Plans for a new state-of-the-art life science incubator facility have taken an important step forward this week with the approval of planning permission for the scheme by Nottingham City Council.

This is the latest key step towards developing the new bioscience facility on brownfield land bounded by Lower Parliament Street, Pennyfoot Street and Plough Lane – close to the already successful BioCity Nottingham facility.

The planned five storey, 50,000 square foot building would expand bioscience facilities in Nottingham city centre and it is anticipated it would accommodate up to 200 specialist science jobs – primarily by providing move on space for growing bioscience and drug discovery firms to expand – as well as enabling regeneration of the east side of the city centre.
Now that planning permission has been granted, the new building will go through approval processes by the City Council before construction begins, which is anticipated to start in spring 2015.

The new incubator facility would be developed by Nottingham City Council with £6.5 million funding from the Local Growth Fund.

Initial designs for the building have been developed by Willmott Dixon and prominent Nottingham practice CPMG has been appointed as architects on the scheme. They have created a striking building which will provide the city’s biosciences cluster with a public face. The team is working in conjunction with a local artist to create a large scale artwork across the principal elevations, to further celebrate the role of science in Nottingham.

Nick Heath, operations director at Willmott Dixon in the East Midlands, said: “We are pleased that this project is moving forward.

“The new building will feature a number of state-of-the-art biology and chemistry laboratories in a range of sizes, as well as ancillary space for commercial lease to both start-up and as well as ancillary space for commercial lease to both start-up and existing small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) within the sector.”

Hugh Avison, group director at CPMG, said: “Nottingham is already well known for its science expertise – being the home of Ibruprofen and the MRI scanner.

“The area is highlighted for major future development as the Eastside Regeneration Zone; we are immensely proud to be designing the first building as part of this, which we are sure will act as a catalyst for further development.”

Local construction consultant, Gleeds, has provided detailed cost planning advice, drawing on its experience of delivering BioCity’s four-phase upgrade programme in 2012. The firm has been appointed as project and cost manager for the scheme.

Anthony Cork, director for Gleeds in Nottingham, said: “We’re delighted the scheme got the green light from the planning committee, and that Nottingham is a step closer to securing another development that will encourage business and investment into the city.”

The new building would help to expand job opportunities in the already flourishing bioscience sector in the city. Life sciences and healthcare sectors currently account for 55,000 jobs across 1,400 firms in the Nottingham city region, and life sciences is identified as a high growth sector in Nottingham’s economic Growth Plan. Nottingham is also home to leading international brands such as Alliance Boots and Reckitt Benckiser as well as local high growth companies including Aesica and Sygnature Discovery.

Alongside these new bioscience facilities, outline planning permission was also granted this week for a mixed use development on the Enterprise Zone site on the Boots campus and related highways infrastructure works, which would help to further expand support for life science industries across Nottingham.

Councillor Nick McDonald, portfolio holder for jobs and growth at Nottingham City Council, added: “The Nottingham Growth Plan identifies life sciences as a key sector for the future success of Nottingham’s economy. We are therefore particularly pleased to see these plans to expand the facilities available for Nottingham’s bioscience firms moving forward, which will support both new start-ups and growing businesses in this sector.”

The project is part of the Local Growth Deal with Local Enterprise Partnership D2N2 announced earlier this year, which will see £174.4m invested to help accelerate economic growth across Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Derbyshire over the next six years.

Other projects in Nottingham funded through the Local Growth Fund include £30m towards a £60m Skills Hub on derelict land off Canal Street, £10.3m for transport improvements in the Nottingham Broadmarsh / Southern Gateway area, a £6.1m Cycle City Ambition Package to improve links for cyclists and pedestrians, and £6m to improve sustainable transport access to the Nottingham Enterprise Zone.