The most recent investment at Alderley Park was into Colibri Scientific

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), which is delivered by British Business Bank has invested a total of £2.5m into businesses based at Alderley Park, Cheshire, the UK’s largest single site life science campus.

The £2.5m invested into businesses at Alderley Park forms part of NPIF’s £10m milestone that was recently achieved in the Cheshire and Warrington region.

Alderley Park offers bioscience facilities for life science companies at every stage and is home to over 200 businesses. It includes a range of workspaces, events and a community that encourages businesses to collaborate, innovate and grow.

The milestone includes a £150,000 loan to Aptus Clincal from NPIF – FW – FW Capital Debt Finance which the company received in 2018.. Aptus Clinical specialises in clinical contact research, enabling it to transform promising molecules into valued medicines. The loan was used to support its growth, allowing additional investment in infrastructure and capabilities to better serve the needs of the growing client base. The firm also relocated to a larger office within Alderley Park in 2018 as part of its expansion plans and hired more senior staff members.

Also based at the site and supported by FW Capital, Alderley Analytical received two separate investments of £300,000 in 2018 and 2019 to fund the purchase of two mass spectrometers. The bioanalytical service supports drug development programmes with a mission to support the rapid development of new drugs.

Most recently, Colibri Scientific received an £80,000 loan delivered by NPIF – BFS and MSIF Microfinance. Colibri Scientific is a clinical trials service, providing personalised and operational samples to clinical investigators, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies running small to medium scale multi-centre studies. The firm plans to use the loan to bolster headcount and expand the business by developing a laboratory information portal.

NPIF was established in 2017 with the aim to deliver a range of funding options to ambitious and high-growth SMEs to aid expansion and create economic prosperity in the North of England. Cheshire is one of the funds’ 10 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas in which NPIF has made an impact by helping businesses seeking investment to accelerate their growth. The Fund offers a range of finance options including micro-finance, debt finance and equity finance, with investments ranging in size from £25,000 to £2m.

Grant Peggie, Director of the British Business Bank, said:It is great to see the huge investment being made into Alderley Park which highlights the sheer amount of innovation that is taking place across the region. Reaching this £2.5m milestone at Alderley Park is really important for NPIF in showing the investment taking place across the Northern Powerhouse in science and new technologies.”

Christine Gaskell CBE DL, Chair of Cheshire and Warrington LEP said:This milestone shows how much NPIF is helping to drive forward economic growth in Cheshire and Warrington and supporting the ever-developing cluster of innovative science and technology businesses at Alderley Park. We are delighted that the fund is making investments in to businesses that are developing the latest in medical, scientific and biotech industries thus furthering our reputation as a centre for innovation.”

Dr Kath Mackay, Managing Director of Alderley Park, said:Access to funding is a hugely important issue and our ecosystem of innovative, ambitious businesses at Alderley Park has been well supported by the NPIF, as this milestone demonstrates. Growing the science and technology sector is central to the future of UK Plc and Alderley Park is major element in a wider picture of the North West’s flourishing knowledge-based economy .”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

Find out more about NPIF here

Helix Business Park in vogue with latest deal

Gaerwen Properties has secured another letting for its second phase of Helix Business Park at Newbridge Road, Ellesmere Port, which completed in October. Helix Business Park forms part of the Cheshire Science Corridor which is supported by the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership.

Big Style Fashions has taken unit 8 extending to 15,750 sq ft for a new fulfilment centre for its rapidly expanding online fashion business. The announcement follows hot on the heels of the letting of unit 7 (12,000 sq ft) to BePlas. The final unit of 12,000 sq ft is also understood to be under offer.

Helix comprises 92,000 sq ft of new build manufacturing units situated close to J10 of the M53. The first phase of 52,000 sq ft was let at practical completion to Cook Compression and Thyson Technologies.

Stephen Wade, director at Legat Owen, sole agent for the scheme commented: “Helix meets the needs of the market providing high quality, small to mid-range units in the Ellesmere Port area. The scheme benefits from being situated in the Cheshire Science Corridor which offers qualifying occupiers generous rates incentives. We are pleased to have let over 80,000 sq ft so quickly after practical completion. The success to date is testimony to the commitment to spec build and the support provided by the Cheshire and Warrington LEP.”

Director of Big Style Fashion, Darrell Freeman, continued: “Being based at Helix will allow us to continue to grow our business in line with our strategic business plan. The quality of the development and the proximity of the scheme to the surrounding motorway network mean that we are now well placed for 2020 and beyond.”

