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Go-ahead for £12m AME incubator units in Suffolk

In late December, backing has been given for £12 million of new ‘incubator’ business units to be established near Bury St Edmunds. This is fantastic news for the growth of Manufacturing in Suffolk and will add greater support to the community of manufacturers that are already established through NAAME’s West Suffolk Manufacturing Group.

West Suffolk Council’s full council meeting agreed on the business case and allocation of £12.1m for the first phase of plans to develop a 40,000 square feet portion of Suffolk Business Park. This will support 16 ‘incubator’ or start-up business units, largely in the advanced manufacturing and engineering industry.

The cash is likely to be from the Public Works Loan Board, with support from retained business rates from the New Anglia Enterprise Zones.

Susan Glossop, Conservative cabinet member for economic growth, said: “This sector will support new and growing companies and provide opportunities for specialist jobs and careers.

“This proposal meets extensively against our priorities for growth and has been a long-term aspiration.

“It will bring us a return on our investment and more importantly a return of our businesses and communities in securing jobs, economic growth and a more secure and prosperous future.”

Councillor Glossop said it would also involve opportunities for collaboration between firms and provide link ups with colleges, and address the shortage of business units of that size in the district.

The scheme also has the backing of Suffolk County Council and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

Diane Hind from the Labour group, urged the authority to ensure the due diligence was sound, but added: “I am happy to support this project on the basis that it enables us to control what is built and avoid some of the issues we experienced in Haverhill with a similar site there.

“It does give possible high quality jobs for our residents, and it would be wonderful if local students benefited from jobs at the end of their studies.”

Approval from full council means the detailed planning application can now be drawn up and funding request with the PWLB can be submitted.

Construction is expected to begin in 2024 if there are no hold-ups, while a second phase could establish a further 20 units being built.

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