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4,500 jobs boost for Derby

4,500 jobs boost for Derby

A huge new inward investment, creating 4,500 jobs, has been announced today.

The £300m SmartParc - a 140-acre campus on the former Celanese site - will combine world-class food production facilities with shared utilities, amenities and services to provide a highly sustainable production base for food manufacturers.

The announcement has been hailed by city leaders as a “massive boost” to Derby’s post-Covid recovery plan.

SmartParc chief executive, Jackie Wild said the project will “put the city and the UK at the heart of the future of sustainable food manufacturing globally”.

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“We are delighted to receive Government backing for our ambition and look forward to working with Derby City Council, local universities, businesses and communities to share our vision”.

Chris Poulter, leader of Bondholder Derby City Council, said SmartParc and the Government’s £12m funding commitment, was a huge vote of confidence in the city’s economic recovery strategy.

“Throughout the past four months we have been doing all we can to support existing businesses but also looking at opportunities for the future - to diversify our economy, to improve our environmental credentials and to make Derby a brilliant place to live and work. Today’s announcement is a massive boost for those plans and we look forward to working with our partners to deliver these fantastic new projects.”

Other Bondholders involved behind the scenes have included the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, the University of Derby and Rigby & Co. Marketing Derby has been working with SmartParc for the past 2 years to help bring the investment into the local area and Derby City Council has been working intensively to land the deal. Derby’s local MPs have been actively engaged in supporting the case to Government.

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David Williams, Interim Chair of the D2N2 LEP, praises the partnership: "D2N2 has been impressed with the speed at which local partners have built a strong business case for the LEP to take to Government. We are delighted to see SmartParc being taken forward as this will have benefit for the whole region.”

SmartParc’s revolutionary approach will bring food producers together to cluster knowledge and investment – reducing food waste, lowering carbon outputs and increasing UK food security.

CEO Jackie Wild added: “The planned SmartParc campus will combine world-class food production facilities with shared utilities, amenities and services to provide a highly sustainable, low-cost production base for food manufacturers and new ways to reach end customers while reducing food miles and food waste.

“It will also act as a community hub, with a new food innovation centre and skills facility and planned partnerships with local charities, schools and universities to reconnect people with the food they eat”.

The campus will include a shared energy plant, designed to reduce energy consumption by 30 per cent, and will harness the latest technology to improve production and efficiency, lowering costs by 20 per cent.

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It will embrace the latest scientific developments, such as vertical farming – where crops are grown indoors in stacked layers, mitigating the vagaries of the weather and eliminating the need for pesticides.

A central distribution facility will allow manufacturers to consolidate both raw materials and finished goods, improving efficiency and lowering food miles.

As well as creating up to 4,500 direct jobs, the project will generate further employment in the supply chain and throughout the local region.

Work will start in the first quarter of 2021 and a planned opening, with initial occupancy, will take place later that year. Full project realisation is expected by 2024.

The initiative forms part of a recovery strategy to help reboot Derby’s economy after the coronavirus crisis. It is built on three key pillars – maintaining confidence, diversification and decarbonisation – and was described as “inspiring” by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, when he visited the city last month before confirming the support today.

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