Work gets underway on new Innovation and Business Base
For release: Thursday 23 November / Press enquiries to:
Lisa Davidson, EEDA press officer
Tel: 01223 200871
Fax: 01223 713951
Work has got underway to construct the new multi-million pound Innovation and Business Base (IBB) at Butterfield Business and TechnologyPark, Luton.
A team from Marriott Construction has already cleared top soil from the site and has now begun digging the foundations for the new state-of the art centre. To mark this significant milestone in the project, Minister for Competitiveness, Barry Gardiner MP, will visit the site next week to give a helping hand.
Luton Borough Council is overseeing work on the £18.5 million Innovation and Business Base. The project has been supported by £14 million of funding from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) and £4.5 million from the Government Office for the East of England (Go-East),which obtained the funding from a European funding stream called the Regional Development Fund.
The centre is being built on the site of the new 85-acre Butterfield Business and TechnologyPark, just off the A505, which is being built by Easter. Once it has been completed it will provide first class accommodation for start-up companies in the high-tech sector. These will benefit from the centre’s state-of-the-art facilities as well as specialist business help and support to ensure their new ventures are successful. The Innovation and Business Base’s outstanding architectural design, created by internationally renowned architects Hopkins, will also help to provide a stimulus for creative ideas.
Minister for Competitiveness, Barry Gardiner MP said:“This new state-of-the-art centre will ensure that Luton is positioned at the cutting edge of the hi-tech sector, helping to both widen and strengthen the employment opportunities in the region. The centre will help to encourage more innovation and growth through providing the very best facilities and business support, and will create many new opportunities for local businesses.”
Leo Murray, EEDA board member, said: “We believe the new centre will act as a catalyst for boosting Luton’s economy. It will create jobs and will provide a strong focus for Luton’s diversification towards a high skilled, knowledge based economy that can support high-tech businesses. The centre aims to lift the aspirations of those who work and visit Luton as well as to nurture a more creative working environment.
Colin Chick, director of environment and regeneration at Luton Borough Council, said: "Starting construction of the IBB at Butterfield marks the first sign ofa project which has risen from the ashes of the Vauxhall car plant.Providing 100 supported units and creating450 jobs, it will focus on start up and new technology businesses to both widen and strengthen employment opportunities in Luton. We have worked hard with our partners including EEDA, Government Office and DTI to secure the funding for this prestigious building set in parkland designed by internationally acclaimed architects Hopkins."
Chris Murphy, managing director of Marriott Construction, said: “As a construction company we innovate and introduce new ideas and methodswherever possible. To build a centre designed to encourage forward thinking is more than apt for us, it’s a vested interest in the future.”
David Morrall, director Europe for Go-East, said: "We are really pleased to be able to support this project with European funding. It is really important that the region supports innovative start up businesses and we are creating a centre of excellence for high-tech industry. The funding will also help to generate more jobs and that can only benefit the local communities."
Derek Ludlow, chairman of Bedfordshire and Luton Economic Development Partnership, said: “The future wealth creation in Luton, over the next 20 years, will rest in the success of areas like Butterfield Business and TechnologyPark with the creation of knowledge based industries and new electronic technology businesses.”
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Notes to Editors
A photocall with MP Barry Gardiner, Minister for Competitiveness, was held at the site on Wednesday 23 November. He was accompanied by Leo Murray, EEDA board member; Colin Chick, director of environment and regeneration at Luton Borough Council; Chris Murphy managing director of Marriott Construction; John Henke contracts director for Marriott Construction, Chris Barnes, chief executive of Bedfordshire and Luton Economic Development Partnership; Richard Lacy, chief executive of Chamber Business; Dr Steve Pettit, deputy vice chancellor of the University of Luton; Margaret Moran, South Luton MP; Paul Witcombe of Go-East and Sue Walsh, relationship manager at EEDA.
About the Luton Innovation and Business Base Centre:
In September 2003 EEDA purchased 7.5 acres of land on the new Butterfield Business and Technology Park which is located to the east side of Luton, adjacent to the A505. The site is to become the home of a new 70,000 sq ft Innovation and Business Base, which will have state-of-the-art workspace facilities for high-tech firms and new start-up companies.
It has been designed by renowned London based architects, Hopkins, which won an international competition to design the new centre, after beating stiff competition from five other renowned architects - Aukett Ltd, NBBJ, RMJM, SBT and Sheppard Robson. The new centre will target knowledge based enterprises in Luton and the surrounding area. Facilities will include office space, in-house business support facilities, meeting rooms and an e-commerce suite.
The idea for the centre and associated business and technology park came out of the closure of the Vauxhall Plant in Luton, when 1,900 people lost their jobs. Although the Luton Vauxhall Partnership, chaired by EEDA, ran a successful retraining programme for employees, it was clear that a major initiative was needed in order to secure Luton’s future and provide a new 21st Century source of employment for the town. The centre and Butterfield will help brighten Luton’s prospects by helping it to further establish itself as a prime location for modern high-tech businesses.
The new centre will: -
- Provide closer links between businesses research and development organisation and the region’s universities
- Provide accommodation and support for spin out businesses from universities, research centres and other companies
- Play an important part in the knowledge exchange networks across the region where people can share new ideas leading to the development of new products and services
- Improve the quality of technology support to business
- Help create links with other knowledge-based regions – nationally or internationally
- Accelerate the growth of e-commerce
The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) is the driving force behind sustainable economic regeneration in the East of England: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. The vision for the East of England is to create a leading economy, founded on a world class knowledge base, creativity and enterprise to improve the quality of life for all who live and work here. For further information visit
For further press information please contact:
Lisa Davidson, press officer at EEDA, tel: 01223 200871, mobile: 07921 487965, email:
Lynne Popham, communications officer at Luton Borough Council, tel: 01582 546048, email: .