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East Midlands Chamber News

Sustainable food production technologies to be pioneered in Derby as SmartParc unveils plans for huge cluster

SmartParc has submitted planning for its 155-acre, high-tech food manufacturing campus on the former Celanese site in Derby – which could directly create up to 5,000 jobs.

Specifically designed to address the challenges facing the food industry, the planned 1.8m sq ft collaborative hub will provide state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, start-up incubation units and a potential location for a Food Manufacturing Technology Centre of Excellence.

Combining new purpose-built food production units with a central distribution facility, a technology centre and dedicated energy centres through the industrial park, the company’s “revolutionary” approach will bring food producers together to cluster knowledge and investment.

The flagship Spondon site is part of SmartParc’s ambition to provide a new sustainable blueprint for the food manufacturing industry. It will harness the latest developments such as vertical farming and smart technology to improve production and energy efficiency, reducing costs and increasing competitive advantage for parc tenants.

Reduction strategies for food waste, food miles and carbon output will also be implemented, increasing Britain’s food security and UK plc competitiveness on the global stage.

Commenting on the planning milestone, SmartParc CEO Jackie Wild said: “We are delighted to take another step forward in our plans to put Derby at the heart of the UK’s future in sustainable, efficient food manufacturing.

“We are liaising closely with local residents and stakeholders to ensure their views are incorporated in our plans to regenerate the site and exploring SME business and university partnerships to bring our collaborative next-generation sustainable food ecosystem to life. We are proud to be partnering with D2N2 and Derby City Council to re-energise the region.”

SmartParc Derby plans backed by regional leaders

Subject to receipt of planning permission from the council, the company’s intention is to start to re-develop the Celanese site in spring 2021, with a planned opening and initial occupation by the end of the year.

Councillor Chris Poulter, leader of the council, said: “We are hugely excited to see the SmartParc scheme progressing so quickly and positively. The project fits perfectly with Derby’s future ambitions. Its focus on innovation and lowering carbon outputs ticks key boxes in our economic recovery strategy.

“If planning is approved, it would greatly assist our efforts to diversify the city economy. And, of course, the project would create thousands of new jobs and rejuvenate a previously blighted but strategically important site.”

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles added: “SmartParc will have a transformative effect on the Derby economy, creating employment and investment opportunities for the city. SmartParc will put Derby on the map as a food and drink manufacturing hub of national and international significance.”

John Forkin, managing director of Marketing Derby, said: “Smart Parc is an exciting and innovative concept that will not only create thousands of jobs but also help diversify our economy. Marketing Derby has been working with its team for some time and we are delighted to see planning being submitted so quickly. It’s beginning to feel real, which is fantastic news.”

Sajeeda Rose, CEO of D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “We want our region to build back better, bigger and faster to fuel a green economic recovery and deliver long-term economic growth.

“Today’s submission is great news for Derby and for the whole of our region and will provide a much-needed boost to confidence and our recovery efforts.

“We are confident that, once the final business case is approved, the D2N2 LEP’s £12m investment, through the Government’s Getting Building Fund, will support the creation of a world-leading sustainable food-manufacturing facility that will deliver pioneering innovation, boost jobs and transform the local economy.”