Science park HQ deal ‘paves way for more occupiers’

(from left) Phil Quiggin, of Lambert Smith Hampton, with Professor Tracy Bhamra, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Enterprise) at Loughborough University,Jon Walker, Director of Enterprise at Loughborough University, Jane Taylor, of Andrew and Ashwell, and Paul Watson, University Surveyor at Loughborough University, at the development site.

A leading software company is creating 500 jobs in Leicestershire after agreeing to move to a major new office development to consolidate its presence at the UK’s largest university science park.

Construction of the 100,000 sq ft HQ building is underway after The Access Group agreed a 15-year lease on the building at the Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park(LUSEP).

The deal, concluded by joint agents Andrew and Ashwell and Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH), marks the start of an exciting expansion at LUSEP, which could lead to more pre-let deals involving major businesses seeking to collaborate with the University.

In this instance the development has been forward funded by Leicestershire County Council and the letting will generate £1.6 million per year for Council front-line services. County Council deputy leader, Byron Rhodes dug the first soil at the site to officially start work on the new HQ.

The Access Group serves over 15,000 UK companies and employs in excess of 1,500 people, with a third of its workforce based in the Midlands.

Jane Taylor, consultant at agents Andrew and Ashwell, said: “This is a really exciting development and will be the first of many similar deals, potentially bringing thousands of jobs and huge investment to the region.”

Phil Quiggin, head of office at LSH in Nottingham, added: “The Access Group developmentis the first building to be pre-let at LUSEP by, and for, an organisation that is not directly related to the University. It therefore creates a very significant template and paves the way for the University to deliver further pre-let opportunities either with the County Council or potentially with other partners based at LUSEP.”

Professor Tracy Bhamra, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Enterprise) at Loughborough University, said: “This new building is the first new development of LUSEP’s expansion within Loughborough and Leicester Science and Innovation Enterprise Zone. The Access Group is one of the UK’s top employers and innovators, and a perfect fit for LUSEP. It has already established mutually beneficial links with the University since opening a technical development and support centre at LUSEP in November 2016.”

Councillor Rhodes said: “I’m pleased to start work on this scheme as it marks another significant step forward in the council’s mission to invest in property and then put the money back into front-line services. This new office space will create around 500 new jobs and represents a pioneering partnership between the Council and Loughborough University.”

The plans were first announced in last August by Midlands Engine Ministerial Champion Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP. They were approved by Charnwood Borough Council in October 2018. The project is being delivered by Wates Construction. Practical completion is expected in 2020.

Perfect Circle – a joint venture company formed by consultants Pick Everard, Gleeds and AECOM – is providing multi-professional consultancy services for the project through the Scape Built Environment Consultancy Services (BECS) framework. The project team, led by Perfect Circle, includes local architects SGP as lead designers, commercial property agents Andrew and Ashwell and LSH, planning consultants GVA and solicitors Browne Jacobson.

One of the most accessible sites in the UK, LUSEP is adjacent to a leading UK university with particular strengths in engineering and advanced technologies and a high calibre graduate workforce. Home to a thriving innovation community of more than 75 organisations in multiple sector clusters, LUSEP’s expansion will add 84 hectares to the current 19 hectare site, with 7 hectares immediately available for development.