Development of the site has been made possible after Goldacre Ventures – the advisory firm developing and managing the London Road site – closed the latest round of private funding for the EZ, bringing the total investment in the project to just over £50m so far.
Last year the Harlow EZ was awarded £5m of joint funding from the Homes & Communities Agency’s (HCA) Local Infrastructure Fund and Harlow Council, to help transform the former Nortel head offices on the 20 acre site.
Senior figures from Goldacre Ventures, the HCA, Harlow EZ and Harlow Council gathered at the site to see Mr Pickles begin work on the phase one of the infrastructure programme which is set to continue until Q3 2015, creating over 1,000 jobs.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, said, ‘It’s great to see how the Harlow Enterprise Zone is taking off. As the birthplace of fibre optics, the London Road South site is part of the UK’s rich history of innovation. We’re determined to resurrect that spirit and have invested £2.5 million to kick start redevelopment, which has helped leverage £50m in private sector investment.’
David Bloom, chief executive of Goldacre Ventures, said, ‘Mr Pickles’ visit is a massive vote of confidence in our ambitions to provide a world class, state-of-the-art data centre campus and business park that will play an important part in the long term future of Harlow and the London Cambridge corridor.
‘This land has been largely unoccupied for a long time so it’s great news that a successful public-private sector partnership has unlocked investment to help drive economic growth and create jobs for local people. Our plans to create a business park and data centre campus will ensure the preservation of the site’s rich telecommunications, media and technology heritage.’