New innovation centre


DH Barford & Co, the St Neots based surveyor and planning practice, have submitted a planning application to the Bedford Borough Council for the development of an Innovation Centre at the Wyboston Lakes Business & Leisure Village.

The development would be undertaken by Potton Developments Ltd in conjunction with St John's Innovation Centre, Cambridge. The application follows discussions and presentations by Potton Developments Ltd and St John's over the last 12 months with the Bedford Borough, Bedfordshire County Council, Huntingdonshire District Council, and the local Town and Parish Councils.

The Wyboston Lakes complex already provides a full range of training/conference suites and leisure facilities, and as the largest purpose built training facility in the region and one of the biggest in the country, is considered an ideal location for the development of an Innovation Centre.

Strategically the centre will form part of an 'arc' of technology based developments linking Oxford to Cambridge.

It is envisaged the centre will offer 'spin off' benefits for the area in terms of local job opportunities, in addition to the creation of in the order of 750 jobs on the site. The proposal will involve a high quality phased single-storey sustainable development within a parkland setting, creating a unique campus style environment whilst maintaining the site's existing distinctiveness.

The aim is to create an instructive and supportive environment to assist high-growth knowledge based businesses in their early stages, with links to St John's Innovation Centre which facilitates access to business link programmes and Cambridge University.

The centre will have a total floor area of over 11,000m2 and will provide a range of facilities to meet the rapidly changing day-to-day requirements for fast-growing knowledge based businesses.

The proposal involves access improvements, which have been the subject of a detailed Traffic Impact Assessment and negotiations with the Highway Authorities.

Nigel Hollis, the managing director of Potton Developments Ltd commented, 'The integration of a campus style Innovation Centre into the existing facilities and infrastructure of the Wyboston Lakes Business & Leisure Village provides the opportunity to create a truly world class development on a single site which will attract existing high quality businesses but also create new businesses, and provide significant employment opportunities.

'This is an exciting and unique opportunity for St Neots, Bedford and the surrounding area.'


St John's Innovation Centre provide early-stage, knowledge-based companies with business advice, strategic consultancy, introductions and flexible accommodation.

St John's Innovation Centre