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Mid Suffolk: Gateway 14 innovation park

Published: 27 February 2023

The Project

Gateway 14 (G14) is a business, innovation, and logistics park. It is designated as one of three tax sites for Freeport East, providing 2.4 million square feet of accommodation for manufacturing, offices and research and development.  Mid Suffolk District Council set up a trading company in 2017 and has now acquired the whole site.

This landmark development, one of the largest in the East of England, will provide high specification sustainable buildings including electric vehicle charging, LED lighting, solar panels, smart energy systems and rainwater harvesting. High-quality landscaping, green corridors and nesting boxes will be introduced to support wildlife and ecology.  Accessibility through, and around, the development is also key, with significant walking and cycling routes integrated with access to public transport links and local amenities.

The benefits

At full scale, G14 will deliver £75 million to £250 million of Gross Value Added to the economy annually, 5,000 new jobs, a new Skills and Innovation Centre, and a return to Mid Suffolk District Council (as the shareholder) to reinvest in services.  All the business rates for this site will be retained locally for 25 years, ensuring a long-term supply of new jobs to the district.

Due to the strong focus on biodiversity and sustainability, the site will support wildlife and ecology and create a vibrant, attractive, and healthy working environment for employees and the local community to enjoy with approximately 25 acres of landscaping and amenity land.

The first unit on park (‘The Range’) will start construction in late January 2023 and will occupy a bespoke 1.2 million square feet high-specification distribution hub in 2024.  The receipts from this first phase of development will cover all the costs of acquiring the land and installing the park infrastructure. They will deliver a BREEAM Excellent building and 1,650 new jobs.  The new building will enable The Range to accelerate the opening of 150 new retail stores across the UK.

The council anticipates one of the next developments on site will be the delivery of a Skills and Innovation Centre. This will create the right ecosystem for skills and business innovation to flourish and meet the immediate and future skills needs of employers and employees in the local and wider sub-region. This will address gaps in provision and add value to the regional economy.

By setting up a company structure and working in partnership with private sector developers, the council has already recovered 80% of the funds invested.  Future receipts can be used to fund projects across the council for many years.  This partnership has enabled all the partners to work effectively together while developing skills to use for other council and private projects.

For example, council staff working on this project have increased their skills in commercial contract management, complex land transactions and taxation.  In addition, they have improved their financial planning skills for long-term master planning of both the physical works and the longer-term impacts of development holistically.  Bringing together the best elements of private and public sector and working to deliver significant results for communities.

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