University of Lincoln plans for its Centre of Excellence in Agri Food have been unveiled as a first step in developing the Holbeach-based Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ).
The university is seeking planning consent for a two-storey building on farm land west of the A151 link road – on the same side as the travellers’ camp.
The building will have around 1,360sq m of floorspace, potentially including research laboratories, test kitchens, conference facilities, a learning resource centre and staff and post-graduate research accommodation.
Included in the planning application submitted to South Holland District Council are details of proposed parking for 100 cars, landscaping, and internal roads with access to the A151.
Planning consultants Robert Doughty say: “It is anticipated that the site will, in the longer term, be accessed from the spine road leading through the FEZ from the new roundabout proposed as part of the Peppermint Junction highways scheme.”
Until that work is done, there will be a temporary junction directly onto the A151.
The food and enterprise park will be under the banner of the FEZ. FEZ designation attracts inward investment and encourages closer ties between food and farming businesses to boost the domestic food and farming sector.
In January 2015, the Spalding Guardian revealed some £2.4million in Government cash was being awarded to each of two projects – the agri food centre and the new roundabout to replace Peppermint Junction, where the A151 link road meets the A17.
Planning consultants say the agri food centre will boost the capacity of the National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) and Holbeach Campus of the University of Lincoln on Minerva Way, Holbeach.
They describe the new centre as “crucial in enabling NCFM to become a national robotics and automation demonstration centre”, although the existing robot will remain at Minerva Way while the new building houses complementary technologies.
The new building will also be a showcase for smaller, laboratory-based technologies.