Published: 09 February 2024
From: Business and economy
The start of the main construction of the state-of-the-art Crawley Innovation Centre has been marked with a golden hammer ceremony.
The £13.15 million project – at the former TUI Travel House off Fleming Way in Manor Royal – has begun in earnest and is expected to be open in October.
The ceremony was attended by representatives from Crawley Borough Council, Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Manor Royal Business Improvement District and Morgan Sindall. Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Crawley Borough Council, had the pleasure of knocking down a wall.
The Crawley Innovation Centre will bring a much-needed economic, innovation and technological boost to the town, supporting greener and cleaner energy while bringing together ideas from high-tech small business tenants and larger organisations to foster an environment for new business.
It will be a major asset to support Crawley’s existing advanced engineering businesses and to enable growth in new and emerging business sectors such as clean energy and quantum technologies. It will provide vital “grow-on” space which will enable hi-tech small businesses to “scale up”, prototype and demonstrate new technologies in clean energy, quantum tech and transportation tech.
The centre will help boost innovation and research and development output in the region as well as unlock manufacturing jobs and attract business investment. It will also attract new high-value jobs and business investment to boost Crawley’s recovery and the Gatwick Diamond.
The centre will actively engage with Crawley College and the Universities of Brighton, Chichester and Sussex on opportunities for tech apprenticeships and skills, SME research and development and business support, and for the centre to accommodate hi-tech academic “spin out” enterprises.
The aim is for the centre to help create more than 200 new jobs and benefit directly up to 40 businesses. In the longer term, the aim is to help attract significant new manufacturing business investment into Crawley, including at new industrial space in Manor Royal.
Morgan Sindall has been appointed by Crawley Borough Council to carry out the major refurbishment works.
The project is closely aligned to the LEP’s plan to “Build Back Smarter, Stronger and Greener” and it approved the council’s £8.4 million bid – from the government’s Getting Building Fund – to enable the centre’s design, build and launch.
The council, working with partners from the Crawley Town Deal Board, was also successful in securing £2.5 million of government funding from the Crawley Towns Fund programme.
It was great to see work start and help – albeit minimally – with the conversion of the building into a state-of-the-art facility. I can’t wait to see the progress over the coming months.
Councillor Michael Jones
Crawley Borough Council
Coast to Capital has been delighted to support such a significant project that will deliver growth of innovation-led businesses in Crawley. Crawley Borough Council is to be commended for the investment it has made in creating what will be a hugely important facility creating new jobs and products.
Coast to Capital LEP
We are really pleased to be working with Crawley Borough Council for the first time as they set upon their ambitious plans to grow the town’s economy. Crawley Innovation Centre is set to play a pivotal role in this – not just in the immediate future through jobs and impact to the supply chain – but the legacy this state-of-the-art, sustainable centre will leave for the town.
Morgan Sindall Construction Southern Home Counties