New lettings confirm growth of Oxfordshire technology belt

The innovation and technology centre, Harwell Campus, announced record levels of commercial lettings as the Oxford-Cambridge ‘brain belt’ continues to develop.

Aerial photo of Harwell
Oxfordshire continued it's development as the UK’s centre of innovation and technology in 2017 as Harwell Campus a centre for science, innovation and technology businesses, announced it let 160,000 sq ft of new speculative Grade A space, which equals 40 per cent of the total Oxford region.

Attraction for technology companies

This is the largest combined commercial take-up and development of new space ever seen in Oxfordshire. Of those lettings 83 per cent went to innovative tech companies working across the Space, Life Sciences and Energy sectors with half expanding on, and half locating to, Harwell.Increasing numbers of lettings to lab and high-tech manufacturing companies, such as GMV, AgSpace, Mirion, Keit Ltd, SMS Environmental and Longwall Ventures only adds to the growing Oxford-Cambridge ‘brain belt’.At the end of 2017 the National Infrastructure Commission proposed a ‘brain-belt expressway’. It is hoped the rail link will encourage further investment and development in the region to grow the areas knowledge-based economy.
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The current attraction for innovative tech companies lies in being co-located with £2billion of national labs and open access facilities, on-Campus investment and funding opportunities, and a range of leases for companies of all growth phases from start-ups to multinationals.Year on year growth is set to continue and the Harwell Campus Partnership is close to using up the 400,000 sq ft granted in 2013, whilst simultaneously preparing to submit the next application of 750,000 sq ft of commercial accommodation in the first half of 2018. With a total of 5.5million sq ft of planned development and 1.5million sq ft to be developed by 2025, Harwell Campus is set to be the largest rejuvenation and commercial property growth project ever seen in Oxfordshire. 

Home of innovation in the UK

Announcing the findings William Cooper, partner, Harwell Oxford Partners commented, “In 2017 we de-risked the largest speculative development in Oxfordshire, attracting more innovative companies than any other site in this region. “Our successful growth is down to our disruptive approach to commercial property development, introducing ‘Science Warehousing’ to the UK, with the intention of making the UK fit for Industry needs if we are to grow as a high-tech industrial economy.”Commenting on why they chose to expand on Campus, Dan Wood, CEO, Keit Ltd said, “The benefits of being at Harwell for a start-up tech company are significant.“We have access to world-class testing facilities and experts in a uniquely collaborative environment. On a practical level, the flexibility of leases allows small companies to focus on developing technology and their business, without losing time on administrative tasks."This support network and environment has enabled us to successfully grow our company from concept to global commercialisation.”
Relocate Magazine Winter 2017 front cover
Read more about the future of UK business in the Winter issue of our magazine.
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