Thornton Science Park
Thornton Science Park is a major research and innovation hub. Formerly the Shell Technology Centre, it offers a unique blend of industry, innovation and academia being home to the University of Chester’s new Faculty of Science and Engineering, the Local Growth Fund-supported Smart Grid Demonstrator project and the recently announced Energy Security and Innovation Observing System for the Subsurface (ESIOS), which will be established in 2016.
The park is a centre of excellence for energy systems and also provides on-site business support for the energy sector, targeting commercialisation and internationalisation. Areas of expertise include: energy storage; energy networks; asset management and unconventional gas extraction. Thornton is also a spoke for the National College for Onshore Oil and Gas. The University is actively marketing the site and has a significant number of live enquiries as the reputation and facilities of the site become more widely known. The availability of Enhanced Capital Allowances as part of the EZ could help to quickly crystallise these opportunities and could make the difference between securing their commitment and losing them overseas.
The Thornton EZ site comprises a mix of cleared land and two buildings that have reached or are reaching the end of their economic life and are due to be demolished shortly. The buildings footprint and external areas are all controlled by Thornton Science Park as the landlord for the wider development site. There are currently no leases on these buildings, but some are part occupied by the University, and this use will be moved to alternative accommodation.