Dorset Innovation Park

Dorset County Council

Site delivering flexible long term employment; significant brownfield development in a rural location; innovative planning approach (LDO), Enterprise Zone, LEMP

Overview: 75,000sqm employment space + communal collaboration and social facilities

Stride Treglown was commissioned by Purbeck District Council to develop and deliver a Local Development Order for Dorset Innovation Park on the site of the former Winfrith Atomic Energy Establishment complex. The Dorset Innovation Park is the County’s second largest strategic employment site and will become an advanced engineering and manufacturing cluster of excellence for the South-West, building on strengths in aerospace, marine, defence and energy technology. Working closely with the Dorset LEP, Dorset County Council, Purbeck District Council and a number of the few existing tenants on site, we helped to prepare and coordinate the LDO process as a means of simplifying the planning process whilst developing the sites identity and sense of place. The aim is to create a vibrant employment community where people will enjoy working and benefit from its unique qualities and where appropriate businesses will invest and grow. The LDO, and suite of underpinning technical assessments, are seen as a unique selling proposition, reducing risk for developers and enabling appropriate development to proceed expeditiously thereby creating quality jobs and boosting the local economy.

The surrounding landscape is a sensitive one, with the Dorset Heathlands (SSSI) immediately adjacent to the Innovation Park, and the Dorset AONB to the south.

It is envisaged that it will become a test bed for research into new commercial products and practices, which neatly aligns with the site’s history. The concept masterplan aims to capture that spirit by creating a place that inspires like-minded companies and individuals to innovate together. This included the provision of a central social and collaboration facility embedded within a landscaped spine that snakes its way through the middle of the campus.

When fully developed, the Local Development Order area has the potential to provide a floor area of over 75,000sqm and over 1,500 full time equivalent jobs. The emerging concept masterplan proposes a flexible development framework comprising a series of sub-divisible development plots that are joined together by a unifying landscape, helping to make this a place where people want to work over the coming 25 years.

Dorset Innovation Park will become a place with its own distinct character that will appeal to new and current tenants, including their employees, and is the result of a truly collaborative approach between our masterplanning, landscape design and town planning studios.
The Local Development Order was adopted by Purbeck District Council in December 2018, making it the largest Local Development Order in the country. Since its adoption, construction has started on site for the first employment off the back of the LDO.

The client, Purbeck District Council, were delighted with the responsiveness of the team who delivered the LDO to time and to a very high standard. Consensus was reached with all the statutory consultees and all the substantive concerns of the local community were overcome. The vision that will be implemented has already proved attractive to investors and businesses who are progressing their interest and negotiating terms with the Council now that we have a Local Development Order in place. The Council are expecting two to three significant investments in the site over the next two years, drawn to the site due to the vision of advanced engineering excellence, a unique and very special environment working environment and a flexible but quality driven fast track planning process.

Richard Wilson MRTPI, Economic Development Manager, Planning and Community Services, Purbeck District Council