North West hydrogen cluster could drive economic growth

  • A new report – commissioned by Peel Environmental – reveals developing a hydrogen economy in the North West could unlock £1.6billion of GVA by 2050 and create over 2,300 peak jobs
  • Carbon dioxide reductions of up to 10 million tonnes per annum by 2050
  • Air quality improvements for Greater Manchester and Liverpool city regions would result from the use of hydrogen as a road transport fuel decreasing emissions of NOx and particulates

The creation of a North West hydrogen cluster could boost the regional economy by £1.6 billion, create over 2,300 peak jobs, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and help improve the region’s air quality, according to a new report commissioned by Peel.

It outlines how delivery of a hydrogen network between Greater Manchester and Liverpool could significantly de-carbonise the region’s energy, usher in a new era of hydrogen-fueled vehicles and cut CO2 emissions by 10 million tonnes per year by 2050. It could also improve air quality by reducing particulate matter and nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere, produced by the region’s road vehicles.

As one of the North’s leading land and property companies, Peel is collaborating with other firms in progression of the exemplar project – with the company’s Protos energy destination near Ellesmere Port a potential central hub for the cluster. It comes shortly after the launch of the UK’s first Energy Innovation District in the North West, an area promoted by the Cheshire Energy Hub to stimulate future energy technology.

Release of the report follows details of a conceptual study by Cadent, the gas distribution network operator in the North West, to deliver a major hydrogen infrastructure project called the ‘Liverpool-Manchester Hydrogen Cluster’.

Commenting on its findings Dr. Tony Smith, of Peel Environmental, said:

“The creation of a hydrogen economy would be game-changer for the North West in so many ways. From de-carbonising our energy and contributing to climate change targets, to making substantial improvements to the region’s air quality, delivering a fully-functioning hydrogen industry would be transformational.

“This report shows there is real opportunity to attract inward investment, create thousands of jobs and put the North West at the forefront of the UK’s hydrogen industry.

“Making it a reality will take collaboration. We’re working alongside some of the biggest names in the energy-intensive industries to promote an exemplar and deliverable hydrogen project, which responds directly to the Government’s recently-published Clean Growth Strategy.”

Hydrogen is a de-carbonised energy source which can be used to create electricity and heat. When used as a replacement for fossil fuels in road vehicles, its only emission is water. There is also the potential to blend hydrogen into the existing gas distribution network to reduce carbon emissions at the point of consumption. Such combined application of hydrogen across the North could therefore reduce carbon dioxide emissions and help improve health and air quality.

Peel’s report, authored by independent experts Aqua Consultants, sets out how use of hydrogen could contribute to the targets identified in the 2008 Climate Change Act. It also outlines how a North West hydrogen production hub in the North West, including Carbon Capture Storage and Utilisation facilities in the East Irish Sea, could feed large industrial users in the region. It could support a network of hydrogen vehicle re-fueling stations across Liverpool, Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington.

Supporting the concept, Professor Joe Howe, Executive Director and Professor of the University of Chester’s Thornton Energy Research Institute said:

“Low carbon energy technology is very much at the forefront of the work undertaken by both academics and businesses at the University of Chester’s Thornton Science Park, especially through our newly established Energy Centre.

“This report represents another positive step in the region’s growing reputation for both research and commercialisation of these innovative technologies. It provides a strong, economically robust case, based on real evidence, for the use of hydrogen and its associated supply chain as a credible route to a low carbon gas economy. Furthermore it contributes to the emerging understanding of the potential for a Liverpool-Manchester hydrogen cluster.

“I welcome the report’s focus on air quality and decreasing transport emissions in our North West city regions and I see the additional potential for innovation, skills, and supply chain development as extremely exciting both for the University and the regional economy as a whole”

Chris Barron, Director at Aqua Consultants, authors of the report, said:

“De-carbonising heat and transport are recognised as the biggest challenges in achieving the UK’s 2050 emissions reduction targets. Repurposing all or parts of the existing gas networks to hydrogen would meet the peaks in demand required for heat, whilst providing an option for the energy infrastructure required to displace petrol and diesel in road transport.”

