Science Central opens for business

11 February 2013

An important milestone has been reached for the Science Central development following the unveiling of a major campaign aimed at attracting potential investors and developers to what is one of the country’s biggest city centre regeneration projects.

Science Central, a partnership between Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University, is now well underway with a masterplan and outline planning consent in place and a funding package in excess of £30million secured. Forming part of the Newcastle Science City initiative – the site is now officially open for business.
Local residents, businesses and academics who are involved in this exciting project have thrown their weight behind the development by becoming the faces of a campaign that will promote Science Central across the world.

Their 10ft high images will be seen on hoardings along the perimeter of the site and passers-by pointing their smart phones at the images can even see the ambassadors’ stories come to life on film via the Aurasma app. The campaign will also feature in marketing materials aimed at attracting investment and jobs.

Science Central Development Director Colin MacPherson said: “The Science Central site will be a place that lives up to its name; positioned in the heart of the city it will be central to Newcastle’s economic future and to the lives of those living and working here. The launch of the campaign signals the exciting next step in the development of the site as we begin to engage with investors who are interested in bringing their business to Newcastle.

Colin continues: “Science Central will be a vibrant quarter where local people can live, work and enjoy leisure time. The project will have huge potential to attract new businesses to the region and help support job creation and long term investment over the next 15 to 20 years.”

In addition to attracting hi-tech firms to locate within the city, Science Central will also house some of Newcastle University’s world-leading research.

Professor Chris Brink, Vice-Chancellor at Newcastle University said: “Newcastle is already acclaimed as one of the UK’s most sustainable cities and the Science Central development will build on this, forming an integrated site where teaching and research sits alongside business and the community, ensuring we create a legacy for future generations to enjoy.”

The construction of the first phase is on course to begin this spring, with completion expected by autumn 2014. It will include a seven-storey office building for new and growing science companies so the project partners are keen to emphasise what a desirable investment opportunity this is – funded by the Regional Growth Fund, European Regional Development Fund, and new funding arrangements negotiated with central government under the Newcastle City Deal.

Newcastle City Council chief Executive Pat Ritchie said: “This is an important step forward for Science Central. We’re accelerating our work to make Newcastle even more attractive for new jobs and investment – a Working City for the long-term. This development is a clear signal to technology and science businesses from across the world that Newcastle is the place to be.”

To coincide with this exciting stage of the project’s development, a new website has also launched (www.newcastlesciencecentral.com) communicating both the investment offering as well as keeping local people up to date with developments on the site and details on how they can get involved.

Science Central ambassador and local resident Hugh Stolliday said: “The investment and infrastructure changes which Science Central will bring are vitally important to the area – not only will the promise of job creation provide a much needed boost to the neighbourhood but the leisure facilities which are set to be part of the scheme will also really benefit everybody living in the local vicinity.

Hugh concludes: “I’m really confident that Science Central will help make the city and by extension the west end of Newcastle a better place to live, work and visit.”

For further information on the Science Central site visit www.newcastlesciencecentral.com

• Site enabling work on Science Central began in autumn 2012. It is a 24-acre development which promises to be an international exemplar in sustainability, connecting and restoring previously rundown areas in the west end of Newcastle and creating a new urban quarter in the city centre.

• With the aim of attracting hi-tech firms to locate within the city, project partners are committed to creating a lasting legacy at Science Central, and with the planned creation of 1,900 jobs over the next 15 to 20 years, the development will support economic growth in the area and will bring a much needed boost to the local neighbourhood.

• Backed by Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University, and forming part of the Newcastle Science City initiative, the development will build on the city’s existing knowledge and scientific expertise in stem cell and regenerative medicine at the International Centre for Life, and ageing and healthcare at Newcastle University’s Campus for Ageing & Vitality.

• Providing a heart for the key themes of work undertaken by the Science Central Partnership, project partners hope to encourage the introduction of a wide variety of scientific endeavours and enterprise alongside mixed retail and leisure uses.

Sounds bites from the Science Central campaign ambassadors:

• Roland Glancy – joint founder of Heatwave UK Ltd

Newcastle University graduate Roland Glancy is joint founder of Heatwave UK Ltd, a company which specialises in the design and manufacture of central heating efficiency products.

