A “transformational” industrial development at a strategic site in the East Midlands is expected to pick up speed after the completion of a major road which opens up access for business.
Harrier Park at Hucknall is expected to support up to 1500 new jobs and attract a new generation of businesses on a site which extends to 70 acres.
A long-term project led by Muse Developments, it will see up to 90,000 square metres of employment space and hundreds of new homes built on surplus land alongside the Rolls-Royce Aerospace supply chain plant off Watnall Road.
Whilst residential development is already underway, large-scale industrial development hinges on new roads which will enable vehicle access to and from the site on to the Hucknall by-pass through a new access road which has been jointly funded by a £7m investment by Nottinghamshire County Council and Rolls-Royce.
Councillor Kay Cutts, the Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, was among those present at the formal opening of the new road which leads into the site from the junction. She said that accelerating the growth of the county economy by supporting new development was a top priority.
“This is an important milestone for a development that has the potential to make a real difference to the Nottinghamshire economy and we have been delighted to play a significant part in its progress,” she commented
“We want to support not only world-leading businesses like Rolls-Royce but also provide opportunities for other businesses in the county to expand and for companies from outside the area to enjoy the benefits which come from investing in Nottinghamshire.”
David Hughes, the Council’s newly-appointed Director for Growth and Investment, added: “We need to create new opportunities for our people and show that Nottinghamshire is a great place to invest in and do business. The progress being made at Harrier Park is a clear demonstration of that.”
Rolls-Royce, which is working with Muse on the development of the site, also marked the occasion by opening the new entrance to the Rolls-Royce Hucknall facility, where around 850 employees are based.
The Hucknall facility manufacturers components for a number of aero engines, including the Trent XWB, which is the world’s most efficient large civil aero engine. Rolls-Royce has invested more than £40m in support of the Hucknall site over the last three years.
Rolls-Royce property manager Robert Orgill said: “The opening of the new road is another important step in our development plans for the site and we look forward to working with Muse Developments in progressing plans for the new homes, community facilities and business park.”
Muse Developments now says that it in advanced discussions with the first potential tenant on the site, which is believed to be an expanding manufacturing business.
Dan Needham, Development Director at Muse Developments, said: “We have been talking to potential occupiers for some time, all of them excited by the prospect of being on a site which is very close to the national route network and anchored by one of the most prestigious names in British business.
“There is a solid base of manufacturing and distribution skills round here and we know from the conversations we have had with potential occupiers that access to good people is an important factor in where they decide to locate.
“This is a long-term commitment by Muse Developments and we’re delighted to be working alongside partners of the calibre of Rolls-Royce, Nottinghamshire County Council and Ashfield District Council. We expect to be making announcements about occupiers in the coming weeks.”
The space for business and industrial development on Harrier Park extends to 70 acres, with units from 40,000 to 500,000 sq ft available.
While it is expected that Harrier Park will take up to 15 years to complete, £12m has already been invested in developing the site infrastructure, including £1m for open spaces such as bridleways and play areas to support the housing development.
Harrier Park is a partnership between site owner Rolls-Royce, Nottinghamshire County Council, Ashfield District Council, and Muse Developments, which has a track record of delivering high-profile mixed use and regeneration projects across the UK.
Harrier Park is the historic site of RAF Hucknall, which witnessed the development of a number of pioneering aviation projects during the 20th century.
It takes its name from the world-famous Harrier jump jet, a ground-breaking vertical take-off military aircraft whose early development took place at the site and involved the design of revolutionary engine technology by Rolls-Royce.
Originally a Royal Flying Corps base, Hucknall Aerodrome was later shared between the RAF and Rolls-Royce, which carried out development of the Merlin and Griffon engines which powered the legendary Spitfire fighter during the Second World War.
While engine development and test flights no longer take place at Hucknall, the site remains home to part of Rolls-Royce’s aerospace supply chain, a key part of its global aerospace and power technologies activities, which employs around 800 people.