Major new £20m green business park approved
- Credit: Lanpro/Pro-Works
A £20 million renewable energy business park in Wymondham has been given the green light by councillors.
The Energy Innovation Park is the brainchild of the Goff Group and would be based at its premises near the existing Hethel Engineering Centre, on land west of Goff Petroleum on Stanfield Road.
A report to the South Norfolk Council’s planning committee on Wednesday, said: “This is a long-established family-owned local business dating back to 1888.
“The company has considered the implications of climate change and identified a need to diversify in order to create a long term, sustainable business.”
The park would create space for the employment of more than 300 people, at companies undertaking research and development related to sustainable energy generation.
Chris Watts, the council officer, recommending the site for approval, said the site was well located, close to Wymondham.
Project manager Saul Humphrey, speaking on behalf of Goff Petroleum, said the site was ideally placed along the Cambridge Tech Corridor and could be inhabited by companies currently based at Hethel Engineering Centre.
“This building creates the grow on space for them and we worked closely with them and the county council in making sure that we can provide that.
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“The intention is to develop this building, enacting a partnership with them and they will manage it."
The park will include a range of offices and workshop spaces, café facilities, communal working areas, car parking and a social hub space.
Mr Humphries said the site had been designed to achieve an outstanding BREEAM rating – an environmental impact benchmark.
“It will be the second building in Norfolk to be given the accolade, second only to the UEA’s enterprise centre has achieved that so far," he said.
“We are aiming really high, to be the most sustainable employment building in the county.”
Few concerns were raised at the meeting, with one centring on the loss of an oak tree on the site.
However, Goff plans to provide 5.63 acres of land to enhance the ecology off site.
Councillors welcomed the plans, with councillor David Bills calling it an "extremely interesting project”.
“From my point of view what you’re trying to do and where you are trying to do it, I think is extremely good.
“I think it will help south Norfolk put its name on the map,” he said.
The committee unanimously approved the plan.
Speaking after the meeting, William Goff said: "This development marks a significant step forward in the company’s ongoing plans to diversify the business and continue the drive towards more sustainable growth.
"This really is a huge investment in the potential of Norfolk as a business centre as well as for our business.”
Alice Reeve, Chief Executive of Hethel Innovation, said: “We are excited that more, much needed, flexible commercial space will be delivered to businesses who can create high-value jobs – which is needed even more than ever given the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic."