Chorley set to become digital hub

Chorley is set to become the centre of the rapidly growing digital sector in Lancashire thanks to an ambitious £8.4m scheme being developed by Chorley Council.

A new advanced digital office park creating 54,000sq ft of state-of-the-art office space providing high value jobs for hundreds of people is to be built at Euxton Lane after the council won financial backing from Europe

The council won over £4.1m funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) towards the cost of scheme and now work is expected to start on site early next year.

Councillor Alistair Bradley, Chorley Council leader, said: “We are delighted to have secured this funding from the ERDF, we’re the only local authority in Lancashire to have been successful in this particular bidding round and we believe it shows confidence in what we are trying to do.

“Digital technology is the business of the future and this development will put Chorley right at the centre of digital technology in Lancashire.

“We are really excited to be creating such a high quality business facility in Chorley which will create the wealth of tomorrow with hundreds of well paid and skilled jobs.

“This is one of the most significant business developments to happen in Chorley for a generation and it will drive forward economic growth. It has been estimated by independent experts that it could generate an additional £18.5 million for the Chorley economy.”

The council is working with multi-award winning commercial data centre service provider AIMES who to create a state of the art 1.5MW Data Centre to provide digital services; including Cloud, hosting and connectivity to the Digital Office Park, Lancashire region and beyond.

The new Data Centre will complement and add capacity to AIMES’ existing, energy efficient, Data Centre in Liverpool.

Project director Michael Walker said: “Chorley Council’s pro-active approach to inward investment and willingness to collaborate made the decision to expand on to the site a simple one. Co-locating the data centre and Digital Office Park will create an amazing opportunity for new and existing businesses to move there and be confident that all of their digital requirements will be easily met.”

The centre will have a high capacity server and super-speed broadband vital for advanced digital businesses. There will be a new intensive business incubation facility for start up businesses with onsite business advisors and university researchers giving businesses extensive support in setting up and developing growth.

The businesses will be offered space which includes hot desks, micro pods, flexible desks and more traditional office suites and a training room will be on site offering workshop facilities as well as a networking zone.

The building itself will be one of the most advanced environmentally friendly in Lancashire and has been designed to a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating.

The 2.8 acre development is part of the council’s larger Digital Health Village masterplan for the 32 acre site which has outline planning permission for industrial/employment units, care home and specialist care facility, convenience store, family pub and/or medical centre, plus up to 125 homes.

Councillor Bradley said: “We expect that demand for space at the centre and the unique business support offer will be high with strong interest from the digital sector, however our campaign targeting inward investment companies starts now so I would urge interested businesses or people thinking of starting up such businesses to contact us on 01257 515151 for further information.

“This site was originally looked to be developed out for housing, but we didn't want that so our influence has allowed us to steer it towards mainly employment use. “It will provide jobs, it will provide income to the council and will see quite large contributions to infrastructure in the wider area through CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) payments.”