SOG Group boss John Lewis MBE met with Minister for Investment Lord Grimstone yesterday on the opening day of the inaugural UK Real Estate Investment & Infrastructure Forum.
Mr Lewis was introduced to the Minister in the Department for International Trade’s Pavilion shortly before Lord Grimstone officially opened the UKREiif event in Leeds.
Mr Lewis said: “I was delighted for the opportunity to meet with the Minister and to personally thank him for the fantastic support SOG has received from the DIT, as we seek to raise the investment necessary to finance our proposals to transform The Heath Business and Technical Park site in Runcorn into Heath Park. Our aim is to create a 21st Century version of Port Sunlight, a Net Zero location, where people can live, work and play in an environment that is geared towards meeting the challenges of Climate Change.”
Heath Park has been adopted as a ‘Beacon Project’ by Liverpool City Region and is one of 35 ethical schemes promoted in the UK Government’s Global Investment Atlas. SOG is currently talking to a number of big international investors in a bid to turn the Heath Park vision into reality.
Mr Lewis added: “Support from the DIT for Heath Park has been immensely important as we reach out to the global investment community. I was able to update Lord Grimstone with the latest news on our project and to invite him to visit The Heath over the coming months to see the location at first hand and to meet the SOG Heath Park delivery team.”
Mr Lewis later took part in a panel discussion on how investment opportunities will deliver the UK Government’s Net Zero targets.
The three-day UKREiiF aims to accelerate the Government’s Levelling Up Agenda and unlock sustainable and transformational investment across the nation by bringing together the public sector – with every core UK city and region – alongside Government, investors, funders, developers, housebuilders and other key players. Over 5,000 people are expected to attend the Forum with over 200 local authorities being represented, more than 300 developers and 500 investor organisations.
Mr Lewis was joined on the panel by Nick Searl, Joint Managing Partner of property developers Argent, and Aldred Drummond, Chief Executive of Fawley Waterside which is spearheading a massive development in the New Forest. The session was chaired by Pat Ritchie CBE, Chair of the Government Property Agency.
The Heath is already an established and thriving centre that is currently home to 120 businesses supporting 2,000 jobs. The vision for Heath Park is to create a Net Zero carbon environment of residential, commercial and retail space to complement the existing Park. There’s also a ground-breaking Vertical Farm, powered by renewable energy, that is focal to the scheme along with plans to introduce the UK’s first Vertical Farming Centre of Excellence.
About SOG Group
SOG Group is one of the UK’s top independent operators of business and science parks and are renowned site regeneration specialists. SOG own The Heath Business and Technical Park in Runcorn, Cheshire, which is home to over 120 individual businesses that between them support the employment of around 2,000 people. Using The Heath business model, SOG created a consultancy operation under the name of ‘Fusion’. SOG’s Fusion team spearheaded the regeneration of a massive site in east London, formerly home to a global pharmaceutical company, where it created Londoneast-uk Business and Technical Park. Until February 2019, SOG operated Londoneast-uk as a sister Park to The Heath before selling it to a company owned by the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham. Through its Fusion concept, SOG helped to generate over £2 billion of inward investment to the Dagenham site regeneration programme.
SOG’s Runcorn operation is a unique example of how a successful science and technology park should operate. Many of the organisations located in the facilities are at the very cutting-edge of scientific R&D, with firms specialising from nanotechnology to carbon emissions research and from pioneering work on hip and knee joint replacements to water and waste-water treatment technology.
As The Heath site has reached full capacity, SOG has embarked on a new build-programme which allows existing fast-growing resident businesses to move out of multi-occupancy units into their own exclusive bespoke buildings, designed and built by SOG’s team. SOG is currently working on the vision to transform The Heath into a Net Zero carbon environment over the next decade through the creation of Heath Park.
Media contact: Paul Smith Associates (PSA) +44 (0) 7771 623 007