THE first plot at the Okehampton East Business Park has been sold to the Okehampton Skills and Sports Trust, Devon County Council has announced.
The 20 acre employment site, which is located to the east of the town, has been developed with a £2-million investment by the county council and will be the main employment growth area for the town over the next five years, with the potential to support over 300 jobs.
The Okehampton Skills and Sports Trust aims to further training and employment opportunities in the area, particularly for young people, developing a business incubation centre at the Okehampton East Business Park as its flagship project.
Although plans are still being finalised, its vision is to develop 50 flexible workspace units, providing hands-on support, to help make fledging businesses a success.
The centre could support as many as 150 jobs within the first three to five years.
Councillor Stuart Barker, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for economy and skills, said: ‘The county council has previously made a significant investment to support the strength and resilience of Okehampton’s economy and it is now starting to come to fruition.
‘The Okehampton Skills and Sports Trust proposal is a great first development to have on the site and I wish them well with turning their vision into reality over the coming months and years.
‘This is an ambitious scheme which has the potential to support a significant number of jobs in the area, and in particular to promote employment opportunities for young people. It will be the start of other developments we are working hard on to bring to this site to secure more employment opportunities in Okehampton.’
Councillor Kevin Ball, member for Okehampton Rural, said: ‘This business park is a priority scheme for the community of Okehampton and surrounding rural area. There has been a lot of hard work behind the scenes and it’s exciting now that the county council can announce this first sale.
‘The proposed enterprise centre will build on the success of Opportunity Okehampton and provide much needed space and support for local entrepreneurs and fledging businesses in the area.’
Ian Courtney MBE, of the Okehampton Skills and Sports Trust, said: ‘We are excited that our business incubation project is about to come to life. This is one of the trust’s two keynote projects and will be a combined effort by Okehampton people and organisations to boost opportunity for entrepreneurs in the area.
‘We will be offering high quality, attractive industrial units and office spaces for rent, lease and even some for sale. All will become part of a mutually supportive and sustainable business community - this centre will be genuinely different to anything in the South West.
‘We will be announcing more details as we go through planning and construction and will be delighted to meet anyone interested in talking to us, either about acquiring a unit (or units), about our support and mentoring options or about getting involved as a business mentor.
‘As soon as we have planning approval we will book a regular meeting space at the adjacent Business Information Centre. This will enable any interested parties to have informal discussions on all aspects of our project. Our provisional timetable is for units to be available from mid 2018.’
Plans and talks are progressing on four other plots on the site and two plots will be advertised shortly.
The business park received additional funding support from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs under the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership’s Rural Growth Network pilot.
All plots are being sold freehold with each purchaser securing their own detailed planning consent within the plots.
For an early, informal discussion and to register interest, please contact Diane Rider at NPS SW Ltd on 01392 351209 or Diane.Rider@nps.co.uk
The Okehampton Skills and Sports Trust is keen to register advance interest in its space, and any enquiries should be directed to email@example.com