£15m nuclear research facility moves step closer

Published: 27 April 2021

New advanced manufacturing research centre at Infinity park, Derby

Artists impression of the new Advanced Research Centre.

Derby’s bid to establish a world-class advanced manufacturing research centre at Infinity Park Derby has taken a step closer, with the submission of a full planning application by Infinity Park Derby LLP.

The new research facility, the subject of the application, will be operated by the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC), if approved.

The Nuclear AMRC helps companies develop new techniques to win work in the nuclear sector, and tackle manufacturing challenges in automotive, rail, aerospace, renewable energy and other high-value sectors. It is part of the national High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

The new manufacturing research centre is expected to initially create up to 70 high-value jobs, rising to 120 and will be capable of large-scale, high-precision machining, fabrication and assembly.

The new facility, with around 4,400 square metres of floorspace, will further extend the Nuclear AMRC’s ability to help manufacturers develop and adopt innovative technologies which will deliver the maximum impact for the UK’s nuclear supply chain.

Dr Emma Kelly, Strategy Director at Nuclear AMRC, said that the facility would create a permanent base for Nuclear AMRC in the city and raise the profile of Infinity Park Derby. She said:

We're delighted to see this project meet yet another key milestone.

The Nuclear AMRC has run a successful pilot at the iHub facility on Infinity Park over the past two years, and we look forward to continuing and expanding into the new facility, working with Derby City Council, regional universities and businesses to deliver jobs and support the economic recovery of the region.

The planning application proposes production space and two-storeys of office space with car parking, including the provision of four electric car charging points, cycle storage, and a secure service yard for HGV operations.

The application puts a strong emphasis on sustainability - “the development’s selection of materials has due regard to both energy efficiency, environmental impact, recyclability, and ongoing maintenance,” the application says. Proposals include the construction of a surface water attenuation lagoon with open grassland and shrub habitats that will be complemented by new broadleaved trees, and species-rich hedgerows – providing longer term benefits for biodiversity, landscape character and adaption to climate change.

The design creates a striking visual appearance that has taken a lead from the existing Innovation iHub located on Infinity Park, using high quality materials and a simple colour palette, the building provides a strong design statement, set within a high quality landscape setting.

The site benefits from a prime position on Infinity Park Way with easy access to the A50 and will meet modern accessibility standards.

Paul Simpson, Chief Executive at Derby City Council, said that the application was a good step forward for the project. He said:

This is yet another key milestone for this fantastic project. The proposed facility is great news for Derby’s SME businesses. We hope that this will further propel Infinity Park Derby as the manufacturing destination of choice. Having a world-class research facility on our doorstep is a huge boost for the city and supports our drive to emerge stronger in our economic recovery.

The application has been submitted by Infinity Park Derby LLP.  Development Director, Mark Bielby said that Infinity Park was delighted to welcome the new NAMRC facility.

The planning application is an important step in the delivery of the advanced research centre. The development stands as a testament to an excellent and effective working partnership between Infinity Park, Derby City Council, the AMRC, D2N2 and the University of Derby. The facility will help to further build Derby’s reputation as a city of innovation.

The facility would also become a base for the University of Derby’s Institute of Innovation in Sustainable Engineering, which has developed an international reputation for innovation in design, manufacturing, product lifecycle management and application of new and smart materials.

Professor Warren Manning, Provost – Innovation and Research at the University of Derby, commented on the significance of the development in establishing Derby as an international centre for advanced manufacturing technology. He said:

The opportunity for the University to work alongside the AMRC can only strengthen the reputation of our Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering,

IISE is already engaged in collaborative research and innovation projects to provide pioneering solutions for transport and industry in the UK, and overseas through our strategic partnerships with institutions in Europe, Asia and the USA.

Co-locating with AMRC will enable us to share resources and expertise and open up new opportunities for our academics to support whole business sectors to become greener, more efficient and more competitive.

The new facility has been, in principle, allocated just over £9million of funding by the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, including £6.85million from its Getting Building Fund and £2.2million from its Growing Places Fund. The Getting Building Fund is investing in shovel-ready infrastructure projects to create jobs and support economic recovery across the country.

Sajeeda Rose, Chief Executive, D2N2 LEP said:

Subject to the approval of the final business case, the new facility will build on the LEP’s significant investment in Infinity Park and the region’s reputation for advanced manufacturing excellence to help develop innovative technologies that support companies in the nuclear sector and in other high-value manufacturing industries.

The final allocation of funds is subject to the approval of a full business case by the D2N2 LEP.

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