North Kent Enterprise Zone’s debut at MIPIM UK

The North Kent Enterprise Zone, set to be the most diverse business development established in the county in recent years, recently made its debut at the UK’s largest and most insightful property summit (18 & 19 October).

A presence MIPIM UK in London, which attracted thousands of key stakeholders, provided a springboard for the embryonic North Kent Enterprise Zone, which went live six months ago.

Seeking to specialise in digital technologies, education, healthcare and life sciences, and engineering and manufacturing, the North Kent powerhouse was able to boast the wide range of opportunities on offer for high value, high-tech businesses looking for a well-connected base in the south east.

Ebbsfleet Garden City, Innovation Park Medway and Kent Medical Campus, each has an important role to play in the future of the local economy.

The three developments are all working closely together and playing to their individual and collective strengths, with support from Locate in Kent and Thames Gateway Kent Partnership.

The long-term aim is to ensure this part of the county is among the most desirable locations for innovative businesses looking to relocate to the south east.

Attendance at MIPIM UK highlighted the power of three, the connections to the capital and continent, the commitment of the zone’s partners, and the zone’s commercial property opportunities.

The trio of hubs, collectively spanning 164 acres, further strengthens the thriving network of innovation centres and business parks across the county, becoming the heavy weights within the Kent innovation corridor that runs north to east through the county.

Local communities are also set to benefit from having the Enterprise Zone on their doorstep, with almost 10,000 jobs set to be created by 2026. Once the Enterprise Zone is fully occupied and the jobs target is met, the Gross Value Added (GVA) uplift to the economy of Kent and Medway is estimated to be £443.5m per annum.

Ian Piper, Interim Chief Executive, Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, said: “Having Ebbsfleet Garden City as part of the North Kent Enterprise Zone opens up many opportunities to businesses wanting to set up or relocate here. The Garden City is undoubtedly in the best location in the country and is perfectly placed for those wanting to do business in the UK and in Europe.”

Cllr Alan Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council, said: “Offering up to 100,000m2 of high quality commercial space in a prime spot between London and the continent, Innovation Park Medway will be a magnet for high value technology, engineering, manufacturing and knowledge intensive businesses looking to grow in a top, affordable location in the south east, joining the 17,000 businesses which have already made Medway their home.

“One of the most exciting features of the park will be the opportunity for partnerships with the four universities based in Medway providing access to leading academic research and development and a pool of skilled graduates.”

Gary Watson of JLL, the property advisers for Kent Medical Campus, said: “The Campus is already attracting significant interest from companies and institutions eager to find a viable and attractive alternative to what’s on offer in London, and elsewhere in the South East.

“Our ability to offer a two-year turnaround from a company signing the deal to opening the door thanks to our outline planning permission and support of Maidstone Borough Council, is very attractive. It means we have the real potential to create an academic, health and science-focused campus here in Kent. MIPIM London was a great place to continue to tell our story.”

Ebbsfleet Garden City: engineering and manufacturing, medical and healthcare research

Key features:

  • Ambitious housing scheme: This is a major site for the delivery of up to 15,000 homes, all on brownfield sites mainly within old chalk quarries in what is the largest regeneration project in the UK. Its landscape makes the site unique in the county.
  • Strategic location: You can get on the train at Ebbsfleet International Station and be in central London in 17 minutes and get into Europe by rail in an hour and reach Paris in two hours. Its road network, bordering the A2, means it is less than five minutes from the M25, and you can reach five London international airports in an hour by car or rail.
  • Considered infrastructure: Ebbsfleet Development Corporation has already invested £100million in vital infrastructure which will help speed up delivery of business space and homes. The corporation is forward funding electricity supply, ensuring developers can get the power they need, when they need it, as well as investing £45million in a vital scheme with Highways England to further improve road connections on the A2.
  • Health champion: As the largest of only ten designated NHS Healthy New Towns in Britain, its aim is not only to be a centre of excellence in medical and healthcare research, training and practice but also to improve the health of local people and build a community that promotes healthy lifestyle choices.

Innovation Park Medway: digital technologies

Key features:

  • Space to grow: The site boasts 60 acres of prime commercial land, offering up to 100,000m2 of high quality commercial space supported by state-of-the-art meeting and conference spaces, business facilities and opportunities for networking in a campus atmosphere.
  • Expertise in tech: Medway is one of the country’s leading locations for high-value technology, engineering, manufacturing and knowledge-intensive businesses.
  • Valuable university connections: Opportunities for private sector businesses to benefit from long-term relationships and partnerships with four local universities and two technical colleges. Leading academic research, development and a pool of skilled graduates and young talent on the doorstep.
  • Easy access: Innovation Park Medway is close to junction 3 of the M2 and junction 6 of the M20, offering easy access to London and the M25.

Kent Medical Campus: science, education and healthcare

Key features:

  • Specialists in health: The site is already home to Kent’s largest independent hospital and work is well underway on £30million worth of further healthcare-related investment.
  • Strengthening the skills base: The Campus aims to offer Further and Higher Education training provision, contributing towards the site’s aspiration to be the county’s first Academic Health & Science Centre (AHSC) and home to innovative business.
  • Extensive commercial space: The site has outline planning permission for one million square feet of high quality medical, care, research and commercial space and will employ up to 4,000 people on the 30-acre campus.
  • Well connected: The site enjoys easy access to London, just one minute from the M20 and 25 minutes to the M25. High-speed rail services link Maidstone to St Pancras and nearby Crick Institute. From next year, Thameslink rail connections will connect the town with medical hubs in Oxford and Cambridge.

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