Construction of electronics innovation centre hits milestone
Torbay’s £8m Electronics and Photonics Innovation Centre (EPIC) has achieved another milestone as it enters next phase of construction. EPIC will build on the strengths of the hi tech sector in Torbay and provide a centre of excellence for photonics and electronics businesses across the South West.
Torbay’s elected Mayor and Executive Lead for Finance and Regeneration, Gordon Oliver, said: “The progress being made on EPIC is really impressive. I am grateful to our funding partners and delivery partners who enable this swift development. I have supported this project from the very early stages when it was in its infancy.
“EPIC will be a centre of excellence, supporting technological innovation. I am delighted the facility will promote collaborative activity between businesses and research institutions. It will also accommodate and support start up and spin-off companies and encourage foreign direct investment to Torbay and our microelectronics and photonics sector.”
The centre is being developed and operated by TDA, on behalf of Torbay Council. The construction, which is being delivered by Interserve, remains on programme for the centre to be open in Spring 2019.
The project comprises a purpose-built hi tech innovation centre, along with car parking, landscaping and accompanying estate road.
To date, the structural steel frame, pre-cast concrete floors, ground floor slab and staircases have been installed. The next steps include secondary steel work, external drainage and mechanical and electrical installation.
EPIC is partly funded by £3m from the Heart of the South West LEP’s Growth Deal funding.
Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Steve Hindley, said: “The LEP is very pleased to be supporting this exciting new project with investment from our Growth Deal with Government.
“The hi-tech sector is an important driver to growth throughout the whole of the Heart of the South West area. This new development will help generate more growth by providing purpose built facilities for over 70 innovation led companies, as well as supporting collaborations between industry and centres of learning.”
In addition to this, £1.375m has been secured from the European Regional Development Fund.
Local Growth Minister, Jake Berry, added: “We’re committed to boosting economic growth across the whole of the UK and building a Britain fit for the future. It’s great to see the second phase of construction at the state-of-the-art EPIC centre beginning very soon. Through this £3m investment from the Local Growth Fund, the EPIC centre will support scientific advancement and encourage investment in the local area boosting growth in and around Torbay.”
EPIC will provide open market access to purpose built hi tech facilities and specialist equipment to support R&D, prototyping, innovation and collaboration in emerging technologies, and developing new intellectual property.
Alan Denby, TDA, explained: “TDA works closely with the cluster of hi tech businesses in Torbay and South Devon and we’re excited by the opportunities the centre presents to other hi tech businesses who could invest in Torbay. EPIC is a hugely important project which complements TDA’s work with schools to raise awareness of science and engineering opportunities available locally through our MADE project.”
The development of EPIC and the South Devon College’s Hi Tech and Digital Skills Centre represent two significant multi million pound investments within the local area which are designed to support the growth of the hi tech sector, and support the development of Torbay’s economy.