Devon County Council has secured regeneration specialist St Modwen as the preferred joint venture partner for the development of Skypark to the north of Exeter airport.
The 107-acre site is owned by the council and was identified in regional planning guidelines as being a strategic location for large-scale employment development. Skypark is a key development within the Exeter and East Devon New Growth Point and, along with the other developments east of M5 Junction 29, will be a major contributor to the growth of the economy.
The council has resolved to grant planning permission, subject to completion of a Section 106 Agreement, for the development of some 1.4 million sq ft of office and industrial/manufacturing space that is expected to create about 7,000 jobs for the region.
The council’s decision comes after a procurement process, which has been carried out with its property consultant, King Sturge, and legal advisors Pinsent Masons, over the past six months. It is subject to the legal completion of the formal agreement. Last year the council concluded that formation of a corporate joint venture with a private sector partner was the most appropriate means to bring forward the development of Skypark.
Andrew Pearce of King Sturge’s Exeter office comments: “This is a key development opportunity for Exeter Devon and the region. With the expansion of the airport and the other developments proposed east of Exeter including the science park and Cranbrook, it will help meet the growing demand for serviced employment land which is now in very short supply. The opportunity has attracted wide scale interest in the competitive process from national and regional developers.”
It is hoped that work on the first phase of the business park will begin next year or in 2011, with the first offices ready for occupation in 2011 or 2012.