Howbery Business Park in Wallingford, Oxfordshire
Creation of a centre of excellence for water, the environment and climate change, providing opportunities for collaboration across research, innovation and industry
This is an opportunity for investors in commercial property and cleantech innovation.
You’ll share the vision and ambition of the project promoters to develop Howbery Park into a world-leading centre of excellence and science park, specialising in water resilience, environmental sustainability and climate change.
Capital investment - real estate
(Greener buildings, Real estate, Offices, Science & innovation)
£100 million GDV
Time to Final Investment Decision (FID):
Sector and market opportunity
The Howbery Business Park project supports the UK government’s ambition to build the UK into a science superpower.
This project is part of the growing provision of science and technology research and development facilities in the south Oxfordshire ecosystem. It will create a cluster of expertise in an area of science not covered in the UK on this scale, providing 20,000 m2 (200,000 square feet) of new offices and research buildings and a live laboratory in the flood plain.
This location already hosts a number of world-renowned organisations specialising in water, the environment and climate change.
New businesses occupying the state-of-the-art accommodation included in the masterplan will have access to existing expertise, cutting-edge research laboratories and unique testing facilities.
This ecosystem will generate a growing hub of researchers, innovators and investors with the vision to be perceived as a global centre of excellence.
The site is located within the existing science and technology ecosystem in south Oxfordshire.
Wallingford is just 15 minutes away from Oxford by road, 75 minutes from London and 50 minutes from Heathrow Airport.
It takes 15 minutes to reach Oxford by train, and you can travel from nearby Didcot station to London in just 40 minutes.
Local talent and skills
Howbery Business Park has been home to HR Wallingford (HRW) since 1948. Other occupiers of the park are:
the Environment Agency
the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH)
the UK Meteorological Office
the British Geological Survey (BGS)
The University of Oxford and University of Reading (both only 12 miles away) are in discussions with HR Wallingford to support the project.
The Park currently accommodates 60 companies, including spinouts and start-ups in the water and environment sector.
Research and expertise
Key institutions supporting the Centre of Excellence and associated research and innovation facilities to be developed at Howbery Park include:
University of Reading
UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
British Geological Survey
Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International
South of England
The region is home to 21 million people. It offers opportunities across a wide range of sectors from nuclear and aerospace, to life science and new technologies. There are vibrant clusters of expertise spanning 5G, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) highlights
Howbery Business Park was the first solar-powered park in the UK and has been ahead of the trend in adopting green policies, with 2 BREEAM-rated Excellent buildings.
The proposed development will include the use of solar power, timber framed buildings, recycled construction materials, electric vehicle (EV) charging, water harvesting and recycling, sustainable drainage systems and other features to ensure it has the most sustainable environment.
Promoters and partnerships
HR Wallingford is the landowner and promoter of the project, and is seeking an equity partner as developer/investor that will share their vision for Howbery Park. Privatised in the 1980s, the company was formerly a government agency undertaking hydraulics research.
Bidwells is the appointed development consultant, a consultancy with specialist expertise across the Oxford and Cambridge arc in the science and technology sector.
Oxford University, one of the supporting partners, has a global reputation for establishing research and innovation centres of this scale and focus.
Local and national government support
South Oxfordshire District Council has provided support for the proposed development.
The Oxfordshire Local Economic Partnership (OXLEP) is a major supporter and includes the project in its Local Industrial Strategy with a project contribution value of £10 million.
UK government department DEFRA (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and The Environment Agency, an arms-length body, are both corporate members of HR Wallingford and supportive of the project proposals.
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