The new facility will not only provide new office and workshop incubation space for up to 16 advanced engineering and manufacturing businesses, but will also incorporate low carbon features such as PV cells, a biomass boiler and air source heat pumps. As well as the office and workshop space, the plans will also include business support services.
“The project is really going to encourage local businesses to expand,” said our source at Morton Solutions, “It will also be a great opportunity for new start-ups.”
The £7.8m Hethel Innovation project has secured funding from the European Development Fund (ERDF) and a loan from Norfolk County Council. Director of the Hethel Engineering Centre Simon Coward said that they would now be able to start the tendering process for the low carbon manufacturing facility.
The planning permission was granted a day after investors from the Chinese Yotta Group - who are looking to open a research and development centre in the UK - visited Hethel Engineering Centre as a potential site..
“The Chinese were very impressed. They could see the growth and they may want to take up incubator space to get started. It will create an offering that is not just attractive to business in Norfolk, but business from all over the world.”
Our source at Morton Solutions said, “With such a great location opening up, it will really encourage foreign businesses to consider moving in to the local area, which will really help to boost the local economy.”
Ann Steward, Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet member for Economic Development, said: “Hethel Innovation will enable us to expand Hethel Engineering Centre both in terms of incubation space and business support, and facilitate the development of an innovation hub focused on delivering low carbon innovation.
“The Hethel Innovation program will help business to explore, engage, experiment, collaborate and cluster in order to be globally competitive and will further ensure that Norfolk continues to build and preserve its reputation as a world class centre for engineering.”