Last-dash EU cash bid for new firms hub in Harborough

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An against-the-clock bid has been made for EU cash for an ‘Innovation Centre Mark II’ in Market Harborough, that could employ 200 people.

Harborough District Council is hoping to build the £6.5 million centre for successful businesses that have outgrown the current Innovation Centre, which is off the B6047 north of the town.

Half of the money for the new facility, called the ‘Move On Space’ could come from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

It’s a last chance to get money from the European Fund, before the UK pulls out of the European Union.

The 25,000 square foot centre would be built on land at Airfield Farm, not far from the current Innovation Centre.

A council report to Monday night’s council meeting said: “There is clear need for Move On office space within the Harborough district.”

Cllr Phil King told the meeting the council would borrow £3.28 million to help build the centre – by spring 2018.

By year three, the centre could employ 180 people and be generating £21 million worth of goods and services.

Cllr King told the meeting the centre should break even by its fourth year.

The Move On Space would provide up to a dozen different size offices for firms that had outgrown the Innovation Centre.

“Businesses are being successful in the Innovation Centre, but some of them are then looking at moving outside the district” he said. “That’s why there’s a need for this Move On Space.”

It is a last chance to benefit from European grants. In line with the UK in general, the Harborough constituency voted to leave the EU.