£350m scientific hub plans to go in for Downham Market

John Beer ANL-150302-165725009

John Beer ANL-150302-165725009

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A planning application will be submitted next month to create a £350 million scientific hub on the former RAF Downham site.

Downham Market Development Ltd is holding an public consultation on the proposed Centre for Advanced Knowledge Engineering (CfAKE) next month.

More than 4,500 permanent and 1,600 construction jobs will be created by the campus, which will include a mixture of education and commercial establishments, including a new school.

Residents and businesses in Downham will be able to learn more about the proposal along with seeing plans during the consultation in Downham Town Hall between 3pm and 7pm on Friday, April 8, and 9am-noon the following day.

Company chief-executive John Beer said: “We would like as many people as possible to pop in on Friday or Saturday so that we can explain how it is going to positively impact the area but also to answer any concerns people might have.

“With the backing of the town council, residents, central government and other civic and economic organisations I am very optimistic that we can make great progress in the years to come that will build a vastly improved landscape in skills, employment and aspirations for the young people of the region.”

An outline planning application is due to be submitted in April with building work hoped to start at the end of the year.

A University Technical College, to be known as the Institute of Data Science, is a Government-funded academy for 14 to 18-year-olds, will be the first building to be constructed with the first intake expected in September 2018.

The University of East Anglia will be helping to develop the curriculum at the Institute, which will focus on data analytics, cyber-security, agri-informatics.

Downham Academy and the College of West Anglia are involved in the project along with national and international organisations such as the RAF.

The project will also include improved roads, 600GB broadband feed.

An accelerator centre for businesses, conference centre, a hotel with leisure facilities and a residential training college are also included within the plans.