Director Bruce Calton recently participated in the Future Cities Forum panel discussion about Science Cities, alongside Barts Life Sciences, HOK, Deloitte, David Lock Associates and Stevenage Borough Council.
Together, the panel of experts discussed campus design developments that continue to make the UK attractive for international life sciences investment, including the Scott Brownrigg-designed masterplans for Harwell and Harlow Science Parks. Here’s an overview of some key discussion points:
How are facilities at science parks - not just in the supporting town/city - being improved to make sure they attract the best talent to work at them?
Scott Brownrigg has been working on the masterplanning of Harlow Science Park. Bruce stated that the suburban science park puts health and wellbeing at its heart:
'Post pandemic it is important to attract people to work at the park and you need attractions such as health and wellbeing facilities. You have got to offer more than buildings. I have been working on masterplanning the site which was a former sports field. If you are working in the innovation space, as an employee you need to get out of the office at lunchtime, be able to jog from the doorstep of the office but also have all the other facilities on hand such as cafes, creche and gyms. It is vital to support employees.'
Scott Brownrigg created the setting for Harlow Science Park with the goal of meeting the needs of the ICT, Advanced Manufacturing and Life Science sectors. Taking an existing enterprise zone, they were tasked with reinterpreting the site for vibrant business activity, amenities and connections to the landscape, town centre and surrounding housing, while serving the London Cambridge corridor economy.
Bruce explained the value of the park's location:
'The park sits on the London to Cambridge corridor, and it is hitting a different price point for people to afford to live and work there. Harlow Science Park is trying to provide a service to those other cities and has strong links to the airport at Stansted. However, it is still the case that there is a struggle to get people out of Cambridge, to persuade a business to relocate, except for the price point. There are currently no new office spaces in Cambridge but Harlow has 20 plots available right now. The Harlow planning team is very progressive and can achieve consented building status in 28 days.'
Created alongside Newhall, a major residential development, the Science Park connects with new bus routes and a new primary link road. A teardrop shaped central heart provides social infrastructure supporting new businesses. 649,000 square feet of flexible space is master planned across 24 separate plots, arranged in a collegiate cluster of vital employment space.
Flexibility is key and the masterplan accommodates a range of business scales. This includes the Scott Brownrigg-designed Anglia Ruskin University Medtech Innovation Centre that opened in 2020, and advanced manufacturing plots such as Modus, together with flexible office space. The multi-let office building ‘Nexus’, also designed by Scott Brownrigg and which completed in 2020, sits within the park, close to a new sculpture by Nick Hornby – the 100th major sculpture for the town.
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