An artist’s impression of the Exeter Science Park

Outline application submitted for Exeter Science Park

The outline planning application for the Exeter Science Park has been submitted four months ahead of schedule.

The application was submitted by Devon County Council on behalf of the Science Park Partnership.

The Science Park Partnership developing the project consists of Devon County Council, East Devon District Council, Exeter City Council, The Met Office, South West RDA and the University of Exeter.

The Science Park is a significant element of the Exeter and East Devon New Growth Point area, and offers the potential to create up to 3,700 jobs in the first 20 years.

The outline planning application is seeking permission for 68,700 square metres of building development that would be built in phases over 20-25 years.  Phase one would include a hotel and conference facility, science park centre, and office space for let. Subject to approval, work on the highway infrastructure would start in Spring 2010. This will involve a detailed planning application in September this year.

A series of public exhibitions was held in February and March, and the feedback helped adapt the development plans for the outline application.

A number of issues raised by the public have been addressed, such as the inclusion of provision in the Development Framework for the sensitive treatment of the historic remains and gardens at the nearby Redhayes House. The outline Construction Environmental Management Plan will ensure construction vehicle access to the site will be restricted from Tithebarn Lane and Blackhorse Lane. Lighting will also be made more in-keeping with the existing landscape, and community gardens and allotments will be provided within the development.

The exhibitions were attended by almost 300 people and feedback from a questionnaire was positive. It revealed that 66% of respondents supported the location of the Science Park, with 69% stating that the scheme fitted well with the existing landscape. In addition, 64% of respondents thought that the environmental appraisal and mitigation measures were sufficient and 53% felt that traffic issues had been adequately addressed.

David Allen, Chairman of the Science Park Steering Group and Registrar at the University of Exeter, said: “It’s a reflection of the enthusiasm and commitment of all parties involved with the project that we have been able to submit the outline planning application so far ahead of schedule. Although currently in the midst of an economic downturn, Exeter needs to focus on its future and the Science Park will be a vital part of that.”

Ian Thompson, Devon area director for the South West RDA, said: “Now is the right time to be developing the infrastructure we need to ensure Exeter and the wider region is ready to make the most of the recovery, when it comes. This project will create high quality jobs and encourage enterprise, helping develop the competitive products, technologies and businesses which will drive the future growth of the region’s economy.”

Councillor William Mumford, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration and Strategic Planning, said: “The feedback from the public exhibitions has proven really useful in pulling together this outline application. This is a vital scheme to generate jobs and investment in the area, so I’m pleased that the application is ahead of schedule. All of those involved in the partnership share in the determination to see this scheme become the focus for the future of the local economy and a cornerstone in the ongoing development of Exeter and the surrounding area. It will put Devon at the forefront of economic recovery and help the area gain a reputation as a leader of scientific industry.

Date: 10 July 2009

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