CASE Helps With Face-Lift for Forss
15th January 2003
Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) is committing over £600,000 towards environmental renewal works aimed at improving the external surroundings of the Forss Business and Technology Park, which is under development near Thurso.
New Park Highland Ltd - developers of the Business and Technology Park - bought the site in November last year. They aim to turn the former Forss US Naval Base into a hi-tech business park, which is set to attract tenants associated with the decommissioning of the Dounreay nuclear plant.
The company is developing the park in stages with phase one due to get underway in the coming weeks. This first phase involves the construction of a 30,000 sq. ft building to house anchor tenants, UKAEA's Major Projects and Engineering Division.
CASE is assisting with phase two of the project and has awarded New Park Highland a grant worth £633,000 towards the £1.2 million cost of upgrading the park's environment. Further phases will involve the complete refurbishment of buildings on the site for let to other businesses.
However, for the park to be an attractive location for businesses to locate to, the external surroundings do require extensive improvements. Assistance from CASE will help pay for the removal of asbestos and petrol tanks and the demolition of a number of unsightly, dilapidated buildings on the site. The environmental renewal project will also see preparation works for infrastructure, such as roads, car parking and soft landscaping as well as drainage works, footpaths, covered walkways and specialist street lighting.
Bruce Pritchard of New Park Highland said, "We are delighted that CASE is partnering us in this development in such a proactive manner. It is vital, in the development of a new technology park that the correct environment and infrastructure is created, both in order to attract tenants to the park and to encourage interaction between tenant companies.
"This grant funding will allow us to create the appropriate infrastructure to ensure that the Forss Business and Technology Park is a sustainable economic driver in Caithness."
The decommissioning of Dounreay is expected to take 50 years and in that time, the far north can expect an influx of inward investors and new business starts looking for accommodation.
Carroll Buxton, chief executive at CASE said: "The conversion of a decaying and derelict site into a hi-tech business and technology park is of major strategic importance.
"As we know, the decommissioning of Dounreay presents us with many potential opportunities and it is necessary to have the infrastructure in place to cope with potential inward investors, the growth of existing businesses and new business starts.
"We are encouraged that New Park Highland, a company from the private sector, has taken the lead on this project and are delighted to play our own part in ensuring its success."