Cheshire Science Corridor – The North’s science and technology powerhouse – to be the focus of seminar at world’s biggest property showcase

Cheshire’s Science Corridor – the most internationally significant cluster of commercial science and technology assets North of Oxford – will be the focus of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership’s opening event at the world’s premier investment conference today.
The event, the first in a series of events and activity taking place at MIPIM (Marche International de Professonels d’Immobilier) in Cannes to promote the area’s investment opportunities, was supported by law firm Addleshaw Goddard, one of over 20 partners supporting Cheshire and Warrington’s delegation.
It showcased the strengths and investment opportunities of the Science Corridor, which stretches from sites in Ellesmere Port and Thornton Science Park, part of the University of Chester and a rapidly developing centre for R&D in energy technologies, to Birchwood Park in Warrington where most of the UK’s nuclear engineering is done, to Alderley Park in Cheshire East, a major centre for life sciences. It also includes the internationally recognised Jodrell Bank and the newly launched Protos, Peel Environmental’s £170 million energy and innovation hub acdjacent to Thornton Science Park.
Following the launch of the Cheshire Science Corridor Enterprise Zone in April 2016 which covers a number of sites within the Science Corridor, the area is home to over 100 hectares of development and investment opportunities with the potential to attract over 20,000 job and 500 businesses.
In under a year, the EZ has already created 330 new jobs, 20 new businesses and attracted over £1 million of private sector investment.
Led by Cheshire and Warrington LEP Chief Executive Philip Cox, the event featured a panel discussion focussed on the significance of science and innovation in Cheshire and Warrington with representatives including: Thomas Renn, Manchester Science Partnerships, Victoria Martin, The Peel Group, Mike O’Connor, Addleshaw Goddard, John Adlen, Growth Director at Cheshire and Warrington LEP, and Henry Brooks, Managing Director of Tatton Estate Management.
Philip Cox, Chief Executive of Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: “Cheshire’s Science Corridor is home to world class assets, and our aim is to put the area on the map, which together with Liverpool Knowledge Quarter and the Oxford Road Corridor in Manchester could form a new Golden Triangle for North.
“The Cheshire and Warrington economy continues to go from strength to strength – we have the second highest income per head of any sub-region in England outside London – making us one of the country’s most successful economies. The Cheshire Science Corridor is one our most exciting and significant growth propositions, and this event was valuable opportunity to demonstrate to an international audience the scale of opportunity that we have to offer.”

Henry Brooks, executive director of the Tatton Estate said: “The enterprise zone status recognises the fantastic range of existing employment assets the Cheshire Science Corridor offers. New supporting development will help the UK and the Northern Powerhouse capture inward investment, nurture our home grown, scientists of the next decade and take advantage of the incredible quality of life we can offer the science sectors.
“Great places to live and visit as well as work are key, and our Tatton Garden Villages in Knutsford, rural schemes like Millington and short let portfolio Tatton Stays are all a response to support the LEP and government agendas.”
Cheshire and Warrington’s full event schedule for MIPIM is available at –
Find out more about the Cheshire Science Corridor Enterprise Zone at

Construction completes at university energy centre

Willmott Dixon has finished work on the University of Chester’s Intelligent Energy System Demonstrator project, now known as the Energy Centre, at Thornton Science Park.

The project was a part new-build and part-refurbishment of an existing building on the site.

Designed by Ryder Architecture and engineer Arup, the building provides a specialist location for energy companies working to test and develop technologies such as photovoltaic solar cells, electrical energy storage solutions, and new thermal heating systems.

The Energy Centre was funded by the Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, which contributed £6.8m from the Local Growth Fund, awarded as part of the LEP’s Growth Deal.

The facility is spread across three floors and includes offices, 7m-high industrial test bays, and an extensive suite of equipment to support energy testing.

PowerHouse Energy Group has entered into a Heads of Terms agreement with the University, to become the first commercial tenant of the Energy Centre, researching gasification.

The facility will open later this year.

Prof Joe Howe, executive director and professor of the Thornton Energy Research Institute, said: “The Energy Centre will promote growth and acceleration in the development and exploitation of technologies for the energy market and is a flagship innovation project of the Cheshire Science Corridor Enterprise Zone, of which Thornton is a designated site. This project forms part of a wider energy focus for Thornton Science Park, and indeed the region, ensuring the site is ideally placed to anticipate and fulfil the needs of the Government’s recently announced Industrial Strategy.”

PROTOS is open for business

Invited guests and partners joined Andrew Percy MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, to formally cut the ribbon at the 134-acre strategic development site near Ellesmere Port.
The launch of Protos coincides with renewed vigour in Northern Powerhouse investment and the launch of the Government’s green paper on Building our Industrial Strategy.

With £170 million already committed, further £500 million investment planned
to begin this year and long-term potential to bring £1.5 billion to the region, Protos is driving international interest in the surrounding industrial heartland.
We’d like to thank all those that joined
us for the celebration.