Roland said: “To have a dedicated place where science and technology companies can start up, innovate and grow will be an incredible asset to the region, and the benefits which small businesses are set to reap from the proposed incubator space are massive. We are really excited about Science Central, as it will form an essential bridge between Newcastle University and local and the national business community - the ‘next step’ facility for start-up enterprises where they can grow and develop to become a fully fledged company.”

Steve Todd, CEO of Wind Drive Ltd

Steve Todd is CEO of Wind Drive Ltd – just one of the many businesses set to benefit from the provision of incubator space and business support which will be provided by Science Central.

Steve said: “The support I have received from the Newcastle Science City initiative has been central to Wind Drive’s success to date. Science Central will be a place where all of this support can be brought together under one roof and where many more entrepreneurs, like myself, can benefit from the on-the-ground business support networks that have established over the last few years here in Newcastle. The city is embarking on a very exciting time and Science Central is central to its future. I’m looking forward to being part of it all.”

• Hugh Stolliday – local resident and founder of the Friends of Summerhill

Hugh welcomes the boost which Science Central will bring to the local community. He said:
“The Friends of Summerhill are excited about what opportunities Science Central will provide for people from all backgrounds living in the west end of Newcastle. It has an important role to play in terms of the investment and infrastructure changes which it will bring to the area – notably job creation, which will provide a much needed boost, in addition to the leisure facilities which are set to be part of the scheme and will benefit everybody living in the neighbourhood.

“We’re hopeful that Science Central will ultimately help make Summerhill – and by extension the west end of Newcastle – a better place to live, work and invest.”

• Nuzhat Mumtaz, works at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle (RVI) and local resident

Nuzhat works as a bio medical scientist at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle (RVI) and lives locally with her husband and three children, in the west end of the city.
She said: “As a biomedical scientist and someone who lives close by with a family, I can see what a big role Science Central will have in the future of the city - it’s going to be great for local children to have green spaces in which to play and explore, within what’s essentially the City Centre, and it will hopefully create an interest in science amongst the youngsters in the area. I’m excited that my family and I will be a part of it all.”

Maureen Hogg, volunteer with the People’s Kitchen

Maureen works with the People’s Kitchen, an organisation which supports those who are homeless or disadvantaged.

Maureen said: “There are certain parallels between Science Central and the People′s Kitchen. As the work we do helps to regenerate the lives of the friends who come through our doors, in a similar way the Science Central development will also regenerate the city. Science Central is all about improving lives and this is something which we at the People’s Kitchen continually aim to do. It′s fantastic that we’re going to be neighbours and we welcome the development with open arms.”

• Heidi Mottram OBE, Chief Executive Officer of the Northumbrian Water Group

Heidi Mottram was appointed to the Northumbrian Water Group and Northumbrian Water Limited Boards as Chief Executive Officer on 1 April 2010. She is currently Chair of the CBI North East Regional Council, a member of the CBI Infrastructure Board and Newcastle University Council. Heidi is also a member of the Government’s Green Economy Council.

Heidi said: "We may not often stop and think about it, but complex science is behind our everyday activities. For Northumbrian Water it is how we ensure that you have the best quality drinking water and how we make renewable energy from what you flush away. Science Central will help businesses like ours work together with communities to solve other, more challenging, everyday problems."

• Professor David Manning, Professor of Soil Science at Newcastle University

Professor David Manning, of Newcastle University, led the carbon research on the Science Central site throughout 2010 to 2012.

He said: “The ethos of Science Central is sustainability and we want to make sure that the site will pass on a legacy for future generations to enjoy. By creating the Carbon Capture Gardens we have shown that a demolition site can play a key environmental role as well as being developed to create a place of beauty that can be enjoyed by everyone.

“Science Central is an opportunity to bring together teaching, research, business and leisure on one site in the heart of Newcastle.”

• Professor Stephanie Glendinning, Professor of Civil Engineering at Newcastle University

Stephanie Glendinning Professor of Civil Engineering leads a University initiative for NIRES (Newcastle Institute of Research on Sustainability) which will have major buildings housed on the Science Central site.
She said: “The North East is now one of the only net exporting regions in the UK and much of that export is based on science. Science Central is an opportunity for us to build on that scientific experience and expertise, collaborating with business and industry to make a real impact not just here in the North East but on a global scale.”

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