Stoneleigh network
Pete Squires

Member Article

Stoneleigh Park in largest nationwide science park network

Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire is now part of a new network of science and technology parks being launched that will be the largest of its kind in the UK.

Stoneleigh Park is among a nationwide portfolio of six science and technology parks assembled by LaSalle Investment Management to start operating as a single entity – linked by shared specialist services and access to nationwide facilities.

The formation of BEST Network (the Business Environments for Science and Technology Network) as the largest privately-owned portfolio of science and technology parks in the UK creates cross-network clusters for the UK in some of the UK’s highest growth sectors and priorities of the Government’s industrial strategy, such as energy, IT and agri-science. Together the parks achieve a critical mass likely to be a powerful draw for international occupiers in the science and technology sectors.

Spanning the UK from Edinburgh to the South Coast, BEST Network combines well-established clusters for high tech businesses at Edinburgh Technopole, Hexagon Tower in Manchester, Kent Science Park, Langstone Technology Park in Havant and Wilton Centre in Teesside.

Stoneleigh Park is an established hub for the agricultural and equine sectors, where a ten-year, £50 million investment programme is under way to create agri-science facilities.

The site, which has approximately 965,000 sq ft of commercial space, was acquired in December 2010 and currently accommodates over 60 businesses which employ in excess of 1,100 people.

The six parks accommodate around 250 tenant companies and 7,500 employees. Major occupiers use a range of spaces from wet labs and pilot-scale manufacturing facilities to greenhouses and data centres.

BEST Network has been assembled by LaSalle as a long-term investment since the acquisition of Kent Science Park in 2002. The majority of parks originated as single-occupier facilities for companies such as ICI, IBM and Shell. The network is in growth mode, with all six parks experiencing rising employee numbers and potential for further acquisitions.

European director at LaSalle, Andrew Bull, comments, “Few businesses work well in isolation. They need support, flexibility and investment from a landlord. Inspiration is vital too and that comes from sharing ideas with other like-minded businesses. Make sure those factors are in place and we’ll be able to turn the great ideas coming out of the UK into great businesses.”

Operating as one entity offers real benefits for tenant businesses and those who wish to engage and work with them:

Efficient specialist services and business support shared between locations.
An excellent network of business and conference facilities for use by all tenant businesses.
Communications networks for Government, universities and sector bodies to engage across multiple locations.
Mechanisms for matching public funding with private investment across multiple sites.
Achieving a critical mass for presenting the best of the UK’s specialist accommodation to a global market.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Pete Squires .

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