The Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Board has approved (subject to contract) £8.4 million funding ear-marked from the government’s “Getting Building Fund” to enable the Centre’s design, build and launch in the Manor Royal Business District by the end of 2023.
The project is a major priority in Crawley’s Economic Recovery Plan 2022-2037 and it is also closely aligned to the Coast to Capital plan to Build Back Smarter, Stronger and Greener.
The aim is for the centre in the first instance to help create over 200 new jobs and benefit directly up to 40 local businesses. In the longer term, the aim is to help attract significant new manufacturing business investment into Crawley, including at new industrial space in Manor Royal.
The centre will be a major technological innovation asset to support Crawley’s existing advanced engineering businesses in Manor Royal and to enable growth in new and emerging business sectors such as clean energy and quantum technologies. It will provide vital “grow-on” space which will enable hi-tech small businesses (SMEs) to “scale up”, prototype and demonstrate new technologies in clean energy, quantum tech and transportation tech.
The centre will help boost innovation and research and development output in Crawley and the Gatwick Diamond as well as unlock manufacturing jobs and attract business investment.
Additionally, the centre will expand the capacity of Crawley’s clean / green energy business cluster, which is vital as Crawley looks to meet its carbon reduction targets in the coming years.
The centre will also attract new high value jobs and business investment to boost Crawley’s recovery and the Gatwick Diamond.
The centre will actively engage with Crawley College and the Universities of Brighton, Chichester and Sussex on opportunities for local workforce tech apprenticeships and skills, SME research and development and business support and for the centre to accommodate hi-tech academic “spin out” enterprises.
Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development at Crawley Borough Council said: “We are delighted that the Crawley Innovation Centre has been given the green light. We believe it will bring a much-needed boost to the Crawley economy by creating new jobs and helping existing local businesses, as well as a wealth of innovation and technological benefits. Importantly, it will also focus on investment in skills and the environment for the future of young generations.”
Julie Kapsalis, Chair at Coast to Capital said: “The Innovation Centre project will bring together major innovation led businesses, building on the existing strengths of Crawley based technology industries, providing a once in a lifetime opportunity to attract more high value businesses into the area and cement our status as a leading part of the country driving innovation and trade. We look forward to working closely with partners on the next stage of the project.”
The Crawley Innovation Centre project will also be seeking to secure £2.5 million of funding from the Crawley Towns Fund programme to invest in the operational establishment of the centre – this business case is subject to approval by Crawley Borough Council and to endorsement by the Crawley Town Deal Board.