Planning permission granted for Phase 1 of Space Park Leicester

A new purpose built Space Park in Leicester has just received planning permission approval for the first phase of construction. The £100 million Park will create a world leading hub for space and space-enabled industries to flourish.

Space Park Leicester will be home to some of the UK’s leading space research, businesses and world renowned academics. It will create a highly collaborative commercial and academic community, and will have flexible state of the art accommodation to cater for established multi-national businesses right through to the smallest start-up company. It is anticipated that Space Park Leicester will create more than 2,500 high-value jobs.

The first phase is predominantly focussed on Earth Observation, including relocating the famous National Centre for Earth Observation, run by University of Leicester. There will also be new first-class teaching and laboratory facilities and some business hosting - allowing industry partners to collaborate and innovate with University researchers. 

Space Park Leicester will develop and work with key future sectors that use space data or technology, such as international communications, resource management, environmental monitoring and disaster relief.

Located on the former John Ellis site in Leicester within the Loughborough and Leicester Science and Innovation Enterprise Zone, it is in the heart of the country and can be accessed via all major road networks. Both the East Midlands Airport and Birmingham International are in easy reach. The location of the new flagship regional facility ensures it will be a critical component of the UK’s National Space infrastructure. 

Construction at the John Ellis site is expected to start in the autumn and will be completed by late 2020. The development will be delivered by the University of Leicester, working closely with Leicester City Council, the National Space Centre and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).  A £8.175m grant from the Local Growth Fund was allocated by the LLEP to support the development of the site. There has also been a £1.5m contribution from the Natural Environment Research Council. 

Professor Edmund Burke, Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester said: “Securing planning permission for the new development confirms Leicester’s international reputation in the space sector. The new development is quite literally the building blocks to creating a leading ’Space City’, which will create jobs and help to drive the UK space economy. 

“The UK Space sector has huge potential for growth, with a current value of £14.2bn and productivity three times the national average. Anyone interested in working in the world of space will be able to do so from this world-leading hub for research and commercialisation.”

This pioneering project will support and be pivotal to the Government’s Industrial strategy to capture a significant share of the £400 billion global space market. 

Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry, said: “We’re committed to boosting economic growth across the Midlands Engine and the whole of the UK and building a Britain fit for the future.

“This £8.175m investment from the Local Growth Fund will drive forward the development of Space Park Leicester as a world leader in the multi-billion pound global space market which, when completed, will create an estimated 2,500 jobs. This transformational project will build on the city’s expertise in space technology to develop new state-of-the-art facilities for innovation, Research and Development, education and training.”

Sir Peter Soulsby, City Mayor for Leicester, said: “Leicester has long been at the vanguard of space research and Space Park Leicester will be a major asset locally and nationally - it provides a huge opportunity to make Leicester the UK capital of space-related research, innovation and skills development.

“I am delighted that the first phase of the project has got the go-ahead. By working closely with the University of Leicester, the LLEP and the National Space Centre, we can create high value jobs, attract investment and enhance research. 

“Space Park Leicester is a launch-pad for success providing huge potential to contribute to future economic growth, fostering and retaining talent and confirming our credentials as Space City Leicester.”