MEPC has secured planning consent at Milton Park in Oxfordshire for the first speculative office and laboratory development to be submitted and approved in the UK since the EU Referendum in June. As a result, MEPC will be pressing the button to build three new high specification buildings totalling 110,000 sq ft, which will be completed by late 2017.
Planning permission for the new buildings was approved by Vale of White Horse District Council through the Milton Park Local Development Order. This enables development on the park to be fast-tracked to meet the urgent needs of occupiers who are thriving in the strong Oxfordshire business community as identified in the recent Oxford Innovation Engine report.
MEPC has been managing and developing the park for over 30 years on behalf of Hermes Investment Management, the £26 billion manager focused on delivering superior, sustainable, risk adjusted returns to its clients – responsibly. This will be the largest ever speculative development of its kind at Milton Park. The scheme at Park Drive East has been designed and specified with a high level of flexibility to appeal to science and technology companies who embark on research and development activities. The already impressive occupier mix at Milton Park includes world-leading biotechnology companies Adaptimmune and Immunocore.
This new £25 million investment follows hot on the heels of 168,000 sq ft of pre-let development at Milton Park in four buildings, two of which are now occupied by DC Payments and Crowcon and two that are due to be completed later this year. MEPC’s previous speculative development at Milton Park was 101 & 102 Park Drive.
Located in the heart of the Science Vale UK Enterprise Zone, Milton Park is one of Europe’s largest and most successful integrated business, science and technology parks under single-ownership. It is now home to over 9,000 people and 250 organisations.
James Dipple, CEO at MEPC, said: “MEPC is confident that the economic drivers for this region are strong despite some uncertainty post-referendum and this scheme will let very well due to the acute shortage of the right type of floor space in Oxfordshire to cater for innovative businesses to grow. The project creates opportunity for new companies to join the Milton Park community, help satisfy requirements from within the existing customer base and reinforce the premier position as the destination of choice for science and technology businesses within the region.”
Chris Taylor, Head of Private Markets at Hermes Investment Management, said: “With global capital increasingly gravitating towards talent, our investment in the ongoing regeneration of Milton Park illustrates the way in which the themes associated with urbanisation, globalisation, technology and sustainability combine to drive occupational demand to the region. Milton Park is firmly established as an anchor destination for life sciences due to its close links to nearby Oxford University and its Life Science Division, which ranks first globally. Last week, Oxford University was also ranked number one in The Times Higher Education World University Rankings.”
Businesses taking space in the new scheme will be able to apply for Enterprise Zone business rates discounts of up to £275,000.