Inn Hotel, which he owns.

Days Inn stands on Haverhill Business Park, at the other end of the town and also part of the carisbrooke portfolio, and Mr Rumsey had good news on that front as well.

Development there had stagnated over the past five years due to lack of available cash for investment, but Carisbrooke was recapitalised in January, and hoped it could get that area moving now as well.

The 8million research park project is already under way and Mr Rumsey apologised to anyone who had been held up in traffic jams caused by the works.

It aims to deliver thousands of new jobs eventually in research and development, but there will also be new housing and a Marstons pub on the prestige site next to the gateway roundabout.

And Mr Rumsey revealed they had decided an innovation centre would be crucial to the whole project, sited at the heart of the park beside the central lake.

University Campus Suffolk had agreed to take 'a footprint' within the building,although he did not know how big or small this might be.

"Nevertheless it is a positive selling point for Haverhill to say we have a university in the town," he said.

UCS, the town and borough councils, the local enterprise partnerships and MP Matthew Hancock had worked with Carisbrooke to put together a bid for 2.5million growth funding from the Government, to create the innovation centre.

Mr Rumsey said such funding had traditionally gone 'up north', but after the Chancellor's indications in the budget of money for regional infrastructure, there might be hopes of attracting some here.

A not-for-profit charitable trust would be formed to run the centre, with Mr Rumsey's company just having representation on the board.

He said they would assume they would not be successful in their bid because there were many competing projects.

If they did not get Government cash, he hoped to persuade the locale enterprise partnerships which had lent him 4million to get the park project started, to recycle that money when he paid it back.

He will start doing that when the housing and the pub are up and running, scheduled to be by December this year.

He also announced a public display of the results of last year's archaeological dig on the site, to be held at Days Inn on May 8.

He urgeqd any local businesses interested to contact him about sites on the reasearch park or the business park, and offered incentives for businesses which introduced companies to him succesfully.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council's cabinet has also agreed a reduced rates package for the first occupier of the research park.

"It's early days, it's going to be tough, but I think we have reason to be cautiously optimistic," he said.

Haverhill Online News

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