Work is due to complete this year on two of Hereford Enterprise Zones' most significant developments to date, after a year of progress at Skylon Park.

The development of the nationally-important £9million Cyber Quarter – Midlands Centre for Cyber Security and the £7.3million redevelopment of the historic Shell Store site at Skylon Park both will open their doors this year.

The 110-acre zone at Rotherwas, designated eight years ago as the enterprise zone for the Marches LEP region, is already home to 38 businesses employing 742 people with another 1,000 jobs expected to be generated from the investment so far which tops £48m.

Zone chairman Andrew Manning Cox said: “More than 44 acres of land has been sold or is committed to development, with 46,000 sq metres of workplace already constructed or in the pipeline as the result of a total investment.

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“The former derelict Shell Store site – used to store munitions during the two world wars – is currently being transformed into more than 2,100 sq metres of business incubation and grow on space, with room for new and growing businesses to set up and expand alongside facilities for development and innovation.”

Funding for the scheme has come from the European Regional development Fund and Herefordshire Council as well as a loan from the Marches LEP’s Marches Investment Fund. It is anticipated business occupants will have created more than 450 jobs by 2031.

Hereford’s future new HE provider, NMiTE, is also planning investing on the Zone in 2020, with three new learning centres planned for degree apprenticeships and short courses.

Mr Manning Cox said: “It is very exciting to see these investments coming to fruition, building on the Zone’s reputation as a catalyst for business growth and sustainable job creation.”

Cyber Centre takes shape

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Herefordshire will be home to the UK’s leading centre of excellence in cyber security – a £9m state-of-the-art hub supporting innovation and industry in the sector when construction completes on site in 2020.

Herefordshire Council Leader David Hitchiner and Herefordshire Enterprise Zone chairman Andrew Manning Cox were among a group of councillors and business representatives given an update on progress of the Cyber Quarter - Midlands Centre for Cyber Security last month.

The centre is a joint venture between the University of Wolverhampton and Herefordshire Council and part-funded by the Government’s Local Growth Fund, via the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Councillor Hitchiner said: “It was marvellous to see the new Midlands Centre for Cyber Security taking shape. The progress of construction in a matter of months is remarkable and it was a joy to be given a tour of the site and visualise the inspirational structure that it will become.

“The centre is a key investment to support the creation of high-income, knowledge-based jobs in the county. We are already home to a highly regarded cyber economy, and the knowledge, expertise and opportunities that the centre brings will help to establish Herefordshire as one of the capitals of the cyber security sector.”

Zone chairman and LEP board member Andrew Manning Cox said: “This is a trail-blazing project which will boost investment on Skylon Park while supporting businesses to protect themselves from hacking and data disruption.

“The expertise and specialist focus of the centre will be part of a wider, growing campus of cyber sector companies based within the Cyber Quarter on Skylon Park.”

Professor Geoff Layer, vice-chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “It’s great to see the structure of the new centre taking shape. The aim of the centre is to tackle the growing threat of cyber attacks, which could significantly impact local, regional and national businesses.”

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