Space Park Leicester to benefit from new funding announcement

Space Park Leicester will receive £50,000 funding and form part of the new and innovative East Midlands Manufacturing Zones

Space Park Leicester, together with three other projects, will benefit from a total of £500,000 funding to develop their plans.

The projects will form the new and innovative East Midlands Manufacturing Zones, which aim to reduce planning restrictions to allow land to be used more productively and provide certainty for business investment.

The University of Leicester will receive £50,000 to support the design of the Low-Cost Access to Space facility at Space Park Leicester, to ensure it is attractive and accessible to space-focused manufacturers in the area and meets their business needs.

Space Park Leicester is an initiative to create a global hub and collaborative community for businesses, researchers and academia based on space and space-enabled technologies.

Professor Iain Gillespie, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Leicester, said: “We are really pleased to have secured Manufacturing Zone status, which will enable Leicester to build on 50-plus years of space engineering expertise to develop a leading advanced space-manufacturing cluster for the growth of regional and national space businesses.

“We look forward to collaboratively planning, designing and delivering the space manufacturing facilities.”

The proposal for creating an East Midlands Manufacturing Zone pilot was first set out in the 2017 Autumn Budget.

Following a funding call from the Midlands Engine to put forward proposals for Manufacturing Zones, the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) responded and successfully secured funding to bring forward the Space Park Leicester site and develop its plans.

In addition, the LLEP is supporting the development of Space Park Leicester with a further £12.88m from the Local Growth Fund, to transform the former brownfield site opposite the National Space Centre.

The East Midlands Manufacturing Zones announcement comes as the Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, also the Government’s Midlands Engine Champion, visits organisations including the National Space Centre and the site for Space Park Leicester today to hear how they are contributing to a thriving region at the heart of the UK’s economic success.

The Rt Hon James Brokenshire said: “Manufacturing, innovation and trade are at the heart of the East Midlands economy, so it is the perfect place for the UK’s first Manufacturing Zones.

“This is another example of how the Government is delivering for the Midlands with our modern industrial strategy, backing local businesses and building on local strengths.”