The Talbot Innovation Quarter: a once in a generation opportunity for local economic growth

Plans for an Innovation Quarter, a once in a generation development set to supercharge the local digital, creative and innovative economy, have been submitted to BCP Council.

The application to develop land adjacent to the universities has been jointly submitted by Talbot Village Trust (TVT) and Nuffield Health following extensive public consultation. The scheme reflects many of the strategic economic development objectives set out by BCP Council and Dorset LEP and echoes the Chancellor’s ambitions for innovation hubs to open across the country. The Talbot Innovation Quarter is set to create a fulcrum connecting the two universities, local people, and businesses including Nuffield Health.

Nick Shaftesbury, Chairman at TVT, said: “Our vision is that the Innovation Quarter will be a physical embodiment of the thriving creative digital and tech sectors in Dorset, and will become a major part of the county’s growing innovation ecosystem. The ambition is to create a focus for research and development to support businesses across Dorset, as well as attracting additional investment, and new talent.”

In 2020, BCP Council reported that the area is a potential world-leader in tech, having ranked first in the UK for tech start-ups, representing 28% of the businesses created in 2019 and outperforming the national average. With links to the Dorset 5G network and thanks to its co-location with BU and AUB, the Innovation Quarter development would deliver a state-of-the-art focal point for innovation and assist Dorset in realising its global potential.

Nick Shaftesbury added: “Creativity and innovation is the lifeblood of BCP’s economy, and the conurbation has long standing credentials in this space. Guglielmo Marconi established his wireless communication station in the 1890s in the locality, and Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the Internet, began his career in Poole during the 1970s.

“Today, there is a hubbub of exciting activity happening across Poole, Bournemouth town centre, Winfrith and beyond. It is our ambition that the development of an Innovation Quarter would provide a catalyst for this activity, accelerate recognition of local work on a global stage, and ultimately turbo charge innovation and creative success in Dorset.

“Importantly, our proposals include extensive environmental initiatives to improve biodiversity and support people to live well in Dorset, including a Heathland Support Area, extensive planting and creation of new habitats across the Innovation Quarter and the creation of a  growing hub.”

Crucially, the Innovation Quarter proposals include a new Nuffield Health hospital, to respond to urgent and changing community needs. As well as supporting already stretched healthcare services, a new hospital will allow for existing research programmes to be developed, in conjunction with the universities resulting in more efficient and user-friendly procedures for patients across the globe.

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